Ready…and ACTION! How to Stop Setting Unrealistic Targets in Your Micro or Side Hustle Business
When I work with Micro or Side Hustle business owners, we start by whipping their business plan into shape. If they haven’t got one (and many don’t), we create one using my One Page Business Plan model.
Why don’t we start with their branding or their marketing hen that’s usually the first thing they contact me about?
'Kathy, I need your help. I'm not getting enough customers / making enough sales. My marketing isn't working!'
Simple – everything you do in your business starts with your business plan.
Sorry, if you haven’t got a plan that tells you (in detail):
- why you are doing what you do
- what it is you are doing
- who you are doing it for
- where those people are so you can get your messages out to them
- why you are charging what you are charging for the things you are selling
- and so on, and so on…
… it’s going to be really tough.
It’s not your marketing; it’s your business that’s not working!
Stop Imagining: Write Your Ideas Down
Most micro and side hustle business owners know what their ‘big idea’ is, and they’ve got no problem thinking about the customers they’d like to attract. It’s a fun and exciting process, listing all those lovely products and services and the hordes of customers queuing up to buy them. But too often it’s based in imagination; it’s abstract, not written down and not put to the test.
Your ideas need to be put into writing; it’s here they become real (which is why this is sometimes avoided). But this plan, however, rudimentary, is the gateway to success
Creating a Usable Action Plan
OK, so let’s recap.
- Your Strategic Plan is the top level plan that gives you your overall objective; it’s your why, your mission and your vision.
- Your Business Plan is the second level plan that turns the objectives you identified in your Strategic Plan into achievable targets.
- Your Action Plan is the bottom level, day-to-day plan that tells you what you should be doing on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to enable you to achieve the targets set out in your Business plan and fulfill the ‘Why’ of your Strategic plan.
Even with a business plan and the best intentions, action planning is where it all tends to come unstuck.
A lot of micro and side hustle business owners see an action plan as nothing more than a vague ‘to do’ list – and we all know how tempting it is to ignore those! Especially when you’re in charge of absolutely everything, as company-of-one owners usually are.
An action plan is so much more then just a list of ‘stuff’ that has to get done each day. It’s a list of the things that have to get done to meet your targets and achieve your strategic objectives – alongside all of those other, essential, daily tasks such as customer follow-up, invoicing, accounts, social media posting etc. etc.
So, let’s look at an example.
On more then one occasions, I have seen the To-Do list of a client. On that To-Do list, usually right at the top, is something like ‘Update My Website’.
Have you ever done this? I know when I started in business, I did!
What’s wrong with that statement on a To-Do list?
Well, it’s not a To-Do; it’s not an action.
- It’s a strategic objective – ‘new or improved website’ – that should be embedded in a business plan
- It should be supported by achievable targets as outlined in the business plan
- to attract x-number of new customers
- to make x-number of sales
- to increase web traffic by x%
- to increase leads by x-number
- It should then be broken down into daily, achievable actions
- research best practice in modern website design
- make a list of likes and dislikes on websites
- contact my network and ask to be introduced to web designers so I can make a list of people to ‘interview’
- make a list of web designers to ‘interview’
- contact my network to ask to be introduce to copywriters so I can make a list of people to ‘interview’
- and so on, and so on ….
With so much to do every day, it’s all too easy to concentrate on what has to be done right now, rather than spend your precious time on targets you’ve set for yourself. That can seem outrageously self-indulgent, especially when you’ve got bills that need to be paid.
But those targets are going to keep you and your business moving forwards, setting you up to achieve that future success you’ve been dreaming about.
Isn’t that worth some time and effort? Particularly when the process is probably far less painful than you think!
You may have seen the S.M.A.R.T. acronym before. It stands for:
Setting targets for yourself can be scary. Once you’ve got a target, you’ve got something to achieve – so what happens if you don’t get there?
By making your action planning S.M.A.R.T., you will give those targets some much-needed clarity and focus. You will be able to break down your objectives into manageable chunks that will help you to succeed, not fail.
To put it another way, if you decided to run a marathon, signing up for one taking place in a week’s time is bound to end in failure if the most you can manage now is a short jog to catch a bus!
By contrast, signing up for a marathon held in six months’ time means you can set yourself some achievable training and nutrition targets that will see you crossing that finish line with pride.
Action Planning…In Action
Let’s say you want to organise a series of three automated emails to deliver a freebie download that you have on your website that highlights and tells people about a new service you’re offering. It will help you build your mailing list and allow you to ‘test the water’ as to whether the new service is something that will attract new customers.
On the face of it, this is a task that could take you at least half a day to complete. You’ll have to write the email content, then polish it up, then arrange to send the messages out in the right sequence.
Who’s got the time for all that?
But when you start breaking down the task into smaller chunks, it suddenly becomes much easier to manage:
- Monday 10.00am – 10.45am – Write email #1
- Tuesday 2.00pm – 2.45pm – Proof read and edit email #1
- Wednesday 9.00am – 9.45am – Write email #2
- Thursday 12.00pm – 12.45pm – Proof read and edit email #2
- Friday 11.00am – 11.45pm – Write email #3
- Monday 4.00pm – 4.45pm – Proof read and edit email #3
- Tuesday 10.00am – 10.45am – Double check all three emails and set the automation sequence to ‘ON’ in your email client
- Wednesday 3.00pm – 3.45pm – Create, and schedule, five social media posts to promote your freebie download
- In less than a fortnight – one hour a day – you could have that email series written, polished and activated (and even started the social media promotion) to get your freebie download into the Inbox of potential customers.
That’s better than having ‘Write Email Autoresponder Series for Freebie Download’ at the top of your To-Do list
As for the amount of time you spend completing each task, 45 minutes per day.
The average amount of time it takes to drink three cups of tea – should do nicely!
So why not put the kettle on, and then spend the time it takes to savour that cuppa by doing something that will help take your business from A-Z?
Get your planning off to a purposeful start by downloading my Five Year Timeline, which allows you to visualise your future, then work towards it through setting meaningful objectives and achievable targets.
If you get stuck, I’m always on hand to help you identify the right objectives for your business, so BOOK A POWER HOUR
And: have you been using any specific methods to plan for your business? Is there anything that has worked well, or that you’ve found particularly challenging? Feel free to share your thoughts and questions below – let’s get a good discussion going!