I have recently spoken with one of prospective clients and we debated on the subject of planning. He is an accomplished photographer, having worked with plenty of Hollywood A-listers and British pop artists. He’s now venturing into wedding photography, and after launching a separate website for this niche, he finds to be working around a clock yet making no real progress.
After further examination I found that although he did put a lot of preparation into the business and performed all the research needed, he had never written it down. It was all ‘in his head’, yet not on paper. That’s a common mistake.
Focus on your big goal
I can relate to that, as with my previous business, an ecommerce store, I was working silly hours doing hundreds of things at once but not moving forward. I made a typical start-up error of not having a business plan.
You see, what they say is true: “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. If you don’t know where you’re going, you can take a path one day, and then take a different path the next day. You will be making the same distance, doing twice the work and still be in the same place, even after days, weeks and months have passed.
Business plan gives you a direction
It tells you of the next step to take. You focus your efforts on one task at a time. Once it’s done, you move to the next. That way you work progressively towards your goal. A goal that is written down on paper (or saved in your laptop), to remind you which path to take, when you’re not sure what to do next.
I take this approach with my current business, and it pays off ten-fold. I have two separate documents –my 5-year plan and my business plan with monthly tasks. I know these little tasks are there to take me towards a big milestone by the end of the 5 year period. They translate the big goal and break it down into achievable little jobs I can do every day.
Break down the big goal into smaller tasks
For example, my January mission was to send 5 website pitches, 2 article queries and 5 resumes to marketing agencies each week. Also do regular blogging, research and self-education. That’s all! I didn’t set any larger goals – that would only discourage me.
It’s also the best and universal advice I found – and it works in business as well as any other targets you want to achieve. Just write down your big goal and then work out the step by step approach how to get there.