Article: Mike Jones


The Small Business Library

April 17, 2000

The most important 15 minutes you will spend this week!

What could possibly fit that description? Answer? A 15 minute planning session. Please, don't switch off. This is not one of those "inspirational messages". What follows is just sheer logic with some practical suggestions thrown in.

Where do you want your business to be in 30 days time or even 7 days time? Can you answer clearly in a second? If not, then you have work to do. Can you imagine putting out to sea in a boat without a rudder? Yes you'll get somewhere, but who knows where. As a line from the BBC's Goon Show went years ago: "Everybody's got to be somewhere sometime."

The point?
If you don't have a clear business plan you are sailing into oblivion or a fog of mediocre results. Yet, so many business hopefuls neglect this all important step. Why?

If you are like me, the thought of sitting down and planning seems like a pain in the neck. Right? So we procrastinate. We dive straight in full of enthusiasm and ideas. We can't wait to get started. Then, when the dust settles and the results are bordering between poor and pathetic we feel discouraged and ready to give up. What's the answer? A change in attitude.

We have to get it into our heads that a 15 minute planning session is as essential to our business as eating and drinking is to our body. Just discipline yourself to DO IT, DO IT, DO IT! What can make the 15 minute planner more enjoyable and productive?

Some suggestions:

  • Set a definite time and CARVE IT IN STONE!
    The end of the week or first thing in the new week are good times. Personally I like a Saturday morning when you feel a little more relaxed with the weekend ahead. Mornings are generally good times for THINKING!

  • Get your equipment ready
    Sit down in a comfortable position, with a cup of your favorite brew, a notepad, a good pen you enjoy using, your diary or weekly planner at your side, either hard copy or computer planner.

  • Start thinking and writing
    Set REASONABLE goals for your business for the next 30 days. Then break off a piece of that goal and decide where you want to be in 7 days time. Then plan what you will do each day for the next week and put it in your diary or computer planner. Good grief, how many times have we heard this stuff? Yet how many of us actually DO IT?

    Write your plan either in linear form or as a Mind Map. (For information on these two methods go to http://www.vitalstop.com/planning.htm)

  • Review results
    As part of your planning session, review! Take the knife and chop unproductive parts of the plan. Zoom in on what's working and do more of it!

An example of results from a 15 minute planing session:

  • 30 day goal: Increase daily website unique visitors from 500 to 1000.
  • 7 day goal: Increase from 500 to 625.

Day 1:  List top 10 classified ad sites, submit punchy ad and test it. (http://asofttouch.com/freeclas.htm)

Day 2:  Check out 100 listing on Yahoo Classifieds and start grappling with the submission requirements. (Has anyone thought of giving Yahoo the job of looking after Fort Knox?) (http://partner.classifieds.yahoo.com/signup/start.html)

Day 3:  List 20 high traffic FFA sites and submit test ad. (FFA's can be a colossal waste of time. Be selective.)

Day 4:  Tweak meta tags to improve search engine listings and resubmit. (Again and again.)

Day 5:  List 5 top ezines for your target audience.

Day 6:  Research how to write a GREAT article and start, including a carefully crafted resource box.

Day 7:  Review and edit ezine submission article and submit to chosen ezines.

After working for 15 minutes on a plan like that, what does it do to you? It enthuses you! Not some transient euphoria which evaporates quickly. It focuses you on your target. You KNOW where you are going with your business that day, that week, that month!

What effect will this weekly planning have on your business and web promotion? In a word - DRAMATIC!

Conclusion:  Planning is as essential to business success as the air we breathe. You don't have to be a Mark Joyner or Rick Beneteau to start a regular planning program. It is'nt something you do when you become an industry icon! These successful guys, either knowingly or unknowingly have practiced these principles in their upward spiral.

Can you adopt a positive attitude toward planning? Yes, definitely! Will you?
OVER TO YOU . . .

Article by Mike Jones.
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