3 Essential Elements Of a Business Plan

I recently doubled down on becoming my own boss. I launched a Branding and Business Coaching business many months ago based on my experience and work I’ve been doing for the past 10 years with marketing, startups and leadership development. I love what I do and at the moment I have more work and opportunity than I know what to do with.

People seek out help with either launching their own career or getting unstuck from their current business. They want to create a website, or clarify their brand message and story. I help people with all of this. (Read my blog post 3 Steps to Starting A Business) But, do you know what else people end up needing help with? Clarifying their purpose in life. Their own personal goals. It’s so easy to hide behind the business or launching a career. When I ask them about their own personal vision and dreams they go silent. It’s heartbreaking really…we are individuals first before we a business owner, or spouse or parents.

I’ve made the mistake in the past of wanting to jump right to the fun stuff with clients. Message, website, logos, branding, stories. All the interesting steps of creating an amazing brand message. Big steps instead of baby steps. I should know better, and now I do.

Before I work with clients on their business I need to know they are willing to work on themselves first. Can they make and keep promises to themselves? After all, they are the business right? If they weren’t there, the business wouldn’t be there, and if they are not strong, healthy and focused, how could we expect the business to be?

So, your business plan starts with a personal plan. And it includes 3 simple elements before we even get started on the business.

Input

What are you feeding yourself? Every client I work with says the same thing. No one understands me, I don’t know anyone who is doing something like this. I have no one to talk to about my big ideas or vision. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if everyone were like you, we wouldn’t need you or your big idea! You may feel like you’re on the fringe, but trust me, you’re just out front creating the next big thing, and it can be lonely sometimes. So, you need input.

Every successful entrepreneur feeds themselves with new ideas and thoughts through people who have been there before. If you’re lucky enough to have a mentor close to you, then use that as your input, but for most of us, we have to rely on books, blog posts, podcasts or videos. There are SO many amazing mentors out there waiting to share with you their secrets to success…for the low, low price of $16.99 on Amazon, or $2.99 on Kindle, or for free through their daily blog or TED Talk.

3 of my current favorites are Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk. Anything they say prompts bigger thinking and new ideas for me. And, let me be upfront, they are not all ‘nice’ guys, they say things strongly with conviction (and some colorful words)…like any good coach or mentor. Approach with an open mind. Be teachable. But more than anything, start today.

Seth Godin and Gary Vee together!

Output

What are you producing? Before you think about content, blogs or stuff like that…I want you to think about producing energy. Output. Exercise. Seriously, I know you just rolled your eyes. But exercise is an incredible output of calories, energy, thoughts, toxins, sweat and usually negative attitude. And, what do you get in exchange??? Amazing flood of natural chemicals like endorphins. You get a clear head, and if you’re like me, some amazing ideas! You also pick up momentum by doing something good for your body.

Exercise is a keystone habit that creates a domino effect on other areas of our life. We tend to eat better, sleep better and have a clear head when we burn energy through exercise. Doing your body good, will definitely do your business good.

Connection

Get out of the house. Now. Hey, I know it’s not easy…I often will stay in my pajamas until 4pm. Business owners, consultants, freelancers and everyone else needs to stay connected, even more so when you work from home. Two great ways to get and stay connected are to join a group like Meetup.com and to mentor someone else.

Meetup groups are fun and easy to connect with. Most all of them are free to join, meet once a month and are based around interests like art, exercise, travel, singles, entrepreneurs etc. There is no excuse not to find one to join…even if it’s just to get you out of the house (and for me out of my pjs and put some makeup on).

Mentoring is easy. Find a book you want to read (or you should read, see point #1) and grab a friend, peer, colleague, younger person and ask them if they want to read it along with you. One chapter per week, meet over coffee or a drink and discuss. Easy. No teaching, no expert advice, nothing more than committing to read, meet and discuss. Every week. It’s accountability, new ideas and staying connected.

Here is the problem…

People say they should.They know they should. But they don’t. They make ‘promises’ to themselves that they don’t keep. If you can’t follow through on simple personal goals, how or why would you think you’ll do this for your business? And, by not doing these for yourself, you are not helping your business. I can coach you for months, but if you can’t keep a promise to yourself then the bigger promises we set for the business will not happen either.

It’s a red flag and as a business coach, I have to call these as I see them. If you really want change, growth and success, you have to start with the little things, there are no shortcuts. The good news is that you can start on all 3 of these today, and follow through tomorrow and the day after. Make one simple change and be consistent. Then, you’ll have the momentum and confidence to tackle the bigger goals you want to achieve.

If you want help to clarify your vision, develop a simple plan for getting started and tell a great story your customers will fall in love with, I can help. I’m a branding and business coach who will create a roadmap for you to take your next step, so you can help others take theirs. Contact me at www.lisacumes.com for more information.