Monday, December 15, 2008

30-Day Biz Planning Challenge: 2008 Modules

Yesterday's post laid out a few modules for you to choose from when you start working on a business plan. But wait--there's more! Today, we're focusing on modules that help analyze your 2008 work, with more to come tommorow.

Remember: You can start anywhere. I've suggested an order, but please don't let it stop you. Pick one, do it, and go back to work.

Favorite Clients

List all your clients, then rank them from one to five, with five being "I never want to get an email from them again" and one being, "I want to marry this publication and have lots of zine babies."

You'll use this module as you get to the next section, planning for 2009. You can't know where you're going till you know where you've been.

Client Health
This is a new module I'm thinking of adding to my biz plan this year: In it, I'll look up news on my client's health and see how they're doing. That way, when I get to planning for 2009, I'll have a sense of where I need to take my marketing efforts.

Work Breakdown
Equip yourself with a pen and piece of paper and scan back through your articles for 2008. Make some lists.
  • Types of assignments you did: ie, reviews, service pieces, departments, shorts, features, essays, etc.
  • Coverage areas: ie, health, real estate, technology, green lifestyle.
Whatever it is, list the type of work or beat, and then put hash marks next to each type every time you come across it. Had a year where you felt weighed down by work, irritated? It may be because you were doing types of work that don't feed you anymore. Or it could be that you're no longer excited by a coverage area.

Source of Clients
This is one of my favorite modules, and one that was really eye-opening when I added it last year. Take that list of all your clients and then think back to how you started working for them. This will show you what kind of marketing works for you: Networking, cold calling/pitching, referrals, etc.

Spending Breakdown
To know how much you need to earn next year, you first have to have a baseline of spending from which to start. A quick spin through your online bank account or accounting software may be enough. Or, if you're anal like me, you'll want to go back through a month's worth of spending and write down every penny to see what you really spend. Divide it by "business" and "personal."

I can hear you now: We had unexpected expenses this year. I shouldn't count them. Count everything. You'll always have some unexpected or unusual spending. It's the nature of the beast. Just make a category for "Unexpected." And be sure to include how much you spent on taxes.

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