Recently I came across an article about how authors write novels. Some authors write by micro-planning, chapter by chapter, and scene by scene. They write out bios of each character.
Others – equally successful – prefer to be more spontaneous. They’ll start writing before they know how their novels will end. One mystery writer keeps writing until she writes herself into a corner and then figures out how to get out.
With a business, most people feel they can’t afford to wait till they get caught in a bind and then work themselves out.
But some people find they don’t resonate with traditional models of planning. They aren’t comfortable writing notes in little squares on a calendar.
Others just aren’t ready to go there.
When I was new to the world of business, I attended a workshop that focused on planning as the answer to what ails you in business. The leader encouraged us to decide what we’d do in the next 3 months. For instance, next month might be “set up a JV with Janet.” Then there’d be “Webinar on Latest Trend.”
Like many of my fellow workshop participants, I dutifully filled out the form. For one thing, we had peer pressure: who wanted to say, “I haven’t a clue what I want to do next week, let alone three months from now.” We all programmed our action worksheets and shared them.
When I stayed in touch with these participants after the workshop, I realized that most of us had just wasted our time. We had created a fantasy – not a realistic, results-oriented action plan.
What was missing?
If you intend to plan the year, you’ve got to be clear on the fundamentals. You need (you’ve probably heard this before) a sense of your target market and your value proposition – what makes you unique.
You also need to know how you’ll reach your market and why they’ll view you as a credible resource.
And most of all, you need to be comfortable with your plan, your action steps and your goals. You need a combination of belief that you can really do everything on your planning worksheet. You need to feel a connection between who you are, what you plan to do and what you want your business to look like.
And you need that little intuitive nudge that says, “Yep…this works. Keep going!”
Of course your intuition speaks in your own language…but that’s another post.
Writing brings clarification.
It’s no accident that many of my clients often find their most profitable strategy after we work together on a sales page or website. When you can put something into a solid piece of copy – not just a couple of phrases on a calendar square – you’ve got something realistic.
In particular, telling stories often reveals the reality and the promise behind a product or service. When you’re marketing your offers, you’ll find audiences often resonate with stories rather than lists of facts. I’ve identified stories that will be particularly effective in marketing.
So why not harness the power of storytelling for planning?
- You’ll draw on your right-brained creative side yet still be rigorous and analytical.
- You’ll get clearer on your goals.
- You’ll recognize when your plan fits who you are – and when you’re just the right distance from your comfort zone, not too close and not too far.
Mostly you’ll be liberated from the feeling you ought to start by matching dates to actions. You’ll discover how to generate momentum naturally by being motivated.
And if you’re ready for storytelling, download this free guide – 3 Common Story Mistakes and 1 Not-so-Common Solution. Click here to get immediate access.
3 Plannning Storie – Free On-Demand Training