What could possibly be the number one piece of business advice for your small business? My answer is quite simply – Write Down Your Strategy.
This goes beyond goals and superficial “wants” as in, “I want more revenue” or “I’d like to increase customer engagement”. What I’m talking about is the plan to back all of that up – your marketing plan.
So how would you go about it? Well first, it really does start with your big vision, your objectives and yes, goals. From there, you have to back it up with some sort of action. Those actions are the key component of your marketing plan.
What’s the best advice for your small business? The very first thing you need to do is actually identify what it is that you’re going to go after this year. That elusive thing you’ve been toying around within your head, but never dared to verbalize. What has been nagging at you? What is it that you’re dying to achieve but have been too scared to try? What seems just too big, too out of reach for you? Yes, THAT!
If part of you just said, “oh, crap, she means _________” and you filled in the blank with that thing you KNOW you need to do, then this is was written just for you!
Now that you’ve you identified it – what’s next?
You need to tell someone. Yes, you heard me. Remember, if you never say it out loud, if you never dare to share it . . . you’ll never do it. Why? Because there’s no accountability and therefore no risk if you don’t do it. If you decide to coast and not take any action towards that particular thing, what will it matter? No one will know, no one will be asking for updates and your life will be the same at this same time next year – you’ll just be one year older and have lost an entire year. There will be no pain and no consequences, other than that of lost opportunity.
BUT, if you TELL people about this big dream you have, people will start asking you how you’re doing on it. There will be pain and embarrassment if you don’t complete it! You may even risk a bit of your integrity if you don’t get it done. NOW we’re talking about motivation!!
Here’s a little secret of my own – I told the world about my book before it was finished. I declared it was going to be published in October before the manuscript was even in respectable book form! Why would I do something so bold you ask? BECAUSE I knew if I told people, in order to save face I’d HAVE to do it. Yes, I did a lot of praying for inspiration, and I worked into wee hours of many mornings . . . but I not only finished it, it was completed ON TIME! Even my publisher laughed at my aggressiveness! He has since learned I do what I say. 🙂
Here’s the thing, for about 2 years I would read other peoples’ books and think “If they can write this, why can’t I write a book?” or “I can write just as well as this author” and finally, “I have something to teach people and I better do it before someone else does!” So, I started.
I worked. And I worked. And I hit a wall. Then I worked. I worked some more. In the meantime, I read book after book after book. I kept reading, fiction, non-fiction – anything and everything I found interesting just to keep me in front of books and to keep me motivated. People would ask how the project was going and that would inspire me to keep at it.
I had the cover art done so I could start marketing the book – yes, before the book itself was even done. I started creating buzz around it and guess what, more people would ask about it. The more I talked about it, the clearer some of the objectives came and it really helped me polish some of the chapters which up to that point had been a little rough.
It was no longer just the time investment (we all waste time), it was no longer just the money I had spent (we all waste money) but it was the vast number of people asking me for updates which created enough accountability to get me across the finish line. The book was published, released on Amazon, then for Kindle and then the audio version.
If I had never written it down, if I had never publicly declared that I was going to write a book, I’d still just be another author-in-waiting. Just another one of those people who say, “One day I’m going to write a book” but never does. If I had never boldly claimed such high aspirations, I most certainly wouldn’t have completed another book in those next twelve months and I wouldn’t be in the middle of writing two additional books now.
What’s the next step?
This is where you need to get a game plan together. Whatever your thing is, what do you need to dedicate to get it done? Do you need to schedule one hour a week working on it, or one hour a day? Do you need to save up or raise funds in order to meet your goal? If so, HOW are you going to do that? Stop going out to eat or create a fundraising event? Are there people who you need to help you accomplish that objective? WHERE are those people? Create a roadmap for yourself of how you’re going to meet the people you need to meet.
Hopefully, you get the idea, and if you need more structure – guess what? I literally wrote the book on it! Seriously, this isn’t a sales pitch, but if you sincerely need help then you’re who I wrote it for so check it out.
If you’ve got a solid idea of how to create your roadmap – then get it done . . . NOW. Don’t delay, otherwise, another month will go by, then before you know it will be Christmas again and you won’t be any closer to that crazy big idea then you are now.
We all fail at a lot! We just don’t usually brag about that stuff, but we do – if we’re honest. So, stop living under the guise of not wanting to look stupid – put it out there! People WILL support you! People WILL encourage you! And guess what, what usually happens is people will connect you with people to help you make that thing happen!
But they can’t help if they don’t know about it!
Now go, go on . . .
IDENTIFY it, WRITE it down, TELL people about it & CREATE YOUR ROADMAP!!
If you don’t try – how will you ever know what could have been? Go out and make this happen!