It’s the beginning of a new year. We’re all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Ready to take on the world (or at least make some really good toast).
You know what that means… just like we’re bombarded by hot cross buns the day after Christmas, we’ve been bombarded by planning tools by the hundred since late last year.
Guilty. I’m one of them. Been there, done that, sold the planner.
As you’ve (hopefully) worked out, I’m a planner. It’s my jam. It’s my first love. When I first started my business, I had no idea how it was going to form up. My pitch was literally ‘I’m Claire and I like to organise things and plan stuff… sooooooo if you need help with any of that stuff, um, call me..?’ My description these days, I must admit, is only fractionally better articulated, but my whole take on The Planning Thing has shifted, somewhat (thank you, online ladybiz).
"To Plan... or not to Plan... that is the question"
There’s business planning and there’s business planning, right?
When I get all excited and say things like ‘let’s plan your business/project/content/social’ these are things I don’t mean:
- ‘let’s spend 6 months planning your business/project/content/social’
- ‘let’s write a 100-page document’
- ‘let’s stifle all your creativity and suffocate any hopes of being opportunistic and responsive for the next 5 years’.
No. That is not what Business Planning means to me (and unless you’re going for a major grant or bank loan, I don’t think it should to you either).
When I talk about Business Planning, I’m talking about ways to make your business - and therefore, your life - more effective, more efficient, give you a greater sense of achievement and flow and be a simple, and enjoyable, way to maintain momentum, alignment and ease in your business. I want you to feel like you have some clear direction, your priorities are clear and you have some top items on your To Do List so that when you swing your legs out of bed each morning, you know what you need to concentrate on and what’s actually going to help you move towards your goals.
We plan, implement and automate just enough to leave you the time and space to do Your Thang. And we also build in some of that super sexy F-Word. That’s right. F-l-e-x-b-i-l-i-t-y!
If you over-plan your business (or anything, actually), this is what might go wrong:
- You will waste time
- You will waste paper
- Your shelves will clog up with dust-collecting business plans
- You’ll end up feeling trapped and locked in and feel guilty for doing anything that’s not in the plan
- You’ll end up doing tasks and taking your business in a direction that no longer serves you (or your tribe) because you wrote it down once upon a time in that 300-page document that’s now serving as a space saver somewhere in your filing cabinet
- You’ll miss out on authentic connections and opportunities
All that said, I DO believe in having a plan. It’s at the very core of my own business and it’s the #1 thing I work to create with my clients for their success and flow. My top tips for business planning with flexibility are:
- Get help - having someone to guide you through the process and help you work out what to focus on, and give some gentle accountability to stay on track is what makes the biggest difference #IMHO
- Keep it simple - #NuffSaid
- Make it YOURS - yes, I have a system, as do all planning and productivity coaches, everyone who’s every designed a planner, is organised or loves to stay productive. But they’re all different, and yours should be too. If you buy a planner or work with someone, chop and change it to suit you and what’s important to you! Don’t care about that social media platform? Don’t plan for it. Definitely want to plan your meals for the month in advance? Add it in. #YouMakeTheRules
- Plan for space - leave free time in your plan. The Universe will throw you curve-balls and opportunities IF you allow space for their delivery! #IntoSpace
That’s it! Have fun. Plan. Or don’t.