You often hear people talking about “you need a plan” but what does that mean? A plan? For what?

Here’s the thing: the bottom line of every business is – simply put – to stay in business; to make enough money to pay the bills and to make enough profit to make it worthwhile. But the purpose of every business is to create a happy following – customers who become clients and clients who become never-ending sources of high quality repeat and referral business, in other words a “happiness” plan.

Planning is the instruction manual for your business – you know “when all else fails, read the instructions”. Unfortunately “all else failing” means your business is struggling or on the way out.

What can planning do that marketing can’t? Marketing (the first place everyone heads when they think of growing the business) is what you do once you know what you need to do to keep everyone happy. Put the plan in place – then tell the world you’re ready.

Where do you get started? Close your eyes and daydream about where things will be at the end of next year. Here are my 10 questions to get you started:

1. What will your business look like by the end of next year?
2. What will you be offering to your clients?
3. Who will be working with you?
4. Where will your business (physically) located?
5. Where is your (geographical) market?
6. Where will your new business come from?
7. How much does it cost you to operate?
8. How much money will your business make?
9. How much money will you make personally?
10. What is the goal for your average monthly sales?

What is the greatest challenge you face right now to make this happen?