Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Planning for Serenity

Serenity, in my experience, is not namby-pamby or hippy-dippy, or any other rhyming put-down. You don't have to be pure of heart or devout to achieve it, especially in business.

Instead, try this: Work on your business plan.

It's that time of year again: The end of the fourth quarter, when business owners everywhere are buying tax deductible items lest they give more money to Uncle Sam. And it's the time to plan your goals for next year. There are plenty of articles out there now browbeating you into creating a business plan. The Small Business Administration even has a whole page of tools to make your business planning easier.

If you're dragging in this department (and really, who isn't?), here are more incentives:

* As this article makes abundantly clear, lack of planning adds emotional and intellectual clutter to every day, sapping your serenity. How much money do I need to make this month? Will I need to buy a new computer this year? What do I do if my main client goes out of business/drops me? Don't worry. Decide. Put it in your business plan and then don't worry about it.

* Your business plan can add to your joy. I know, I know. "Joy" and "business plan" aren't terms that often share the same sentence. But hear me out. I took Erik Sherman's amazing business planning class a few years ago. In it, I essentially learned what mattered most to me in my work (the types of things I love to do, the clients I hated to work with, the things that brought me the most, yes, serenity) and came up with goals that would allow me to support those values, and steps to achieve those goals. By the time I got to work on creating an income plan for myself, I found I was ready to direct my earning into avenues that supported my values.

For 2008, I'm planning on creating a one-page cheat sheet of my business plan and posting it on the bulletin board behind my computer monitor. That list, as of now, will include:

* Monthly income goals;
* Monthly time goals;
* Target markets;
* Clients to replace this year;
* Major new/changing expenditures for the year; and
* Marketing goals.

Next year, I'll report back on whether doing that helps me achieve what I expect it will: to guide me toward decisions that support my personal and professional fulfillment and abundance.

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