Believe it or not, the fact that you're even researching how to write a business plan puts you ahead of most other online startups. You see, planning is one of those things that we all know we should be doing in theory but in reality, our fuzzy human brains fight against it!
We don't need to plan - we already know what we need to do
We don't have time to plan - there's so much else to get on with!
We just want to get on with the work.
We want to get to the results faster so we skip parts of the process. Unfortunately, we skip the parts that are really important if we want to actually succeed in hitting our goals...
Make this year different. Make a Business Plan.
You may have been reading this thinking, "hold on! I WANT to plan, I just have no clue where to begin..."
And that my friend, is why you're going to be leaps and bounds ahead of those schmucks up there who think they know it all and don't need to bother with that pesky planning phase.
Stick with me, and I'll show you how to write a business plan for the next 12 weeks and it'll be done by the end of the day. Not only that, but you'll have a plan that's strategically aligned to your business goals and that will give you a clear idea of which tasks to prioritise each day.
Yep, no more feeling like you're on a hamster wheel and getting nowhere fast...
(Don't have business goals yet? I've got you covered, chum! Read this to learn how to set goals for your business and then come back here. I'll be waiting 🙂
All set? Let's freakin' do this!
How to write a 12 week business plan in 5 steps
Step 1: Start at the end
Ok, I'm just going to go ahead and state the obvious. You need to know the end result that you're planning for. I break my goals (and my planning) down into the following key business activities:
If you don't already have goals in place for these activities, then start by setting an annual goal, then work back to quarterly (your 12 week goal). If you're struggling with this, then seriously, check out my post on goal setting. It breaks it all down for you!
TOP TIP: You can decide HOW you want to approach your goals. You might choose to just focus on AUDIENCE building for the next 12 weeks and then to move on to LEAD generation for the following 12 weeks and then perhaps plan a big launch and focus on SALES in your third 12 week slot...
Alternatively, you might choose to focus on all three. Do what feels right for you and your business!
Find out exactly what to prioritise...
Ok, I'm going to make this even easier for you. I've created a fun little quiz which is going to tell you what key business activities you should be prioritising, based on what stage you're at with your business.
You're welcome... 😉
Step 2: Assign a 'project' or 'work stream' for each of your goals
Now you have your end points sorted, you'll want to separate your goals out into separate projects. I use a simple spreadsheet to do this, with a separate sheet for each project...
If you've chosen to focus on just one goal this quarter, then you'll just have one sheet... you get the picture.
Step 3: Create a list of tasks for each of your projects
It's brainstorming time! Here you just need to list (in no particular order) ALL of the things you'll need to do in order to achieve your goals. Create a separate task list for each of your projects. Here's an example...
Your lists may well be longer than this - put every little thing down that you can think of, from sourcing images to writing your social media posts...
Step 4: Sort your tasks into monthly, weekly and daily
Once you've completed your brain dump and have listed all the possible tasks you can think of for each of your projects, start to go through them and assign each into a specific timeframe such as:
One off task
Step 4: Add in any additional tasks required for your business
There will be other, business as usual related tasks that you'll also need to consider and allow time for. These are tasks such as checking and responding to emails, learning/personal development and doing your accounts.
List these tasks, assign their timescales and add them into your plan.
Step 5: Plot it all out!
Now you have everything you need to create your 12 week plan. Time to schedule it all out.
I prefer to plot out the next 12 weeks, keeping it fairly high level. I just list the tasks required each month, separated out by time scales.
Then for the next month you can start to get more detailed. What will be your focus for each week? What targets will you be tracking? What tasks do you need to complete?
Then schedule out your month, day by day and ta-da! You're done.
And I can tell you, it's going to feel pretty darn amazing.
Start strong by getting your priorities right
If you haven't taken my quiz yet, I really recommend it. It won't take you more than a minute or two (seriously!) and it's going to break down exactly what you should be focusing on based on your answers. It's pretty cool.
What's more - you'll even have the chance to sign up for a 5 day email course which will give you even more info on where to go from here...