Steve and the Managing Director of the Seattle Chapter of eWomenNetwork, awesome leader and professional planner, Debbie Whitlock, discuss why planning is so important to the health and wealth of your business. Listen in to hear tips, tricks and the mindset that goes into making planning work for you. Steve and Debbie tackle topics like; 1)Why we need a plan. 2)Why are we so resistant to a plan 3)Avoiding the over-planning trap 4)How to remove stress from planning.
This episode will show you how to create a clear, simple plan to go from where you are to where you want to be next in our life and business!
Don’t Fail Because you Failed to Plan!
Good Morning and Welcome the Thriving Entrepreneur, This is Steve. We’re delighted you decided to join us today. I’m just struck every week with how blessed I am be able to bring you some amazing and some insights and to specific parts of succeeding in your life and business. Today we have an extra special treat. As you know our show is part of the E Women Radio Network and today my super special guest is the Managing Director of the Seattle Chapter of the Women Network which just happened to be the biggest chapter of EWN. So she’s here with us today. Join me in giving a big welcome to Debbie Whitlock.
Steve: Hi Debbie
Debbie: Hey Steve, thanks for having me.
Steve: Oh thanks for being here we’re so excited today. Today we’re gonna talk about something that could be scary of people; Planning. I even used the quote of the show, the quote from Benjamin Franklin ‘People don’t plan to fail they fail to plan”. So if you can start us off a little bit tell us a little bit about your background and where you learned how to be so good at planning.
Debbie: Yea, Thanks for that it’s really interesting to see the resistance that comes up for that. My entrepreneurial journey started when I was I think it was about 25, 26 years old and had a real good fortune to start working inside an independent Financial Planning and Insurance Brokerage. And so I had a really good opportunity to get some mentoring at that point in planning for the year, Sales Cycle, Revenue Productions. I had probably done a little bit of that earlier in my life but never in any real formal setting and over the Entrepreneurial journey, the acquisition of my first business, the sale of that business, my process kept getting more refined and more refined and more refined until I came to the place where I am today that the idea of thinking forward is always on my mind so it’s this interesting place that we get in or that I get in as an entrepreneur and a business owner and as a Business Coach even with my clients and being Powerfully present in the moment of what’s happening in my business and then allowing also the visionary that’s inside me to be looking forward, 5, 10 steps ahead always making sure that my present path is lining up with that future vision of where I think I’m going and so at this point they’re people probably listening going planning because that sounds really complicated. And at the end of the day it’s not. It’s super, super simple. It’s just about breaking it down, having a little bit of fun with it, making sure that there are people on ‘Team You’ that are keeping you moving forward and then also having some filters in place so the you can at anytime check yourself and make sure that the choices and decisions you making in your business are lined up with the desired outcome.
Steve: Yea, okay so the thing I guess I’d like to talk about with you first is how much do you think it is just a part of really internalizing the need to accept a plan, the need to accept that just going wily nilly; I remember the old phrase ‘If you aim at nothing you’ll probably hit it’. How important is it to start off with accepting the fact that you actually need a plan for your business?
Debbie: Yea so here’s the thing. I think there’s an interesting tipping point in the evolution of our business. So often times we start our businesses, small business owners Entrepreneurs; it’s really sexy. Our friends often times look at us like we’re a little bit nuts because their getting up in the morning, they’re going to Cubicle Nation, everything is set up for them in terms of expectations and performance and we’re the little rogue warriors that are out here making it up as the go. And so there’s this fine line that develops when you’re launching your company and it’s really attractive to just be moving and shaking and going to the left and going to the right and figuring it all out, right? Until you get to this place where you’re like ‘okay, that’s only gonna get me so far’. And then I do need to sit down and I have to have a strategic plan. Now the opposite to that are the people who sit and do so much planning; and I’m sure we’ll talk about this, that they get just absolutely paralyzed, right? And they can’t get out of that process they can get it all done on paper but they can’t take the first step. So I think what’s important to be mindful of in the journey of Business Ownership and Entrepreneurship is to right out of the gate start developing a plan for the business and that’s gonna include a number of things.
There’s gonna be a revenue plan, there’s gonna be a Marketing Plan, there’s going to be a Content Plan. There’s a whole host of things that you can layer on there to get yourself up and going. I think when a client will come and work with me, often times Steve one of the first thing that I’ll say to them is tell me a little bit about your planning process, how do you put that together? And I’ll tell you the vast majority when they come to me the first thing they’ll tell me is ‘I don’t have a plan, I just try to go until I figure it out.” So we need to take a step back with them and start to get something down on paper and what often happens is they will see that they actually are working a plan, it’s just they haven’t put it down. You and I have read, I’m sure so many of the same books from the literature that talks about that the increase in success that we see by writing down our plans are exponential.
There was a study that was done of, I believe it was Harvard MBA student at graduation and it asked them ‘how many of you have a plan, how many of you have written that plan down?’ and what they found was that the vast majority of these MBA students Harvard, smarty pants were walking out the doors roughly a half of them had no plan. They had no plan at all they were just glad to be free apparently, graduated and they were gonna figure it out as they went. There was another segment of the community that was about; I believe about 40 some percent of it. Where these kids had a plan but they hadn’t necessarily written it down. They at least in their mind had said these are the steps that I want to take and this is what I’m going to do. And then there was a small fraction of less than 10% of the students that were graduating that year who actually had taken the time to write their plan down, right? And they didn’t say in the study how formal the writing was but at least they had gone through the process of writing it down. They followed up with these students 10 years later and now into their career and what they noticed was the more than 10 time increase in salary flash revenue in the group where they has take the time to write down the plan versus the group that just was gonna figure it out as they left. And so personal development, power positive thinking, practical application. I can stand on every street corner of this argument and talk about why it’s so important to have a written plan. I was listening to Tim Ferris podcast this morning and he said when it comes to goal setting and planning that here’s an example; If you’re generating $50, 000 a year and you do your goal setting for 2015 and say I want to make $60, 000 let’s just be real, that’s a good increase but it’s not very sexy, right?
Debbie: There’s not going to be a lot of motivation to work ‘harder ‘ to get another $10, 000 verses people who; we were having a conversation with a business owner here in town the other day about this and we were talking about numbers, big, gargantuan, ten million dollar numbers, right? He and I both were so in agreement over I’d rather go all the way over to that end and fall short than play it safe and fall short of that, right?
Debbie: And so I think there’s an interesting energy that we also create when we take a look at something that’s big and juicy and we also know that we have the people and the process in place to get us there.
Steve: Yea that makes a lot of sense I think that the biggest thing as Business Owners that we don’t realize is that the box is as big or as small as we make it and so often we find our self at 50, 60, 70, 75, 000 or even bigger numbers 200, 500, 000 and worse and of this sticking point simply has to do with our perception of what we can or what we should do and so we don’t even stop and think how could it be bigger. I don’t know if you heard the thing I did with Phyllis where I challenged here to take what she makes monthly and then put a zero behind that number and what would her life look like if that was what she made monthly instead and it was a real light bulb moment for her to think in the box of ten times what I’m making what would I do as opposed to what I’m currently making and what would a 20% percent increase be. That’s a really good point.
Debbie: Yea and there’s this interesting thing that happens too I think when it comes to money, you know cause most of the place that I hang out with; most of my clients, there’s this ‘if we haven’t been there often times it’s really difficult for us to grasp what that would be like, and so the exercise that you gave to Phyllis, not to adjust but it’s just a really beautiful way to do that. Whatever your revenue or income number is add a zero to it and think about that. You know the reality is money is how we get things in life, it’s how we do things in life and whether you’re leveraging your revenue for you things or experiences; what I know is that the more revenue you have, the more choices open up for you and it’s about making sure that those businesses are profitable and they’re clean and it does start with this profit for planning to make sure that you’re gonna stay on course and get where you need to go.
Steve: Yea I think that’s so true in fact, going into this fist commercial break I guess what I’d like to point out to the listeners is what you had said just a few minutes ago. ‘The people that had graduated that had a written plan in whatever level it was, were making 10 times as much money as the folks who either had a plan but hadn’t really taken the time to write it down or had no plan at all.’ Ten times as much money, I mean if somebody came to you today and said I can multiply your income by 10 times over the course of the next five years would you be interested? And I think everybody would say ‘yes’. So we’re gonna take a little break here and when we come back we’re gonna talk about how when there’s even statistical evidence that shows if you make a plan you’re gonna make more money why are people more resistant to that? So we’ll be back in just a couple of minutes.
Steve: This is Steve. I’m here with Debbie Whitlock and today we are talking about planning one of the things that is perhaps the most needed in our business and well let’s face it one of the most resisted things in our business we were talking Debbie in the last segment about that fact that planning can actually cause; there’s actually statistics that show that it can make you 10 times as much money as what you’re making and yet it seems like people are resistant to planning it. I don’t know if they feel like they have to be spontaneous that a plan is limited or what. Why are people so resistant to having a plan?
Debbie: Well here’s the deal. So in my humble opinion bought in to this idea that it’s super sexy in business to think outside the box and so we think that thinking outside the box means we don’t need to have a plan often times. But I think it was Louis Cheryl who said that ‘any road will get you there if you don’t know where you’re going’. And so this is the journey of entrepreneurship right so if we don’t know where we’re going everything looks like it could get us where we think we want to go and so this can often mix up in the shiny objects syndrome. One of the things that I want people to start thinking about is not thinking outside the box I just want them to pick the right box. I want them to pick the right box, I want them to know what it is that they are doing and then I want them to put together a plan that looks like given with the information that they have is gonna get them at least down the path. And here’s the thing, it’s just like driving a car. I may head out and take a road trip to eastern Washington and thing I’m gonna go one way. Weather might change my plan, road construction might change my plan and so I have so choices, I can either pull over to the side of the road and I can sit and wait for that situation or circumstance to change or I can pause and think want are the other alternatives that will get me around what it is that has gotten in my way of me physically going where I need to go. For some reason in business we don’t look at the journey that same way. I’m not saying that the plan that I put together here over the last couple months is the only way I’m gonna get to my 2015 objective. What I do know is that it gives me a map and it starts to let me pick the path that I’m going to use. And then as long as I continue to run through the filter and I’m course correcting, right?
If you’ve ever seen any seen any of the documentaries on space travel to the moon right. The idea is it is 10 billion little tiny minor corrections that got us into space and onto the moon.
Debbie: It wasn’t one linear journey it was one little nudge, one little nudge, one little nudge. They knew their destination they were going to the moon and they also know that it was gonna be little shifts, little shifts, little shifts and so if you have your beginning and you have your end it’s classic personal development. A mantra that I grew up with, start with the end in mind. I know where I want to go. With my circumstance today I have at really good idea of how I think I’m gonna get there and then I’m just gonna be checking myself and course correcting a little bit at a time. Sometimes it’s a weekly correction sometimes it’s monthly, depending on what’s happening but as long as I keep my eye out for the ultimate goal I can make the little things along the way, otherwise I’m gonna start chasing every shiny object and think ‘yea that’ll work , yea that’ll work and I think that’s why in business so many Entrepreneurs get stuck like you said Steve, ‘that level’ and they can’t figure out that why it is they can’t bust through that 75, 000 to a 100, 000 or get over their 100 to 250 or 250 to 500. And having built the company through a million dollars of revenue in a relatively short period of time I can tell you that the distance between 250 and 5 and 5 and a million isn’t as big as you thin. It’s a series of tiny little steps that we take and the reason all that happens is by doing a planning prep up.
Steve: Wow. I think sometimes those numbers especially for people who are starting out their business seems so unreal that I was talking to a client the other day actually and she was like ‘I just would like to get to the place where I can pay my rent from my new business, you know and yet I’ve seen so many times enormous numbers. I mean we hear on the radio all the time the numbers that gets spent for things that are in billions and trillions of dollars it just seems unreal to us but what I’m seeing more than anything is that we tend to hold back on that plan because we don’t want to be wrong. Do you think that’s a big piece of it?
Debbie: Well it’s about playing safe you know there is this; one of my favorite books that I had all my clients read over the last couple of years was ‘The Big Leap’. And so in The Big Leap we talked about confidence excellence and genius and so often times what happens is we do a really good job getting ourselves into this place of excellence; this zone of excellence right, where it’s good and it’s safe and it’s familiar. I know what it feels like to make ‘x’. I know what it feels like to struggle with ‘y’, right these are all familiar things to us and to take a step over that you know enter the zone of genius work, everything, absolutely everything lines up and the effort that it takes is so easy it’s so uncomfortable and it takes practice just like anything else, you know if you’re working out, if you’re training for some physical endeavor the same principles apply in your business that when you turn over into that very new space because it’s unfamiliar it is often times our comfort and our dissatisfaction with where we are that keeps us where we are because it’s familiar and it’s safe, you know it’s the crabs in the bucket right? If you’ve ever thrown a bunch of crabs in a bucket there’s always one of those little suckers that want to get out. And I’m telling you the other guys are not pushing him over the top they’re grabbing at him and pulling him down. And that’s what happens often times in business especially if we’re not doing planning or if we’re doing our planning process with the wrong people. Making sure that we have that support system in place to be able to say ‘okay and not okay but’. Totally different energy when it comes to planning for your business.
Steve: I like that. ‘Okay and instead of okay but’. I have a good friend of mine that one of his pet phrases is ‘people look for problems like there’s a reward for finding it.
Debbie: Absolutely, absolutely and I look at problems as opportunities I just don’t have a solution for it yet.
Debbie: And so if we can flip our thinking and how we look at ourselves inside our businesses that’s where the game changing starts to happen and part of it starts to happen with who’s on as I say team you. You know the Entrepreneurs and business owners who are listening do an inventory right now. If you handed your goals as they are right now, if you had them written down and you handed them over and if you haven’t written them down and you did and handed them over, whom in your world would you hand them to? And take a look at the people that would look at them and say ‘yes and’ then likely ask you some questions about clarification, what if, you know really helping you think through that process and the people in your life who would say ‘yes but’ right, it’s a different way of looking at that and my suggestion is going to be for you to get where you need to go in 2015 you need to have more people who are saying ‘yes and’ than ‘yes but’ in your life.
Steve: That is so huge. If we could all find people and surround ourselves with people who say yes and, who are looking for possibilities instead of her problems. I think it’s really easy to find somebody who can tell you all the reasons why things aren’t gonna work. You can probably just stand on the street corner and ask every passerby and they could complain about things for you but finding somebody that sees possibilities. We’re gonna go ahead and take a break here.
Steve: Yea I think we’re gonna take a break here and when we come back I think I’d like to talk in more detail about how do we find those ‘yes people and how do we keep ourselves away from being distracted by every shiny bobble because of the fact that we don’t have a planning team as it were you know , we don’t have anybody that’s on; I love your phrase on ‘Team me’ wow that’s just a huge light bulb for a lot of entrepreneurs is to look at your company as ‘team me’ in fact I told somebody the other day I said you know you need to stop telling yourself that you aren’t an employee because even if your business is only one person you’re employing you so it’s not like you don’t have a job you know so we’re gonna take a quick break here and when we come back we’re gonna talk in more detail about those things surrounding our shiny bobble syndrome and the things that we can do to help us find some ‘yes and people’ in our lives.
Steve: What do we do to find some ‘Yes and people’?
Debbie: Yea so that’s a great question. Funny the sort of side stories that I talk about a little bit when I’m out speaking but not a lot of people know necessarily is that up until 2007 I was an island. I didn’t network, I didn’t know how to network, I was really operating in this complete silo in my business and it was lonely and it wasn’t as successful as I wanted it to be and I knew I needed to make some changes. And so I started going around looking for networking organizations; again this is the total shameless plug for E-Women Network, landed at E-Women Network in Seattle in the fall of 2007 and it completely transformed my business. So what I knew was kinda back to the planning process. I had written down a certain set of criteria that I was looking for in people that I wanted more of in my life. I wanted people who were big thinkers, that they had a positive attitude, they were committed to personal and professional development, they have this abundance as we would say now 30:17 this idea that there is a 30:19 is more of an internal game than it is an external game; and so kind of ran all that through, landed at E-Women Network and then I did what my girlfriend and I talk about often in life and in business I started going on “Lady Dates” with business people that I was fascinated by, right. I took a look at somebody that was doing something that I really was impressed with not with an agenda of my own like ‘oh maybe they’ll hire me or maybe they’ll do this with me’ but really people that were fascinating and curious to me. And I would ask them a couple of questions you know first of all “Can we get together and have coffee? I’d love to learn more of about what you’re doing and how I can support that”. And then I would start asking them more questions about their business, “How do you address this? What do you find works for you?’ And what I start to realize Steve on that journey was that these people were all at that time telling me that they had intentionally surrounded themselves with people that were either doing what they wanted to at the level they wanted to be or were being what it was they aspire to be in their own life. And as a natural result they were elevated into that category themselves. Whether they say we are most like the 5 people that we surround ourselves with. And sometimes this is hard guys, I mean we can get check ourselves because you know if we’re married it maybe that our partners isn’t as in love with our business as we are, right. And so that’s a delicate dance, I’m not saying that we kick the mister to the curve or we toss the misses out with trash you know sometimes we have to remember we have to court these people in our lives; especially family a little bit and keep them in line with our dream.
And the reality is Lisa Nichols says “ Not everyone is supposed to get your dream because it’s your dream” and so I started to realize that I really wanted to make sure that I had people in my life who didn’t necessarily get my dream but believed in what it was that I had envisioned, you know one of the important steps in planning that I had envisioned or vision aired for myself and had put out there that they said look it’s not mine Deb, but I love that you have that vision and naturally they would ask the question: ‘So what can I do to help you get there?’ and often times it’s just accountability, having people that are going to support you in that process. So I would start taking a quick look at it, you know. Who are the people in your life that are already there and in place? And I’m not saying you need to divorce relationships, kick your sister out, you know any of those things but be really intentional going forward into the new year about looking for people who are big thinkers and they’re also big executors because the world is a noisy place and we can get really caught up with people who had this great idea and boy they’re always talking about this great idea but they can’t execute and that’s usually an indication to me that somewhere ‘n the process of creating their plan they’re missing a couple of steps.
Steve: That makes a lot of sense. So talk to me about the other side of that. How do we keep from getting distracted by all the shiny bubbles? I mean there are some many amazing people out there. You could spend every minute of every day being in somebody’s coaching plan. You could get up in the morning go to class with this person and then that person and fall in bed at midnight and having spent the whole day just excitingly listening to other people telling you about business. What do we do to avoid that shine bobble syndrome that the internet has brought to our business?
Debbie: Yea, so one of the things that I do and for those of you who follow me on Facebook or on Twitter; a couple of months ago I brought two of my really trusted inner circle people into my home and we did an entire day of planning on Saturday and so we totally dorked out with giant wall-size post-its and we put them on the windows in my home and we broke out the aspects of our lives and all the things that would feed that. So we go through this whole mind mapping process right, and so ended up with these beautiful, I mean beautiful almost works of art beautiful, their color, I’m very visual it was outstanding. But I also recognize Steve was it was very noisy and in that beauty was a lot of distraction and so I have a trusted Advisor and mentor in my life and I had walked through this plan with him and he had said ‘Alright Deb that’s beautiful and, not but; and I want you to go do this. I want you to take those things and I want you to order them this way’. What would you absolutely die about if it didn’t get accomplished, finished or if you didn’t reach that benchmark this year? And what on that list would you be like ‘yea, if it didn’t happen it didn’t happen’ So I spent a few day re-ordering that, you know different aspects of my business re-ordering, re-ordering, re-ordering and it became really clear really quick that there are only three things that I need to focus on this year. Three things, it what Tim Farah talks about is the lead domino right, how is it that I can make the choice that when I tip that lead domino that first domino over, the momentum that that one action will create will make everything else that I need to do with greater ease and with less effort. And so when I re-ordered it that way; and that’s why I say to people all the time I start my planning process back in October, so I just spend a little bit of time with it, a little bit of time with it, get some ideas, little bit a time, little bit a time and then once I get to this place now it’s about getting ‘I’ve got the vision no problem with the vision I’m good at that; as most entrepreneurs are.
The next place where we break it down though is we don’t know how to make it measurable, you know, and this isn’t gonna be the conversation about making your goals smart or anything like that and it is really important that we have measurable, quantifiable steps inside our plan and our process. When we do that we are we are able to monitor. I had a client come to me a few months ago who was really, really frustrated. She had gotten off her plan of measuring her progress and was really, really frustrated didn’t feel like she was making any progress or hit the pause button, how to go back, re-calibrate and she’s like I can’t believe this, I wasn’t following what you told me to do by measuring my process and I was feeling so frustrated and yet when I went back and measured my process I realize I’m ten times further than I was supposed to be at this point. And so that’s the other part that’s happens is that we can really start to beat ourselves up again but you know every road will get us where we want to go, right if we don’t have a destination and that’s why we need to have that in place. And then setting up the benchmarks around it you know, what is it that’s going to happen? Like I said earlier getting to the moon didn’t happen in a straight line, there was a whole series of little tiny adjustments all the way through space that got them where they needed to be. So what are the little benchmarks that you need to have along the way? You know, sometimes people will come to me and they’ll say ‘I’ve got a half a million dollar revenue goal for this year’. Right on, super excited about that now show me what you’ve got in the funnel right now. ‘Well I don’t’. Okay, so talk to me about the projection of where that revenue; how are we gonna build that revenue so that we peak December 31, 2015 to half a million dollars?
‘Well I don’t quite know that yet either’. Okay, fair. So now let’s start breaking it down though, let’s start looking at the avenues the ways that the money you know again that’s a big part of my world with the clients that I work with and where is the money going to come from? And can we actually get to this benchmark or is that for the stage of development of your business may be a little bit more than where we need to be and again I’m not a ‘dream squisher’. Again I said at the top of this show, I want you to dream big and fall short of that number then play it safe any longer, especially for women you know ladies listening it’s time for us to not play it so safe. We’ve got a huge opportunity and a huge potential to make a great impact on the world and now is our time to do it. Thinking small being small is not it and we also can get super discouraged if we keep setting these big goals and we don’t get there? Usually we don’t get there because we don’t have the measurable benchmarks along the way to be checking ourselves so that we know that we are getting closer to our end goal.
Steve: Wow, yea I think that’s so important that we really understand. I often talk to my clients who have these enormous visions you know they want to change the world and they’ve got something that really legitimately could but then a website is a perfect example of it. You’ll end up having like 15 different things that you’re asking the person to do the first time they come to their website and I try to help them to break it down. It’s like okay, if you only got 30 seconds with a person or maybe a minute at the most what’s that one thing, what’s that one message you want to make sure they know about you, what do you want to tell them? And so I think that’s a good element of it is taking the giant vision; I’m so excited when people have that but then also breaking it down to the place where there’s a place to start. I think maybe more than anything, would you say that’s true that most people struggle a lot with there being a place to start?
Debbie: Absolutely, you know getting to the beginning is oftentimes the most challenging part of that it’s like okay so I know what I want, I know my destination but I don’t know how I’m supposed to get there and again just taking a step back and then going okay we don’t need to have and I know you interviewed Jessica Butts here recently. She and I had done some co-creating and some co-facilitating and some coaching we’ve done this year and one of the things that she and I so believe in is we don’t need as business owners to these steps figured out we just need to be able to take a step, just one that’s it.
Steve: So true
Debbie: We just need to be able to take a step and often times because again I think it was 41:38 who said “The death of an Entrepreneur is solitude”, right and so as an Entrepreneur we can get really silo-ed, we work; most of us real independently, you know we own our own stuff and so there’s that internal dialogue can get really, really loud and so all of a sudden it seems like okay I’ve got this revenue goal out in front of me but I don’t know the steps I need to take, you don’t need to know all the steps you just need to take a step, you know and that’s how momentum begins. And sometimes it’s not gonna be the right step and that’s okay, it’s just like everything else as long as you have the benchmarks along the way then you can course correct and go okay, you know what that is not the way that I’m gonna get there and that’s good. It’s good to know how things are not supposed to happen for you because that can get things tightened up and if you’ve never done a planning process before or if this is new for you don’t over analyze it just start with something. It can be as simple as revenue goal for the year broken down to quarterly broken down to monthly and here’s the thing it does not have to be divided by 12. Sometimes I work with plans from a revenue standpoint and we’ll get into what’s really important to them and sometimes they intend to take the summer off. You know, we can often usually mess ourselves up in the planning process, I used to do this with my insurance agents all the time. I would say you know, what kind of sales pool do you want to hit? They’d give me the number and I’d say so how many weeks are you doing that over and they’re like 52 and I say well that’s not gonna work because you’re not gonna work 52 weeks this year. At best, by the time we back out holidays, family vacations, sick days, you know miscellaneous things, flood, famine, locusts whatever it is.
You’re probably gonna be working about 45 weeks this year. And here’s the thing, you know I will joke; you know Entrepreneurs, people can think that either we’re really crazy or it’s really exciting to be us, you know and I think an Entrepreneur can get caught in the trap of the freedom and the lifestyle and they end up being sold this bill of goods that ‘oh my gosh, you know I can only work half the year, you know well here’s the deal 6 months of the job can also be done half a day at a time and that’s what often times will happen for people; look if you want to take 6 months off then let’s build your business plan and your business model around working super specifically, super intentionally for 6 months so you can step out of it. But don’t do what so many Entrepreneurs do which is work half a day only on that they should be doing and then as you said previously Steve, the other half of their day listening to everybody else out there; every guru, everybody who has an idea and so if you have you plan down then you can run it through your filter. you know if Content Marketing is important to you then part of your plan is going to be to have some personal development time set aside for yourself, you know whether that’s from an investment financially or an investment of time or both.
Now I have time-blocked out, I blocked my time and my calendar really specifically and intentionally and I have 2 or 3 hours every sing week that’s committed to personal or professional development. It could be Podcast, it could be a Webinar, and it might be something in the city. I blocked that time on my calendar and then depending on it’s the event again is not in that time it’s not like I don’t go to it but I move that block of time somewhere else in the week. But that’s how I can stay really focused and I keep my lips I’m not super high-tech about this stuff I keep it really low tech. I find that the simpler we make things for ourselves the more likely we are to follow them and it’s just a 3 by 5 part that I keep and I have my top three or four things that I’m working on that quarter, that month, you know whatever it is so that I know, keep your eye on the ball kid, keep your eye on the ball, keep your eye on the ball. That comes at you well that looks really good I’d love to know more about this and the other thing, I don’t need to know it. I need to surround myself with people who know those things so that I can do the thing that only I can do.
Steve: Oh that is so good. That’s such a great place for us to stop and take a little break here. In fact you talked about Jessica and I talking last week. Jessica had a phrase; I think we should write a book called ‘Stop Doing What You Suck At”. I think that’s really important.
Steve: It’s that we really need to really focus on doing that one thing that we are uniquely brilliant at. So we’re gonna take a little break and were gonna come back and Debbie is gonna give us a couple of tips, things that we can do this week, today, before the end of the year that can help us take our business to the next level. We’ll be right back.
It’s that we really need to really focus on doing that one thing that we are uniquely brilliant at. So we’re gonna take a little break and were gonna come back and Debbie is gonna give us a couple of tips, things that we can do this week, today, before the end of the year that can help us take our business to the next level. We’ll be right back.
Before we jump into a couple of tips here Debbie, could you tell us about anything that you’ve got going on special online or in your business that people could check out?
Debbie: Thank you so much Steve, you know the big thing that I really need help with cause this is my ask, I’m flexing my ask muscles these days. If I am finishing my book at the end of the year here called “For The Love of Money” and I am looking to connect with Entrepreneurs and Business Owners, doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business, complete a short survey for me and give me some feedback cause I want to take the last few weeks at the end of the year and make sure that what I out inside the content is addressing contemporary entrepreneur 50:13 around cash flow, pricing, profitability, money in the business. So if you’d like to participate in that you can send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org and just in the subject line put ‘survey’ and we’ll be sending a survey out this week and everyone who replies to that survey; you can do it anonymously or you can put your name on it and if you do put your name on it you will get an advanced copy of the book for review prior to it coming out in February. So email@example.com, do the survey, super easy, takes you less than 3 or 4 minutes I think and it will really help me make sure that what I poured my heart and soul onto this year is addressing what Entrepreneurs need today in business.
Steve: That’s pretty exciting I hope a bunch of you will jump on that and do surveys for Debbie, that’s exciting. So Debbie we just have a couple of minutes left here we’ve talked about so many great things for having a plan for our next year can you give us a couple of things that we can do right now? What would be the number one thing somebody could do today, this week or at the very least definitely by the end of the year to really start planning for next year?
Debbie: The first thing I would have you do is an analysis of 2014. Brutal and beautiful as it may be, I want you to do an analysis of 2014 and I want you to break that down revenue-wise, did you hit your goal, really take a look at what was happening with the money. Where were the peaks and valleys? I would start there and then the second thing inside of that is what were the greatest sources of revenue for you? Where did the most money come from in your business since 2015 or 2014 and then as you sit looking into 2015, taking a look at how that would project out going forward. You know 75% of your business comes from one revenue source. My question for you would be are you continuing down that path and is it still going to be able to beat out 75 % and if so how can you get those people who are participating with you at that level, perhaps to purchase additional products or services for you? What do you already have in place your arsenal? But I would start with that, the revenue piece do a little bit of your rear view mirror and then look into the windshield. I want you to break it down on a monthly basis and it does not have to be equally chopped. Only to you does that matter in terms of how that money comes in because we can plan for it and eliminate the peaks and valleys.
The other thing that I want you to do is prioritize what’s important to you this year in your life; not just in your business but in your life, you know if your business is one aspect of you what are you also doing to take care of you emotionally, spiritually, and physically? Here’s what I know, in order to be the best entrepreneurs we are we have to be in the best physical, emotional and spiritual and mental health of our lives. If there’s an aspect of you that is weak in one area, it’s gonna impact your business So take a look at in your plan how are you gonna care and feed for that piece of you; because look here’s the thing as Entrepreneurs, we’re all we got and if I don’t take good care of my vessel and I don t stay on my game in all those aspects my business as an entity cannot grow and fulfill its purpose if I don’t take care of me; the leader of the company. So I want to make sure that you’re breaking down also the personal aspects of you and understand that all that drives through and into your business, that’s where I would start. From there it’s just a little bit of massaging, a little bit of massaging, playing with ideas and then running it through the filter that my mentor gave to me which was ‘All beautiful things take the three”. If you didn’t accomplish these three things this year you would die, if that didn’t happen. Everything else filters to the bottom and is not a priority in the way that you make your decisions going forward.
Steve: That’s great. Yea so, great big vision and then write it all down and then take some time with it and break it down into what are the three big things that you would die if you don’t get done this year. It’s kind of an intense way of doing it but I think it’s a good way of looking at it cause there’s a lot of stuff but you know, what is really important and what is just ‘well I really want that one too, so.
Debbie: And then the final thing is now go share it with somebody, don’t keep this stuff a secret, you can’t do this alone.
Steve: Go share it with somebody. So you can post on Debbie’s Facebook page, you can post on our Facebook page which is facebook.com/thrivebizdev. We would be excited to share in your plan and the exciting success that you have this year. We look forward to seeing how this next year turns out for you and being in this process as you plan. Well Debbie, I’ve had such a great time. As always I get down towards the end here and I wish that we had about 3 or 4 more hours but we have reached the end our episode today. Thank you so much for being on the show with us today.
Debbie: Thank you Steve, it was my pleasure, glad to be here.
Steve: Well everybody I hope that you have a wonderful week. Do some planning this week and we will meet you next time on Thriving Entrepreneur.