Welcome All to Week Four! IF you have been doing all the work, you should have a LOT of bounty to be proud of. Some things to change, pay attention to or new discoveries should have come about as a result of your effort.
With all that, we’ve talked a LOT about what we’re doing now and why. But now is the fun part. It’s time to DREAM and to PLAN. I wish more people:
- Took the time to plan
- Reviewed their plan constantly
It’s really quite simple and sadly the same thing happens in every business there is. We have retreats and meetings and we have these great ideas and lots of fun coming up with our imagining of a future with no limits and a clear path toward our goals. We get back to our desk and we get bogged down in the steps forward that we abandon everything because we didn’t check our plan and we are bogged down into the right now, we don’t see how we can pursue both tracks effectively.
Every day work toward the things you really want.
So let’s do some planning. Only in the last year as I begin to get more speaking engagements and get invited here and there AND as I start writing faster, I’ve come up with my three legged stool. What I am striving for is around three core things:
- Write (or Publish)
I’m doing all three now but in a very sporadic way. I do it in a way when I have time, when I can in between working full time and getting my daily living tasks done. The ultimate question is HOW CAN I DO THESE THINGS SO THEY ARE MY COMPLETE FOCUS and are fruitful, productive.
That’s where the plan comes in. I’ll talk about the parts of the plan and I’ll offer a sample around my own thoughts but not my complete plan. I believe your plan should be somewhat secret. I know there are people that believe you should tell everyone so they can encourage and rally you on and even offer contacts, but telling “everyone” also brings on the haters and the naysayers and honestly, even people you think are encouraging you, aren’t always. That’s another topic, however.
Let’s Start YOUR Project’s (whatever it is) Strategic Plan
I am a fan of plans I can’t tell you how much I enjoy planning out things and then seeing those items on my list be executed and checked off. That sense of accomplishment is something that you cannot replace, it’s gratifying to know that you’re accomplishing what you set out to do. That is what the he final stages of these blog posts will be about planning your future in the next couple years for whatever the project is we’ve been visiting these last few weeks.
- Mission statement: This addresses what you seek to accomplish overall – Why do you exist to pursue this mission?
Tracee’s Vision: Some components of my mission include visibility to share the goodness of God through my three platforms. To show others that people with disabilities can make awesome contributions to society through my various mediums and the final part of that, talks about those things you can measure so much as being a good daughter, woman of God, steward or wife….insert a more personal life mission for yourself
2. Vision statement: A short statement that looks AHEAD five years or more. Where will you be?
I personally think you should write this out and then write it (by hand) or print it and place somewhere you can look at it daily OR read it aloud perhaps once daily.
Tracee’s Version: Some components of my vision include where I’ll be, lists that are important to my industry, awards and commendations, # of engagements important to the “speak” part of my platform and what my day to day looks like, a day to day that is enjoyable for me and perhaps even who is contacting me for things and how often, and certainly number of books output
- 3. Values statement or guiding principles:This is about your passion, and core beliefs, your character and what is your ultimate intention through doing all these things?
- 4. SWOT:A SWOT is a current idea of where you are now. What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?
- 5. Unique Proposition or Competitive advantage: This is also your Unique Selling Point -USP, (or value added) – why is what you want or will do better or more unique compared to others offering similar content? In essence, what sets you apart? The other important task will be to identify three or five similar outfits that you:
- Are like
- May want to emulate or look for guidance/mentorship
- Note that for some, a USP won’t apply in some arenas. If you think about it, anyone could say there are enough books out there but there is only one you. Sometimes that will have to be enough, a deep desire in publishing arenas to tell your story and share your message. That can’t always be best explained in a USP but you should try.
- 6. Short Term / Long Term Objectives w/ Action Steps – Come up with three short term and three long-term objectives, then outline three ways (for each) to meet the objective
- Tracee’s Version: For the “Speak” prong of my three-legged platform – The objective might be to be a sought after speaker (on my core topics) topics. THEN the three ways to get there could be:
- Ensuring the target market knows my area of expertise
- Aligning myself with a group of people in the field, say Toastmasters even and
- then perhaps ensuring the right industry-quality materials (e.g. speaker one sheet/professional website for speaking only) to promote the availability and gain interest – get bookings
- Overall these can be broken down further to real actionable things and you should take the time to get more detail. You may be tempted to put the Actions separate and every model I’ve seen does it in that manner, but I don’t have a real reason for why or why not to list actions separately. I think you should keep them together only because if you just have the action and not the additional details around it, it may not make sense. You could simply embolden them so they stand out.
- 7. Some say “Scorecard” others say measure – The concept is the same, how will you know you’re making progress? If you put some numbers in your plan, you’ll either come close to that number, reach it, or surpass it. Try to start with a baseline.
Tracee’s Version: For the TEACH prong of my platform or any other of the three for that matter, including speak and write – I know how much I’ve made. I may want to double or triple that amount. Ability (and likely success) in doing that can be directly related to the actions and the objectives. I either did enough of what worked and reached my goal or I did some things right and some things wrong and the plan needs tweaking.
It will be important to keep track of successes and losses (results) for each of your action items to really know what’s working best and course correct if certain tasks produce little or no results at all.
- I’m for simplicity so do not make the “measure” component of your plan too difficult to understand.
- 8. Finally, another numbers part some consider is your Financial Climate. Whatever you’re venturing into, there will be an investment. Even to publish and then promote books cost money but how will you assess what you can and cannot do? Will you give yourself a baseline or will you set aside a certain amount and say these are the seed funds and after those are exhausted, what then? What also will happen with the profit margins? How much of the profit will you put back into the project and use to pay other things or save? The Financial Climate is where you predict the overall gains and losses.
Complete this and you’ll have a ready plan.
I’ll see you next week when I’m going to list the final component of the Strategic Plan that NO ONE neither offers nor talks about. It’s the last thing to really moving forward and it’s left out of every single plan I’ve ever read about and for me, it’s key to your ultimate success. I’ll also provide some resources in Week Five, that you can refer to over and over to stay the course.
Until next time.
By way of “handout” this week, simply cut and paste the following into a word document, complete each item and you’ll have your plan (once you get number 9 next week):
- Mission Statement
- Vision Statement
- Values Statement and Guiding Principles
- USP or Competitive Advantage
- Short/Long-Term Objectives – w/ action steps for each one
- Scorecard or Measure
- Financial Climate