What is this?
In a business context, a plan is a document containing your objectives, and how you intend to achieve them.
It could be…
…a marketing plan, for acquiring and retaining clients.
…a financial plan, breaking out the drivers behind your profit and loss, and cashflow.
…a systems implementation plan, to help you move to a new setup that will reduce your time spent on admin and paperwork.
…a stock management plan, to ensure your older stock is sold first, before new arrivals (the shorter the shelf life, the more critical this is).
A ‘business plan‘ tends to mean a more formal affair, being the roadmap for your entire organisation. and could even contain all of the above. If you are looking to take out a business loan or raise capital, then a business plan will almost certainly be required by whoever is lending you the money.
A plan needn’t be complicated. Consider this most basic of marketing plans, in response to the challenge, “How will I generate enough income to at least pay my bills?”
- I’m going to provide reiki sessions, at £xx for 50 minutes.
- I’ll offer a 10% discount for every third visit.
- I’ll look for new clients from recommendations by existing clients, and by leaving leaflets at the local drop in centre.
- I might also advertise on Google, depending on how money goes.
Or it could be a 50 page document with appendices, spreadsheets of sales forecasts, and dotted diagrams of where people should sit on a certain day of the week.
Or, it could be anywhere in between (we recommend somewhere in between!). The format and the level of detail are down to you – the key thing is that you have a Plan.
How is this useful to me?
“Why spend precious time on ‘planning’, when you could be ‘doing’? Get out there and find clients, or service clients, or whatever – creating a document isn’t going to pay the bills!”
That’s a fair challenge, especially as we place a lot of emphasis on always getting the most out of your time.
Here are the top 5 reasons why we cannot recommend strongly enough that when the outcome really matters, you have a Plan in place:
1. Crucial decisions are made away from daily issues
It’s extremely hard, nay impossible, to bring your A-Game to the thinking table, when everyday pressures are clamouring for your attention. You know, People & Events.
Book yourself some planning time.
- Tell everyone you’re going to be out of reach for a couple of hours.
- Make a brew.
- Put some music on (or not).
- Definitely turn your phone, email and social media off.
- Remind yourself of what’s at stake (your income / professional reputation). These are important, strategic decisions you need to make, now whilst you have the luxury of peace and quiet to do so.
Then formulate your Plan.
Don’t worry about having the content to fill the pages. This is your business / livelihood – the foundations of your thinking are already up there in your mind, you just need to get them down into writing.
2. Other people are aware of your intentions
Of course, sometimes (often…) you need to be discrete with your detailed business objectives.
However, especially with team-mates and family, it can massively help to have a plan that you can share, even if it’s a watered down version of the one you use to organise your own thoughts.
They can now allow for your plan, and proactively support you in a way that wouldn’t be possible if unaware of your intentions.
3. A point of reference (remove ambiguity, introduce new perspectives)
Writing a plan forces you to crystallise your thoughts into specific words.
A clearly written plan helps avoid ambiguity and uncertainty, not least concerning who will be doing what and when.
If you normally work ‘off the cuff’, seeing your objectives and plan of action in writing often brings to light an entirely new perspective you were unaware of. Try it, you might be pleasantly surprised…
4. A baseline for measuring progress (& commitment to that progress)
Having a plan gives you something to refer back to when everything is said and done, to assess how far you’ve come and what has been achieved.
As a written statement of your objectives and how you intend to achieve them, the very existence of a plan can be a motivator in itself, spurring you to action when you might otherwise be tempted to ease up, or spend your time on something else.
5. A plan indicates what not to do
This so often massively underappreciated as a benefit.
With tens of thousands of distractions and demands of our time, that bombard our attention all day every day, having a plan reminds you of what needs prioritising.
Get in the habit of asking yourelf,
“Is this in my plan? And if it isn’t, should I be spending time on it, when I could be working on my plan?“
Your plan will thank you for it, and you’ll be that much closer to achieving your objectives.
Change the plan but don’t deviate from the plan
This is an important nuance of the Planning Principle.
First up, for the avoidance of doubt: there’s only one person in charge here… and that’s you. You have the final say. This is your show, this is your plan. Simples.
Therefore, you can change the plan as many times as you want, to whatever you want.
However, until you change it, you shouldn’t deviate from it.
When can I change?
During a designated planning session (see #1 above).
Certainly not on the hoof, in the middle of a busy day packed with demanding clients, ringing telephones, inbound emails and bills to be paid.
An assured ‘stick to the plan until I change it’ mentality prevents knee jerk reactions and ensures your approach is a considered one. In the long run, this will always see you better off.
NB We recommend you revisit your plan at least once a month. Each time, also consider whether you have enough or too much detail, then adjust if you have to.
What does a Plan look like?
Unless you’re applying for a loan or other form of business finance, where a formal business plan is required, then absolutely anything you want.
We recommend that whether your wellness pursuit is part time or full time, you have as a minimum:
- a marketing plan
- a financial plan
Also highly recommended if this is to be a full time pursuit:
- an operations (organisation) plan
Please look out for other templates and guides in the Knowledge Library.
Basic generic plan
If you find yourself in an unfamiliar situation, and no relevant templates are handy, use this as a basic starting point:
- Objective (what problem are you trying to solve?)
- Plan of action
- Timings and costs
Less basic generic plan
If a more detailed approach is required, then try this (feel free to leave out any sections that don’t seem relevant):
- Objective (what problem are you trying to solve?)
- SWOT analysis
- Strengths (internal, positive factors)
- Weaknesses (internal, negative factors)
- Opportunities (external, positive)
- Threats (external, negative)
- Plan of action
- What a successful outcome would be (this may feel like a repeat of #2, but note the emphasis is on the results of your plan)
- What factors / events could prevent a successful outcome, and what can be done to minimise the risk of these things happening
- Consequences of doing nothing / not succeeding
- Timings – When will you start? By when do you want to achieve your objectives? Are there milestone dates in between you should be aiming for?
Other useful Minutes
Bite sized guides to concepts that could help you attract clients, reduce costs, or run your wellness practise more efficiently.
- A few minutes to understand… business systems
- … cash flow
- … Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)
- … the marketing funnel
- … opportunity cost
- … profit & loss (P&L)