I've stated for years that I don't do five-year business plans, not detailed ones, anyway. When I started my business back in 2002, I wrote a business plan that projected five years out, but not with specifics about exactly what I'd be doing to reach those revenue goals, other than just work x number of hours at x hourly rate.
Things have changed a bit for me.
Actually, that’s the point, Back in 2002, all I could see five years ahead was that I would be doing the same thing as what I started out doing, just with more clients and regularly raising my fees.
Well, that didn’t take into account my practice taking off, becoming Chief Operating Officer of a virtual training company, and launching a second company.
All that happened within three years after I started my business.
Since then, it seems as if every 6-12 months, some opportunity or opportunity-in-disguise (that’s what I call a challenge) comes my way out of the blue. Suddenly, the entire landscape ahead of me changes, and I adjust, sometimes more gracefully than other times.
Let’s zoom to mid-2015. I had a brainstorm of an entire product funnel, where one program flowed easily into the next and into the next. I could see it clearly! I would have my signature programs, alongside my private coaching, and I would offer those programs 2-3 times a year. Brilliant!!! For the first time ever, I planned the next 16 months’ MARKETING, including those programs plus other product and service promotions.
I felt like such a big business girl! Yay, Dawn!
And then it changed. While I enjoyed facilitating those particular programs, it was taking a lot of effort to market, with not near as much return as I had projected. It began to feel as if I was swimming furiously upstream, instead of gently floating downstream.
I began to question myself, “Am I doing the right thing?”
And while I would have been willing to tweak, do things differently to make these programs more successful (and more downstream floaty), I realized that those programs no longer fit me. I wasn’t passionate about them. I actually didn’t care if I never ran them again.
But there I was working a 16-month plan that was part of an old, outdated vision.
As much as we are evolving, changing, clarifying, and adjusting who we are personally, it can’t help but affect our businesses, too. Your personal evolution creates an evolution in your business. Your vision changes, and your business has to adjust.
That’s the problem with long-term visions… by the time you play them out, a new vision may have taken its place… and you’re still working the old vision with now-stale ideas, promotions, programs, products.
So, what do you do?
- Don’t feel like a flake. There is a difference between adjusting your vision and being flighty or undisciplined. More than likely, you’ve not flaked out. We’re not talking about the business owner who runs one ad, and then storms off in a huff, “See! It didn’t work! I have to do something completely different now!”
- As part of #1, realize there is no magic formula that only you are missing. You’re not going to find the right class or training on how to run effective facebook ads that will be the gamechanger for your business. YOU are the gamechanger of your business.
- Don’t throw planning out the window. The beauty of planning is that you have a direction. Otherwise, you’re floundering and going where the wind blows you. The beauty of owning your business and being in charge is that you can change that direction.
- Embrace change as the vehicle to bring you clarity and closer to aligning with your Zone of Genius and the work you’re meant to do in the world.
- Accept that you will probably be at this uncomfortable place of changing/clarifying vision over and over. As they say, become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- Thank your previous visions; don’t resent them. They got you to where you are today. They were right for you at the time. They’ve just outgrown their usefulness in your business and in your life.
- Do a vision check every so often to make sure you are in current alignment (at least, as much as you can be) with that vision.