Do you set aside time regularly to plan what you want to do in your business? If it’s not something you currently do, I strongly encourage you to embrace it for the remainder of this year, as well as the one coming up. Setting aside time at the end of the year, to plan out what I want to do, and more importantly, what growth I want to achieve in the coming year has been crucial to my success. Over the next seven days, I want to share some of what I’ve learned and what I’ve found helpful with you.
Let’s start off by taking a look at why business planning is “the secret” to success.
There are a few different factors that come into play here. The first is efficiency. When you go in with a clear plan, you can focus on what’s most important. Instead of spending time trying to figure out what you should be working on, what pieces of the puzzle are missing from your product funnel, or what you need to do to break through to the next income level, you know exactly what needs to come next.
As we’ll explore in a future blog post, with a clear goal in mind and a plan for the year, it becomes easy to walk backward to create effective and efficient daily to-do lists. Work on what needs to get done each day, and you will reach your goals.
Next, setting a big goal for yourself helps you think outside the box. If you don’t believe me, try it. Decide on a big income goal for the coming month. Write it down. Keep it in front of you. Then get to work and start to notice what happens next. You start to think of things that didn’t occur to you before. You come up with creative ways to get more traffic. You decide to run a fun promo that adds dollars to your bank account. The same happens when an important deadline comes up unexpectedly. Think back on that time in college when finals rolled around, or the last time your in-laws told you they would stop by later in the day. You got very creative about studying and cleaning, respectively.
Last but not least, let’s talk about the subconscious. So far, we’ve focused on what we are actively doing to make progress by making a plan, setting goals, and following through. There’s another dimension to all this, and that’s what’s going on in our subconscious mind. While we are busy plowing through our to-do list, cooking dinner for the family, and even sleeping, our subconscious mind is working towards those goals as well.
In short, planning and setting goals is vital because it helps you grow faster. That means you end up with more money for yourself and your loved ones while spending less time working yourself to death at your desk.
You Have To Know Where You’re At Right Now To Measure Growth & Figure Out What You Should Be Working On
Are you ready to take your online business to the next level and watch some explosive growth unfold over the coming months? Great. Before you start to plot and plan what you want to do to make that happen, it’s important to stop and look at where you’re at right now.
Business planning for future success is all about data. You can work most efficiently and spend your time and money most effectively if you know exactly where you are starting from. By recording data, you can start to see what’s working, what isn’t, and what trends are starting to play out. And it all starts with recording where you’re at right now.
Here are seven actionable tips to make your business a success:
- Have a written plan.
- Be willing to change your plan
- Keep your ego in check and be willing to listen to others
- Keep track of everything, and manage by the numbers.
- Delegate or outsource to save time
- Use the Internet.
- Reinvent your business.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you want to record. First, though, you should decide how you want to record this information. You can write it down by hand in a notebook, open up a word document to do it digitally, or use a spreadsheet. I prefer a spreadsheet because I have the option to have it calculate fun additional information like weekly and monthly averages and even map it all out in graphics to help me get a clearer picture.
Traffic – To grow, you need to expand your reach. That means getting more traffic but also engaging the people that come to your site by encouraging them to click around and read more. Good things to keep track of are total visitors, unique visitors, bounce rate, and of course, where the traffic is coming from.
List / Subscribers – Your next goal is always to get these people on your list. Here you want to track the total number of subscribers, conversion rates for each of your opt-in forms and pages, open rates for your emails, and also unsubscribes. As you start to collect and review this data regularly, you’ll get a much better picture of your subscribers.
Customers – Subscribers are great, but customers are better. Start by keeping track of how many total customers you have and how many purchases per day, week, and month. Other useful numbers to look at are total lifetime value of your average customer, repeat purchases, and refund rates.
Income & Expenses – Last but not least, look at your bottom line. This is your typical accounting data. You want to keep track of your income as well as your expenses. With those two sets of numbers, you can easily calculate your overall profit. I find it helpful to look at the profit for the month but track income daily.
Yes, you can look at most of this data in various places like Google Analytics, your shopping cart, and your autoresponder service, for example, but it’s important to have it all in one place. This makes it much easier to connect the dots and see the relationships between the different sets of numbers.
Now that you have your initial data collection set up make it a habit to update the numbers regularly so you can see what’s working, what isn’t, and how much you’re growing as you move through the coming months and years.