Why planning is the key to creating a successful business
Are you guilty of over-planning or do you prefer to wing it? There are benefits to both. But, if you really want to grow your business as a mompreneur, you do need to take some time to plan things out. The why and the how are not as complicated or time-consuming as you might think.
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Planning helps you run in the right direction
I want you to take just a minute and imagine that your child is really excited about going to a brand new friend’s house. This friend lives just a couple of blocks away. And they know that they’re going to be able to walk there and play with this new friend any time they want.
So they head out the door; they are running, they’re taking off. They are so dang excited! But, as you watch them, you realize they turned right instead of left. They are running excitedly in the wrong direction. And as their mother, you know that they’re not going to get to their friend’s house when they’re running in the wrong direction.
In this post, we are going to be talking about how sometimes we do this as entrepreneurs. Joel Barker said:
“Speed is only useful if you’re running in the right direction.”
Planning is that not so shocking key that actually helps us make sure we’re running in the right direction.
I want to start out today’s episode by telling you a short story. I served as a missionary in Atlanta, Georgia. and I had a companion during those 18 months that really didn’t like planning. She wanted to just jump out there and start spreading the gospel. It was exciting to her. She had so much passion for improving people’s lives by helping them gain a testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This passion sometimes kept her from wanting to plan.
I, on the other hand, am the polar opposite. I love to plan, I don’t like to move forward until I have a plan. So in today’s episode, we’re going to talk a little bit about why both of us were actually wrong and where that middle ground is.
You feel like you are constantly running around, putting out fires, and you’re never really focused. You end the day feeling exhausted, feeling like you’ve worked all day, but you haven’t made any progress. I see this so often.
I first saw it in myself when I very first started my business. I, honestly, still see this sometimes in myself. I get distracted by all the shiny objects, like getting more followers on Instagram or writing a blog post just because it’s a term that’s highly searched in search engines.
Where are you focusing your attention?
I find myself trying to do all the things at once, but I also see it in the entrepreneurs (particularly the mompreneurs) that I mentor and help. I see this kind of squirrel or shiny object syndrome where we do whatever is loudest, whatever is screaming at us the most and calling our attention most frantically. That’s where we put our attention.
That’s where I see so many of you putting your attention and it is the reason why you are exhausted and not making progress. It is such a frustrating place to be! I know because I’ve been there. It is so frustrating to have felt called to do something and you’re trying to be obedient and follow that prompting. You’re exhausting yourself doing it, but you’re not seeing any progress. That is such a discouraging, awful place to be.
But, there is a solution. And if you feel like you need that solution, then today’s post about planning is for you. One of my favorite quotes about planning comes from somebody that I don’t even know. His name is Alan Laken, and he says:
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it right now.”
I love this concept or idea of bringing the future into the present so we can do something about it right now. I’m trying to get my kids to do this when I ask them the question, “what does your future self want you to do?”
I encourage my kids to think of their future self as someone separate from who they are right now, but someone that they care very much about. They also understand that their future self is wiser than their present self. So I encourage them to consult with their future self on a regular basis.
I believe this is what planning does for us. It allows us to reach out to our future self and say, “Hey, future self. Present self here. What is it that you would like me to focus on this year or this month or today? What’s going to make me happier in the future. What’s going to bring me more joy. What’s going to allow me to have more influence, positive influence over people. What is going to help me to make more money?” Ask your future self those questions, and then base your decisions on what you’re going to do today on what your future self answers.
How planning helps you stop procrastinating
One of my very favorite things that planning does for us is that it stops procrastination. I don’t know about you, but one of the biggest reasons why I procrastinate is because I don’t know where to start or something feels so huge it’s difficult to tackle, or it feels a little bit ambiguous.
I see this happen again with a lot of entrepreneurs, we jump in to a new business idea, just like that child I talked about at the beginning of this episode, we are excited and giddy and thrilled. We cannot wait to start this new business idea or new blog or this podcast or whatever it is. And our intentions are so good because we want to build relationships with people. We want to have great, good, amazing impact on them. We want to make money.
Just like that little girl is so excited to build a relationship with this new friend that lives down the street from her. Can you see yourself in that little girl, so excited that you don’t even take the time to ask your mom what the directions are and how to get to her house? You just take off down the street running and your mom’s back there saying, “Hey, Hey, you, you’re on the wrong path. You’re going in the wrong direction. Come back.”
This is my purpose in this post. I want to give you some direction so that you are running in the right direction. And when you have that then where you are going no longer feels ambiguous. It no longer feels overwhelming. It no longer feels huge. And you know what the next step is. This allows you to stop procrastinating.
Planning is essential to your success in business
We’re going to talk a little bit later about what I mean by planning, but I hope you understand why planning is so essential to your success as a mompreneur it’s this not so exciting, somewhat boring, key to your success.
You have to be running in the right direction. But my companion who didn’t love to plan? She had a point too. I told you I was going to tell you why both of us were wrong and why both of us were right. George Patton said, “A good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
Sometimes, as planners, we like to spend a lot of time planning, too much time planning. In fact, sometimes we plan because we’re scared to act. I know that is true of myself. I have to repeat the mantra over and over again to myself, that “done is better than perfect. Misty, did you know that done is better than perfect?”
That’s what my companion was feeling. This need to just go out and get it done. Sometimes we play house, I guess you could call it, or we play business. Imagine your little kids when they go downstairs and they play house. It’s pretend, they’re not actually creating a real home, and a real family, and really making dinner, and really doing the laundry. They’re just pretending.
Are you using planning as an excuse?
Sometimes we use planning as an excuse and we’re basically just playing house or playing business. We come downstairs and we answer a bunch of emails, or we put up a whole bunch of Instagram posts because it’ll increase our followers.
This is why people can have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of followers and not be making any money. It’s because they’re just constantly trying the new thing. It’s this shiny object syndrome. To some degree, planning is the solution to that, but over-planning is just another version of it.
I want to take some time to teach you on a broad level about how I plan, what I mean when I say that you need to plan. First of all, there’s the very, very top level planning that I believe should be required of every single new business owner. And during this phase of planning, you need to answer two very important questions.
2 questions you need to answer if you want to see success in your planning
#1 – Who is it you want to help?
Get as specific as you can here. For example, I help Latter-day Saint mompreneurs. I don’t help all moms. I don’t help just mompreneurs, people who are moms and trying to start a business. I help people who are Latter-day Saint women who are trying to start a business and have kids at home. That’s who I help.
So who is it that you want to help? Who is that ideal customer that you get on a really deep level and you love interacting with them? You love when that light bulb goes on in their mind and you love helping them. Who is that person? That group of people?
#2 – What problem are you going to solve?
Before you really dig into your business for it to go in the right direction, you need to figure out the problem you solve for the people you want to serve. Latter-day Saint mompreneurs, they have lots of different problems in their businesses. What is it that I help them with?
Well, Sarah, from Sarah Grace Live, she helps you with your funnels. Michelle Gifford, she’s going to help you with your content. I help you with your web design, your web copy the words that should be on your website and in your emails, and I offer you tech support. That is how I help you.
I help you build a website that works and functions and drives people to your email list. So, what problem is it that you want to solve for that group of people? What are you so passionate about and so good at? What is your superpower that you can use to help this group of people?
It is the answer to these two questions that is going to get you running in the right direction. You’re going to be headed left instead of right, just like that little girl who was running out the door.
Now, the answer to those two questions does not answer everything in your business. What’s that little girl going to do when she gets to the next corner? She’s not going to know all of that, but she’s not even going to be able to answer that question until she gets to that corner. She doesn’t know if she can go straight, left, right. If it’s a circle, she doesn’t know. So you have to start going, this is what my companion was talking about.
You’re going to plan who it is you want to help and how you’re going to help them. And then you’re going to start in that direction. If you want some help starting in that direction, really figuring out the problems that your people have, I want you to listen to episode #41 of The Goodness Squad podcast.
All right. I want to tell you another short little story here. A few years back, I was planning a trip to Disneyland for our kids. We had waited until that perfect time. That’s really rare that we actually have a perfect time. Right? We had four kids who were all born within three years of each other, so it’s really easy for them to kind of all be interested in the same thing.
There are a lot of families who have a teenager and a newborn, and that can be really difficult to find the perfect time to go to Disneyland. But, once my youngest daughter was big enough, weighed enough, tall enough, to be able to go on all the rides at Disneyland and my boys were still young enough to really enjoy the magic there, that was the perfect time for us to go.
I began a year ahead of time planning a trip to Disneyland for us. So I had that direction, I knew who I was serving (my kids) and I knew the problems that I wanted to solve for them. I wanted my daughter to be able to go on every ride and I wanted my boys to still find it magical. So as I took off in that direction, I was able to find experts online, friends who were able to give me the next steps.
They told me, “You want to use the electronic fast pass because this is really great for your family. You’re going to be able to keep your family happier and get on rides quicker.” And that was another piece to that puzzle.
The same thing’s going to happen in your business as you start moving forward with a plan that is not yet perfect. You are going to find the other pieces to the puzzle. Hopefully here on this podcast, hopefully on my email list, I want to provide pieces of that puzzle for you. Tech Check is probably the best place that you can find answers to that piece of the puzzle.
This is a group where you can ask me anything you want to about business and I will respond, most often with a video, sometimes with my screen showing you exactly how to do what it is you need to do.
If it is a tech question, I will audit your website for you. I will do all sorts of things inside of Tech Check to help you create a website that truly makes you money. So no matter where you’re at in your journey, you can ask me questions and I’ll give you that next turn. Go left here. Go right here. Go straight.
Bonus tip for planning in your business
Let’s move on to the next tip that I have for you when it comes to planning. I want you to plan on a lot of different levels. I want you to plan out your entire year before it happens. The first time I have ever done this was just this year – 2021. My entire year is planned and it’s because I took Michelle Gifford’s Core Content Code.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I have already recorded episode #66 with Michelle Gifford, where we dive into her Core Content Code. It really helped me to see planning my content in a whole new way. So I want you to plan your year. And then quarterly, I want you to plan the next quarter. I want you to plan the month before it begins, the week before it starts and your next day, every night.
I know that sounds like a lot, but I promise you because I have personally experienced it and I have watched other people experience it, that when you do this, you are going to stop putting out fires, stop chasing the squirrel, get rid of the shiny object syndrome.
This is how you’re going to truly move the needle in your business. This is how you are going to make money. This is how you are going to have a broad and deep impact on the people that you are meant to help. You must plan it. This is where God can inspire you. This is where the inspiration comes into your business.
When you’re flying by the seat of your pants, it is really hard to feel inspired. So if you will take the time to plan, when you focus on your life, not just your business, but your life this way, this is when you can really move the needle.
So in summary, you need to work hard in your business. You absolutely need to be running fast, but you are a mompreneur. You’re not just an entrepreneur. You do not have time to waste. You have a lot of very important things to attend to in your life right now – kids, motherhood, and your business. So you can’t waste your time. You can’t run in the wrong direction because that is a waste of your very, very precious time.
But you do not need to have all the answers before you start running a general direction. Remember, when I planned Disneyland I didn’t have every detail planned out, but I knew what I wanted to accomplish. So I had my general direction; start off, turn left, and then look for the experts around you to help you know where to go next. Ask your future self, “What do I want? Future self, what can I do for you today?” Ask a future self how you can help her. This is essential as you work on planning.
A great tool to help you if you struggle with planning
If you would like some guidance from a true expert on how to plan, I would invite you to learn from April Perry of Learn Do Become, I will link to a free webinar that she does that will get you started in the right direction. After you watch this webinar, she’ll give you the opportunity to sign up for her Step Program.
I have taken her Step Program. I have planned my whole life folks. Like since I was itty bitty tiny, I have been planning. It is in my blood. This system blew me away. It really helped me fine-tune my planning in a way that lets me have that balance that my companion and I were looking for.
I no longer over plan and play house and spend too much time dreaming and figuring out where it is I want to go. I am actually spending the time doing it. I’m working. Like George Patton said, “A good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” That is what the Step Plan helped me to do.
So whether you are somebody who never plans and you want to get started learning how, or whether you are somebody who over-planned like me, and you want to find more of that balance, you need the Step Program. But before I invite you to purchase that, take her free webinar.
This is a webinar that is packed full of value. Sometimes you go to webinars and they’re all hype. April Perry delivers on her promise in her webinar. If you do not purchase the Step Program, you will still walk away with some valuable insights that will change your planning.
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This post originally aired as an episode of The Goodness Squad podcast. New episodes are no longer being recorded, but you can still listen to past episodes on your favorite podcast app.
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