One of the worst things you can do to yourself as an entrepreneur is to proceed without a proper plan in place. Many people wrongly assume that as an entrepreneur, you can just sort of do whatever you feel like doing, flying by the seat of your pants.
If you choose to do that, what will inevitably happen is you get off track from where you want to end up, and eventually spiral out of control and end up dissatisfied with how your business has turned out.
Planning has many different levels that you should be familiar with. First, there are long term goals – things that you only expect to achieve after years of putting in the work. This could be anything from owning your own location and office to owning a house of a certain size using the profits made from your business.
These goals are important because they give you something to work towards, which at least gives you a destination. Next, there are short term goals, which you could hope to achieve in a few weeks or with a few months of work.
This might be something like receiving your first paycheck from your own business, or making your first big sale. These goals are also important, because if you’re only working toward far off, long term goals, then you’ll feel stuck after awhile of not reaching them.
Closer, more easily attainable goals can help you feel as though you’re making good progress. Finally, you should have milestones that you can reach, leading you toward your long term goals.
These milestones help you keep track of progress, and can range from the number of clients you’re working with to a certain salary that you’re making. These can be good indicators of when you’re moving in the right direction.
As long as you’re continuing to achieve your milestones, you’re getting closer to those long term goals. Having strategic plans doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have every moment of every day scheduled.
Many people can get overwhelmed when they have to map out every little thing that they’re going to do, and if something goes wrong, they’re going to have their whole schedule thrown off.
By having a slightly more general plan, while still having it be well structured, you can remain flexible in the face of adversity, while keeping yourself on track as the weeks go by. Don’t hesitate to really plan out your entire pathway to your long term goals and check in on them as time progresses.