Plan for Success: Take Your Micro or Side Hustle Business Back to the Future!
Micro and side hustle business owners often shy away from creating a plan for success because the process of planning will raise a host of factors, including perceptions of self-worth and fear.
It’s those feelings of self-worth and the fear of the commitment to a course of action (a course of action we sometimes don’t really believe we can accomplish) that translate into a nerve-trembling sense of “I don’t need to do this” when it comes to business planning. This is especially the case with a micro or side hustle business when you are the business; you’re the one who’s in charge of everything and absolute success – or failure – rests on your shoulders..
All this means is it can be truly terrifying to think about a plan for success. Consider the impossible task of setting yourself the financial goal of achieving a solid £5k turnover every month, when deep down, you don’t really believe that you’re able to do it.
If this is where you are now, I feel your pain. Been there!
However, as an experienced micro and side hustle business mentor (not to mention a long-suffering micro business owner), I understand just what it takes to overcome that fear of failure and embrace it instead.
Yes, you read that right – I advised you to embrace your fear of failure! Try it, and see what happens.
My favourite – and most effective – way to plan for success in your business is by thinking forwards, then working backwards.
You Should Take Your Plan for Success Back to the Future!
In the classic film, Michael J Fox’s character, Marty McFly, accidentally travels 30 years into the past. After some unfortunate chance meetings with his (obviously much younger!) parents, he has to get himself ‘back to the future’ – whilst ensuring his parents are still primed to fall in love, or he will cease to exist.
(Talk about a stressful situation!)
Using his knowledge of ‘the future’, Marty spends his time planning his way around certain disaster. When he finally returns home, his life has vastly improved. His family is happier and more connected, and he has saved his best friend’s life.
While I probably didn’t need to summarise the plot of one of the most famous films of all time, that principle of propelling yourself forwards in time, then working backwards with the knowledge of what you need to achieve, can be extremely powerful.
And the great thing is, you don’t need a time-travelling DeLorean to do it!
When You Plan for Success What Does Your Future Business Look Like?
One of the biggest problems I see all the time happens when a business owner creates a ‘from the present into the future’ business plan.
Why? Because, more often than not, the business objectives that are set are far too safe.
It’s all too easy for business owners to think they can continue doing all the things that got them where they are today, and project that same approach into the future.
But this method tends to stop them from thinking bigger and bolder – which is something we all need to do in business if we want to become truly successful.
So, when we plan for success we need to travel into the future first. From that future vantage pint we can work backwards, planning just how we will achieve the objectives we set ourselves while we were there.
With this method you begin by asking yourself what you want your business to look like, five years from today.
Try it! Grab a piece of paper (or download my Five Year Timeline), and get writing.
Be as honest and as specific as you can. Who will you be working with? How much money will you be making? What projects will you be focusing on? How many days per week will you work?
WHAT DO YOU WANT? DON'T BE SCARED. IT'S OK TO WANT GOOD THINGS FOR YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS!
Don’t forget to include your personal life in your planning, too. This is particularly vital for micro and side hustle business owners, whose home lives are intertwined with their businesses. For example, if you’ve got children, how old will they be? What other changes can you foresee happening in your life?
When you’ve finished, it’s time to go backwards…to where things are today. Answer those same questions, this time with your ‘present’ head.
Now You Can Get to Work on Plugging the Gap Between the Future and the Present with Your Plan for Success!
You can create a year-by-year plan, by working backwards and identifying achievable ways for you to reach those five year objectives.
This method will not only help you anticipate any potential personal or business issues you might need to work through, it will also allow you to break down the boldest of objectives into manageable chunks.
What could this look like?
Well, let’s say, in your ‘want’ list you identified an annual turnover of £90k by year five. But – and here’s where some self-doubt and fear can push its way froward – your current turnover is £30k. That £60k jump forward from year one to year five can seem so daunting.
Let’s change direction and go back to the future!
You want £90k in five years.
- If we go back to year four, what would that turnover objective look like? Maybe £70k? When you’re turning over £70k the jump up to £90k isn’t that massive.
- If we have £70k in year four, what would year three look like? Maybe £55k?
- If we have £55k in year three, what would year two look like? Maybe £43k?
- If we have £43k in year two, what would year one look like? Maybe £35k
So, our current turnover is £30k and in five years we want to increase that to £90k – a massive £60k increase. Or is it?
By working backwards, what we know is, if we increase our turnover in year one by £5k – from £30k to £35k – with achievable, year-on-year increases that £90k is well within our reach.
If you’re in need of some extra Back to the Future guidance, my Five Year Timeline includes some handy prompts to get you off to a purposeful start. It’s available to download now, free of charge.
In the meantime, what methods have you been using to plan for success in your business? Is there anything you find particularly challenging?
Feel free to share your thoughts and questions below.