Focus to Plan Your Business Future

We have many people who email us for help with their business direction and focus. We sometimes do the same. It’s good to have someone who you can write to and ask questions, get answers or bounce ideas around together.

We’ve noticed from mentoring requests that most people have one common problem: They don’t know where they’re going with their business. They have a business and they’re trying various strategies, but what next? What’s it all for?

They feel very scattered without real focus.

There are a few points to consider that help set down the milestones on a straight line to the ultimate goal:

Know What You Want

It’s intriguing that many people don’t know what they really want. They have an idea of what they’d like right now, but they don’t know what they want from life. They’re floating in a vacuum.

Sit down and think about what you’d like your life to be like in five years, ten years or even more. Know intimately and specifically what you want to have and who you want to be at that point.

Know Where You Are Now

Take a look at where you are today. Before you head off to where you’re going, you need to know where you are right now.

What do you love doing? What do you hate? How are your financials and family balance? How much free time do you have, and is that satisfactory? What’s your daily routine like – anything you’d want to change? What’s working for you right now? What isn’t?

Know Where You Want to Go

To know what you need to do now, you have to know where you want to go. The future is a destination. You will reach it, so what’s it going to be like when you get there?

I’m not one to say that the fun is in the journey – I believe that the journey is just a means to the end. There is where I really want to be, not driving along in the hopes of getting there.

Know What You Want to Do

When you look at that portrait of you in the future, what are you doing? Where are you? What’s your daily routine?

Are you dressed in a suit in an office somewhere, managing all your entrepreneurial ventures? Are you sitting in a log cabin in the woods that you bought with your own money, removed from the world while you create art? Are you on the beach sipping margaritas while your businesses work for you?

Know What You’ll Need

When you look at your future, can you determine what sort of income you’ll need to maintain that lifestyle? How much will it cost? How much will you need to bring in?

Think realistically, too. We all want to be millionaires, no doubt. Some of us will make it (hopefully). A more realistic vision of financial future is a safer bet. Shoot for the moon, but try to keep your feet grounded on earth, too.

Know How to Get There

When you know where you are, where you’re going, why you’re going there and what you’ll need to reach that point, you can start looking at how to get there with the least amount of effort and with a solid plan.

Focus your attention on the steps that bring you towards your business vision. If they don’t advance your journey, ignore them. Try not to get distracted by fads and crazes that soak up your time.

It’s not about right here, right now – it’s about what’s right for you.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. Damned right.

    If you don’t know exactly what you’re after long term, you’re going to go in directions that “seem” right but really aren’t.

    If you don’t make a target, don’t expect to hit it. :-)

    Dave Navarros last blog post..Why It’s So Damned Hard To Stop Procrastinating

  2. Graham Strong says:

    I’ve always said it: the business side is the hardest part of succeeding for most writers. It is no wonder you have so many people asking you for business help.

    Great basic breakdown of the process though. I’m just in the middle of re-evaluating everything myself, so these points will certainly come in handy!

    ~Graham

  3. Avid Writer says:

    This a nice guide to setting realistic long term goals. I skipped some of these steps you’ve mentioned and it’s come back to bite me big time.

  4. Good advice for life, not just business strategy! I’m tempted to disagree on the ‘not about the journey‘ thing. I always think it’s pointless going hell for leather to get somewhere if you’re going to be miserable along the way.

    There’s a balance to be struck for sure, but you’ll get to the end much easier by making the journey fun and simple, plus once you get there it’s not a case of staying still for the rest of your life – there’ll be another journey to go on which has to be just as rich and rewarding as the one you’ve just been on.

  5. Thanks for reminding me. I know that planning is essential and many people had offered advice. However this post of yours got it in detail which I would want to read and remember so that I keep my focus on what I want.

    Gems last blog post..Make Trusted Internet True by with a Free PC Firewall

  6. I agree that focus is important. You have to know where you’re going.

    I have to agree with Steve, too.

    You know, my son once asked an Amish man why he drove a buggy. He told the man we drive a car and get there lots faster than he does. The Amish man told him, “Yes, but you miss everything along the way.”

    Just something to think about.

    Jamies last blog post..The Dash

  7. @ Steve/Jamie – Actually, I didn’t say to not admire the journey. It’s important to enjoy how you get to where you’re going. But a journey with no destination is just wandering – and that’s where business planning goes all wrong.

    Walk the path – but go somewhere with it.

  8. I agree that too many people lack the vision for life. This is no good for people with employment, too, but it’s catastrophic for entrepreneurs. They start business with “ideas” without the vision!

    I think the biggest problem is they are way too caught up with the issues at hand. Our mind can find any number of issues around us to keep us busy. We need to put this busy mind at rest for a few moments and get centered to have the real vision.

    What do you want to achieve in life?
    And how does your business fit into this big picture?
    From there, what do you see you need to do in five years?

    Akemi “spiritual entrepreneur” @ Yes to Mes last blog post..Inside Out Approach To Entrepreneurship, Part 2, Polish Your Niche

  9. Michael Martine - Remarkablogger says:

    Having a plan with a destination in mind is the biggest difference between me right now and me two months ago. You can absolutely see the difference in my blogging and how I’m running my business. I can’t even begin to describe how different my life is now. I’m not exaggerating and I’m not kidding. Jame is right on with this stuff.

    This is the difference between being an entrepreneur and just being an opportunity-chaser.

  10. Urban Panther says:

    OMG, that’s it, I’ve been spending too much time with MwP. I’m actually psychically picking up your posts before I read them. The Urbane Lion and I just went through this entire exercise this morning. We covered all your points, but we need to go into some more detail.

    Urban Panthers last blog post..Introducing the Lion Family

  11. @ Urban – Maybe I’m pre-programming your brain by sending subliminal testing to see whether my posts are going to be effective. It works!

  12. John Hoff - eVentureBiz says:

    Excellent post James. I like what you said about keeping an eye out for fads and crazes. It’s ok to get caught up in them a little, but we should never lose our real focus. Many times those fads are great areas to generate revenue as well (for awhile).

    On another note, I was on Problogger the other day and was reading a post I believe Darren wrote but then linked over to another blogger as if this information came from him. I was curious and clicked over and the latest blog article this guy had was:

    “Business Plans Are Bullshit” – and this is a blog about starting a business!

    I don’t know where this guy is coming from but where I come from, starting a business is best founded on a great foundation and investigation and planning. True you might not have all the stats up front and budgeting costs, that comes later. He actually suggested a proper business plan should be nothing more than some scribble notes on the back of an envelop.

    If you’re curious, let me know and I’ll email you the link. Personally, I don’t buy that logic.

    John Hoff – eVentureBizs last blog post..Blogging For Money: What’s The Best Way To Make A Profit?

  13. This is a simple formula, much like “eat less, exercise more”; I wonder why so many don’t actually do it, no matter how many times it can be repeated? Perhaps it’s because step 2 is so damn tricky?
    .-= wrightee´s last blog ..OmniWriter for those creative writing moments =-.

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