Focus, Clarity, and Priorities start with a PLAN.

Has there ever been a time in your business when you lacked focus? Not clear on what actions to take to move your business forward? Not sure what to prioritize first, second, and third? At some point, many entrepreneurs and small business owners have struggled with lack of clarity. They are not sure what specific actions are needed that will result in generating revenue or taking their business to the next level. As an entrepreneur, I have oftentimes struggled with time management, focus, clarity and priorities.  As a former outside sales person, I’d spend my time cleaning my office as opposed to prospecting for customers. Or, I’d spend my time hanging out with customers who had no intention of buying from me versus cultivating customer relationships with those who could buy from me. Eventually, I realized that my office was not going to generate any revenue, but spending time with my qualified customers would.

Business and Strategic Planning minimizes failure and improves your success rate.

I speak from past personal experience when I say that oftentimes entrepreneurs “shoot from the hip” or they “wing it.” This mentality leads to a lot of wasted time and chasing our tails in a circle.  You would never go on a 6 week hiking trip up in the back country wilderness without a plan would you? Okay, maybe you would if you wanted to test your survival skills.  The same goes for your small business.

My 77 year old father in-law hiking and Chuck in Yosemite.

My 77 year old father in-law hiking in Yosemite.

It would be business suicide to jump into ACTION without a PLAN. The sad truth is that many entrepreneurs do just that! Business planning and strategic planning have everything to do with preparing for the journey that will inevitably unfold in your business endeavors.  Moreover, knowing what to do first, second, and third is just as crucial. It’s about taking the right action at the right time. Business plannning  forces you to think things through on many different levels and scenarios. Let’s go back to the hiking analogy. What if bad weather hit? What if you got injured? What should you pack in your emergency kit? What if you encounter bears? Having a plan helps you think through all the variables, scenarios, and situations that you may encounter on your hiking trip. So it is with your small business. The purpose of a plan is to minimize failure. Unfortunately, small businesses have an extremely high failure rate. Business planning and strategic planning minimizes failure and improves your success rate. Prioritizing, focus, clarity, and managing your time all start with a plan. A plan helps you to focus on what is needed, why it is needed, when it is needed, who will take action, and how it will get done. It helps you get clear, laser focus, and prioritize the most important things in your business that will generate revenue and make your business profitable.

Are you ready to work on your Social Media PLAN?

Right now, more than ever,  small business owners are trying to figure out how to use social media to grow their business. I hear comments like, “What social networking site should I go to? Who should I connect with?  How much time should I spend on social media?”  I rarely hear, “What kind of return on my investment in social media will I get?”  Or, “How will I measure my efforts in social media?” Having a social media plan in place for your business is imperative. Otherwise, it could cost your business a lot of wasted time and money. It is not a one-size-fits-all.  A social media plan for a hospital may be different than for a restaurant. One industry may be slow to adopt social media while another is heavily using it. Where does your business fit into social media? Is your business ready to jump into the world of social media? Is now the right time? Do you have your systems and talent in place to manage your social media efforts? Taking the right action on social media at the right time starts with your business plan…ENVISION PLAN ACT.

Brenda Horton will be hosting a live webinar series on Social Media Summer Boot Camp for Beginners starting in July 2009. Sign up for her blog to receive more upcoming information.

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