With a few days left in 2010 it’s a good time to make sure you have a solid plan for 2011. Most people don’t plan at all so anything will put you ahead of the pack. One of the most challenging parts of running a business is setting goals and exceeding them. If you aren’t planning and setting goals then you’re really just working for yourself rather than running a business.
When I started Domaining in 2007 I did no planning at all. I just jumped-in head first, it was a great adventure and I learned by experimenting. Since the revenue was initially small I thought planning didn’t matter as much…however as my traffic and revenue grew I quickly learned that if I didn’t have a plan things easily became overwhelming. When you get overwhelmed you tend to do a mediocre job on a large quantity of things, by creating a plan you can gain focus and make progress.
One of the keys to making a plan is setting realistic and measurable goals. By setting measurable goals by month or by quarter you can easily check-in along the way and make sure you’re staying on course. Without measurable goals it could get to December of next year and you might be scratching your head wondering where the year went!
To help you get started I’ll walk you through some of main things you should be thinking about when putting-together your plan. Tomorrow I will share a simple spreadsheet that you can use to formalize your plan. Before you formalize anything I want to get you thinking so take a look at the five things I think about when planning every year.
- How will your business make money? You can make money selling domains or monetizing domain names but you don’t make money buying domains. Make sure you have a clear plan for how your business will make money. If you can break-down 2011 into quarters and come-up with what % of your revenue will come from each source.
- How much money do you need to spend on your business? Get it all out at the beginning of the year. Need a new laptop? Is buying three $5,000 domains part of your plan? Making money is important but understanding how much money you plan to spend is equally important. Go month-by-month and calculate your expenses, if your revenue plan doesn’t cover your expenses you don’t have a winning business model – back to the drawing board!
- What are the top three strategic goals you want to accomplish in 2011? Every year you should come-up with three high-level strategic goals you want to achieve. Make sure these are measurable so you can give a definitive “yes” or “no” at the end of the year for each. You should look at these goals at least once a month and make sure you’re tracking towards your strategic vision. (Example: Sell ten domains for $2,000 or more.)
- What is the biggest risk to your success? Planning for success means seeing potential pitfalls or points of failure you could hit. By understanding where you could go wrong you can hopefully steer clear of missing your goals.
- How much money will you make? In the first step you identified how your business will make money, now it’s time to come-up with clear goals for how much money you want to make. Be realistic, if you’ve never made $10,000 in a single month don’t throw that in January or February. Set these goals monthly and once a month see how you performed against your goals, if you missed them, go back and adjust your goals for the rest of the year. It’s important to stay realistic…and if you’re not hitting your goals you can know early and change course.
Come back tomorrow (Thursday) for my spreadsheet template you can start turning your ideas into a solid plan. I think 2011 is going to be an amazing year, in fact, it’s I’m planning on it – are you?