The first business plan for my coaching practice was written on the back of a placemat while waiting for a lobster in an out-of-the-way shack in Maine. It was 2004, and I was on my way to visit some friends for a little R&R. I started thinking about my business and made a few notes:
– How much money I wanted to make in the next year
– How I would price my services to meet my income goals
– How many clients that meant I needed
– What kind of programs that meant I needed to offer
– What kind of additional training I would need
– How I would talk about my services
While I deconstructed a delicious lobster, I noodled on my plan. And when I removed the very attractive bib from around my neck and paid my check, I had a strong, workable direction for my business.
And I put that one-year plan in my purse and didn’t look at it again for six months.
Surprisingly, though, in that six months, I had done everything on my plan. Ahead of plan.
That’s right – I didn’t obsess, or over-think. I just executed.
Because the mere process of creating the plan – just putting my to-dos top of mind – catalyzed my action.
Now, there are those who detest plans. Maybe because they think plans are too rigid, don’t allow for creativity, aren’t that spontaneous, won’t accommodate serendipity.
[These people tend to – in Myers-Briggs talk – have a strong preference for “Perceiving”, the dear darlings. They value flexibility above all and will do anything in their power to preserve their ability to go with the flow. And I completely get it. That’s why I started this post of with the lobster story – just to show all those P people that planning can be easy. And tasty.]
A great plan, though, is not judged on how many tabs, tables and cross-references it includes.
A great plan is judged on how well it works.
With a plan, you know where to put your energy.
With a plan, you have a direction.
With a plan, you know what to say a whole-hearted “Yes!” to, and what to put in the “When There’s Time” file.
And planning can be easy. Easy-peasy.
Want to do one yourself? OK, take out a placemat-sized piece of paper. [lobster bib always optional.]
Answer these prompts:
– What do you want right now, more than anything?
– What’s your life going to be like when you get what you want? What’s it going to look like?
– Who are you when you’re at your best? What elements are in place? Which of these things already support getting what you want?
– What’s the first thing you need to do?
– Whose help do you need to do it?
– When can you start?
Focus, and put your best effort into these questions. When you’re done, you’ll realize that you have a plan, sugar.
Then fold it up and put it in your pocket.
And I’ll bet you, in six months, you’ve accomplished everything that needs doing.
Bet you a lobster dinner.