Monday, December 29, 2008

30-Day Biz Planning Challenge: Have you found the time?

As this 30-day challenge winds down--and the year does the same--it's a good time to check in on progress. Tomorrow, I'll sum up this challenge in wrap-up post. But first, a question:

Have you found the time to do your business planning?

I'll be honest: I know exactly what I will do, but I haven't done it yet. Does that mean I won't do it? No. The great thing is, despite the overwhelming number of modules I laid out for you last week and the week before, it only took me two hours to update my business plan last year.

That's because I have a structure and have practice.

That wasn't the case the first year I tried doing it on my own. I didn't get to it until April or May, and I slogged through it over several weeks, each step more painful than the last. Basically, I didn't know what I was doing.

So if it's slow-going this year, don't be put off. Learn from my experience:

Getting through your business plan this year will tell you what information you need to track in 2009 to make your 2010 business plan a breeze.

I've mentioned it several times, but I keep track of my income, my time and my assignments all in one Word doc. For you, it might be better to do it in QuickBooks or Quicken or Excel or on some iPhone app with which I'm unfamiliar. But the point is to create the doc, save it as a new file every month (god bless the creators of the "Save As" button), and track:
  • What kind of work you do,
  • Who your clients are
  • How much you earned and
  • From which sources
Then you can sit down at a cafe, as I plan to do tomorrow afternoon, and go through it all with a calculator and a chart. And voila! Business plan!

It really doesn't have to be painful--and keeping track can show you the progress you're making. It's done wonders for my query motivation to see how much money I'm earning from stories I pitch myself.

Do you have one hour you can spend on your business planning this week?

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