When you think about business planning, what does it mean to you?
Is it something you put off because it’s not all that fun? Maybe you see it as a boring, dull plod full of numbers, stats, spreadsheets, and project management tools?
I wouldn’t blame you. We’ve been trained that a business plan needs to look a certain way.
Executive summary. Company description. Market analysis. Organization and management. And so on.
If you are applying for a loan or credit, then you do need a business plan that follows that format. And knowing your numbers, doing market analysis, understanding your legal structure, and making financial projections ARE important.
But what if you didn’t start there? What if, instead, planning for your business was inspired and fun? Even joyful?
Yes, it’s possible. I’d even argue that it’s critical for you and your business for you to be excited and inspired about your planning. Otherwise, you risk losing sight of what really matters. And your business becomes more like that 9-5 job you left.
How To Get Started With Inspired Planning
My Dream Measure Do™ Framework is at the heart of my inspired planning and the inspired planning work I do with my clients.
The process begins with defining your Focus Dream. The next step is to determine how you measure your success. Finally, you set out the “dos” that will allow you to meet those measurements.
The result? What you do every day is aligned with your Focus Dream – which is the key to inspiration and joy in your business.
So what is a Focus Dream, and how does the Dream Measure Do Framework work? I lay it out for you below.
Step One: Define your Focus Dream
Your Focus Dream is the center of what you want to accomplish in your business. Your Focus Dream sits somewhere between your why and your mission.
I worked with a coach who would have called it a big, fat, hairy audacious goal. But your Focus Dream goes deeper and brings you back to the reason why you started your business in the first place.
So it’s not simply another goal you check off your list. And I’d rather you see that you have the power to make your dreams come true.
Here are the questions you need to answer when defining your Focus Dream:
What do you dream of doing?
What inspired you to start your business in the first place, and is that still where you want to go?
If so, great! If not, now is the time to set the Focus Dream that will move you in the right direction.
Who do you want to help, how will you help them, and why? Think big picture here instead of getting into the weeds. The nitty-gritty details come in later.
For me, my Focus Dream is to help women over 40 develop or grow a business that is meaningful to them and helps them meet their life goals.
Step Two: Decide How You’ll Do It
Again here, I’d like you to think about this broadly. We aren’t creating a to-do list for you. Instead, you are defining how your client will be transformed by working with you.
I’ll give you an example to help you along here.
Say your Focus Dream is to show teachers who are ready to leave the school system how to use their unique skills to start their own businesses. How would you do that?
You might decide you will help them by showing them that (1) they have marketable skills, (2) their skills and things they love to do can be matched into a business, (3) the things they loved about teaching can and should be a part of that business, and (4) you will teach them the business and marketing skills that allow them to be successful.
Step Three: Determine How You Will Change The Status Quo
How are you turning conventional knowledge or traditional thinking upside down to create solutions for your clients?
This question might sound a little scary, I get it.
Try thinking about it this way… what is unique about your knowledge, background, and experience? What do nay-sayers tell you is crazy or stupid about what you are doing?
If you started a business in mid-life, I’m guessing some well-meaning people tried to talk you out of it. I know I had plenty of that happening. And still do.
For me, I disrupt the status quo by showing women that work doesn’t have to be a four letter word. It can be joyful and fulfilling. And that the “safe” path of working at that soul-sucking J.O.B. until you theoretically can retire not only isn’t necessarily safe, it can get in the way of truly living your life.
Step Four: Define Your Statement of Success
Now we are moving into the Measure piece of Dream Measure Do. Defining what success looks like for you gives you the power to quantify, gauge, and evaluate the key figures, metrics, or indicators that ultimately will make your Focus Dream real.
So let’s begin with a statement of success, then we’ll move into the actual measurements.
Fill in the blank: I will know I am successful when ______________.
Keep in mind your statement of success should reflect back to your Focus Dream.
So my statement of success is “I will know I am successful when people look to me as the authority on living a better second half.” That connects to my Focus Dream, which is to help women over 40 develop or grow a business that is meaningful to them and helps them meet their life goals.
Your statement of success could involve being featured as a speaker at an event or summit that’s important to your industry. It might be a 6 figure year for your business… because more money means you’ve impacted more people. Or it could be an authority statement like mine.
The most important thing about your Statement of Success is that it brings you joy. Maybe there’s a little butterfly in your stomach, too, but she’s an excited, happy butterfly. Because feeling happy and excited about your Statement of Success keeps you moving forward.
If you’re feeling some limiting beliefs around setting your Statement of Success, this post will help you.
Step Five: Set Your Measurements
It’s time to bring the numbers back in. Your Statement of Success may or may not be something you can measure in and of itself. So what are the markers that prove you’ve gotten there, or that you are at least moving in the right direction?
You definitely need to look at lead generation, sales, revenue, and profit. But you’ll also want to factor in the number of people you help, guide, lift up, and empower.
As you grow, you should add in the number and type of new positions you want to fill in your business – whether they are contractors or employees.
If you feel nervous about setting benchmarks, that’s normal. Especially if you are new to your business and don’t have any data to look back on. Any of these measurements can be adjusted. But it’s important to have something tangible to aim for.
A friend of mine said it really well… she sets her measurements with high intention and low attachment. Which means that she wants to stretch herself and keep growing, even if that feels uncomfortable. But, if she doesn’t quite get there, it doesn’t mean she’s failed. She simply learns and adjusts.
Step Six: Plan Out What You’ll Do To Meet Your Measurements
Now that you have a yardstick (or two or three) in your hands, it’s easier to lay out the steps required to get there. And to prioritize those steps. That’s the Do part of Dream Measure Do.
Dos are your everyday business activities. Here’s an example to help you figure out your Dos:
If one of your measurements is $5K revenue months, how are you going to bring that revenue in? How many services, packages, products, or courses do you need to sell to get there? How many leads do you need to bring into your world to make a sale?
Then you break each of those pieces down further. If you need 100 leads, where are they coming from? Perhaps you need to create a lead magnet so people can join your email list. You’ll need to create and schedule social media content around your lead magnet topic. Maybe you’ll write a blog post about it or get on a stage on the Clubhouse app to talk about it.
Break your Dos into the departments across your business: marketing, sales, fulfillment, product development, and operations. That way you know you are covering all areas of your business. And it will also show you where and who you need to hire when you are ready for the next step.
So yes, there is some mundane stuff mixed in here. Because that’s how life and business work.
But if you approach your planning from a place of dreams and joy, you won’t lose sight of what’s really important. And you’ll keep moving in the direction of your dreams.
There’s a lot more to Dream Measure Do, but you can make a great start simply by following these steps. I’d love to hear from you if you have questions.
And if you find the little things keep getting in your way… like constant client onboarding headaches… I can hook you up. I created Onboard Like A Boss™ to make onboarding easy as pie.
Onboard Like A Boss™ is the simple, no-brainer onboarding system with customizable templates you can use over and over again to get you paid fast and get you to work quickly and easily.