[031] How to create an outline growth plan for your business in 60 minutes

As an entrepreneurial leader, you’ve probably got a lot of great ideas for your business, and a mental list of opportunities for business improvement that’s as long as your arm. But do you find that the day-to-day challenges get in the way of moving them forward?

Taking a bit of time out to get your thoughts out on paper and create a high-level plan is the first really helpful step to actually making progress towards your growth plans. You can then shape your action plan and find solutions to get round anything that’s stopping you.

My mini playbook, which you can download for free here will take you through 6 simple steps to help you to:

  • Get your thoughts, ideas and aspirations out of your head and onto the page to create your growth vision.
  • Work out what’s helping and hindering you, and what to do about it.
  • Identify the power moves that will make the biggest difference to you achieving your growth goals.

Have fun with it – it’s really enjoyable, time-efficient and effective! You can work through it on your own, or as a team.

Step 1: Thinking about what you want to achieve

Complete this statement as many times as you can for your business. Try to think of at least 10-12 items. Be ambitious, and focus on things that you could influence or achieve with the right strategy.

Estimated time to complete: 10 minutes, if you work quickly and intuitively.

  1. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if….______________________________________________________________
  2. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if….______________________________________________________________
  3. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if….______________________________________________________________
  4. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if….______________________________________________________________
  5. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if….______________________________________________________________
  6. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if….______________________________________________________________
  7. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if….______________________________________________________________
  8. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if….______________________________________________________________
  9. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if….______________________________________________________________
  10. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if….______________________________________________________________
  11. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if….______________________________________________________________
  12. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if….______________________________________________________________
Why this activity?

The ‘Wouldn’t it be fantastic if…’ activity is designed to help you step back from the day-to-day and imagine things being somewhat different and better than they are today. It is a very simple and effective technique that works by stimulating imagination in a positive and approachable way.

You will probably have read or heard that often successful entrepreneurs find a market opportunity by spotting something that doesn’t work very well and then coming up with a solution to make it better.

The Virgin brand, for example, appears to position itself as the consumer champion of underperforming services, from rail through to financial services.

Gary Clegg, an American student, became a successful entrepreneur when he took his product, the “slanket” to market. The slanket is essentially a big fleece blanket with sleeves for wearing on the sofa. He came up with the idea when he kept getting cold by taking his arm out from under his ordinary (sleeveless) blanket in his dorm at college. A blanket with sleeves – problem solved!

Photo: Lightbulb moments! Hotel Stripes, Kuala Lumpur March 2019. Credit Dr. Jo North
Step 2: Your growth goals

Look back at all your statements from Step 1. Identify those statements that are the most important ones for you. Summarise them – you might want to write them as a vision statement that you can keep with you, and share with your team.

Estimated time to complete: 15 minutes.

Photo: Looking skywards at the Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur March 2019. Credit Dr. Jo North

Now you’re into the action planning bit! Work through the following easy steps to create an outline plan for how to get started on achieving your growth goals.

Why this activity?

Research, for example by Gabriele Oettingen, from New York University and the University of Hamburg – shows that people who are successful in achieving their goals both set a specific goal, and then make a plan for how they are going to achieve it.

An important part of making the plan is to do something called ‘mental contrasting’. This means having a clear vision for your goal, and a realistic assessment of the obstacles you’re likely to face on the way and pre-emptive strategies for how you will overcome them. This is because having an inspiring vision without thinking of the obstacles makes us feel too comfortable, and gets in the way of us putting in the work in the way that we need to.

When you make your plan to achieve your goal, breaking it down into no more than 5 smaller plans will also enhance your likelihood of achievement. This is for 2 reasons:
– The overall goal feels more manageable; and
– You have greater visibility of the specific things you need to do.

Step 3: Building momentum

Now it’s time to think about what you have that can help your growth – people, resources, capability, your network for example – and how you can leverage these to build momentum. Make your notes alongside each prompt.

 

Estimated time to complete: 10 minutes.

Step 4: Blockbusting

Brain dump everything that is genuinely getting in the way here, using these prompt. Then for each item, write down a do-able solution that will unblock or reduce it.

 

Estimated time to complete: 10 minutes.

Step 5: Power moves

Go back over your work and identify those things that will make the most significant difference to you achieving your growth goal. Select a maximum of 5. These are your “power moves”!

 

Estimated time to complete: 15 minutes.





Step 6: Get in touch!

I’d love to hear about your business goal and power moves, and would be really pleased to help. Do get in touch with me at jo@ideatime.co.uk, mobile phone 0044 7879 631270

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