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What is your planning phase like?

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ZeroTo100

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Hey Fastlaners,

So, I wanted to bring this topic up because I’ve always had mixed emotions on business plans and planning in general.

Whether you’re building a content site, an e-commerce site, a service or an offline business, I’m interested in how you plan.

I’m currently writing up a business plan for an offline business. I’m working off a template but to be honest, never thought I’d ever write or need one. I feel like offline businesses need them. (Although, never wrote one on my past business).

I’ve been reading about some content sites that sold in the 7 figure range and It really made me wonder how prepared they were, what their plan was like prior to success, if they executed on it, or if their site sort of evolved.

Thoughts?
 

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MaxKhalus

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Hey Fastlaners,

So, I wanted to bring this topic up because I’ve always had mixed emotions on business plans and planning in general.

Whether you’re building a content site, an e-commerce site, a service or an offline business, I’m interested in how you plan.

I’m currently writing up a business plan for an offline business. I’m working off a template but to be honest, never thought I’d ever write or need one. I feel like offline businesses need them. (Although, never wrote one on my past business).

I’ve been reading about some content sites that sold in the 7 figure range and It really made me wonder how prepared they were, what their plan was like prior to success, if they executed on it, or if their site sort of evolved.

Thoughts?
You probably do not expect answer. Anyway, this is how do I plan:
We are fastlaners, which usually means that we make money working for us. That is being 'selfish' with our time, because it is far more valuable that money. So an entrepeneur has two main power sources: money and time. And time is always more important, which means that you should always pay as much money as you can to save time.
Because of this, unless you enter or create some bussiness team of a large company, you should pay for someone to do all the research for you, while focusing solely on executing.
 

whiz

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  1. Who am I going to help
  2. How am I going to help them
  3. How will it benefit them
  4. How am I going to make $ from it

That's the simplified version...

Then you just take a magnifying glass and zoom in on every step and keep scribbling away on a yellow legal pad until shit starts to make sense.

Then you step back and ask yourself if you're delusional or not.

If delusional, just move to the next page and make a new plan.

If it might work, try it. Then fail or succeed.

If fail, good. Take yellow pad and get back to work.

If succeed, good. Take yellow pad and get back to work.
 

Primeperiwinkle

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I loathe business plans. I’m sure they’re important for lots of things but they cripple me emotionally. I’m on my third service based company. My first one, which was three years old and making the bills, failed within two months of writing a business plan.

Now I just use a combination of the time metric outlined in 7 Habits of Highly Successful People and the constant accountability from a teeny tiny mastermind group. Every. single. week we get asked the same questions. Since we started doing this in September I’ve doubled my monthly income. I’ve realized that weekly goals are perfect for my brain but anything bigger and I tend to freak out. These are the questions.

Questions: what forward progress has been made this week? Is your growth stagnating? Bottlenecking? If so, where? What area will you be prioritizing in the week ahead? What specific step will you be taking, and towards what goal? Can you foresee anything that could stop you from accomplishing the above? How are you going to plan for that?

HTH
 

MaxKhalus

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I loathe business plans. I’m sure they’re important for lots of things but they cripple me emotionally. I’m on my third service based company. My first one, which was three years old and making the bills, failed within two months of writing a business plan.

Now I just use a combination of the time metric outlined in 7 Habits of Highly Successful People and the constant accountability from a teeny tiny mastermind group. Every. single. week we get asked the same questions. Since we started doing this in September I’ve doubled my monthly income. I’ve realized that weekly goals are perfect for my brain but anything bigger and I tend to freak out. These are the questions.

Questions: what forward progress has been made this week? Is your growth stagnating? Bottlenecking? If so, where? What area will you be prioritizing in the week ahead? What specific step will you be taking, and towards what goal? Can you foresee anything that could stop you from accomplishing the above? How are you going to plan for that?

HTH
Oh, I forget to mention WeekDone, perfect for making any plans and setting up team objetives
 

Napoolion

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For websites and web apps I now go for Adobe xD to test the logic. Then I start building and throw in hotjar to see how visitor is engaging it and then modify it more.

This is the first one I am building like this, but it seems like it is a good way.

Good question though, because there is an opportunity for me to to apply for an incubator (prolly best thing about it might be access to some contacts), but that requires paperwork too, which for me right now the line is very blurry if it is worth it to waste time on it.

Love to see other guys opinions as well.
 
OP
OP
ZeroTo100

ZeroTo100

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  1. Who am I going to help
  2. How am I going to help them
  3. How will it benefit them
  4. How am I going to make $ from it
That's the simplified version...

Then you just take a magnifying glass and zoom in on every step and keep scribbling away on a yellow legal pad until sh*t starts to make sense.

Then you step back and ask yourself if you're delusional or not.

If delusional, just move to the next page and make a new plan.

If it might work, try it. Then fail or succeed.

If fail, good. Take yellow pad and get back to work.

If succeed, good. Take yellow pad and get back to work.
Thanks for your feedback.

This answer is pretty close to how I get started and what my planning phase looks like.

I actually start with getting all the ideas down on paper. I write up a list of questions...

As I’m currently working on a business plan with a partner, we got out everything on paper. First off we like the concept. We know this business is being done in another state and we know it would work in our area. We know they have sold thousands at $300+ the last two years and we think the business should be brought to our state and eventually franchised on. We know they have sh!t up sells and their system and design could be improved. This is a massive opportunity for us. It’s one where we would eventually be able to step away (run on its own) from fairly quickly and doesn’t require a ton of startup capital...Not to mention the margins are insane.

Coming from the event space, this idea is definitely suitable for us but we don’t want to go in blindly. We are doing some research on equipment, planning ideas, etc.

Anyway...We start with getting our questions and ideas down on paper. Some of the questions involve my ideas for the business. I also like to do some research on who my competitors are, their weak points, and how I can capitalize on what they are or aren’t doing. This is important because if the business did not have competitors, it probably wouldn’t be such a great business idea. I also write a bunch of stuff down on the operational side and business model - how the company will continue to execute and how it will make money. I put myself in the shoes of that owner...how would I be able to improve their business if they hired me as a consultant. I include branding, I even try to lay out a small site map on paper.

I really try to get it all down on paper. Than I start getting into each item and put together a main plan which I would then use to execute on.

If I was doing something like a content site, i would probably do the same but once I got past site design, layout, topics, etc...I’d be obsessed with reading other people’s content in the niche and taking similar ideas, hot articles, hot items and trends and putting out better articles and guides than what’s out there. I’d follow the trends and continue to come up with new ideas for articles even after the launch. I’d probably hire someone for the things I don’t want to do or are too time consuming...things like building a major outreach list, some content, etc.

It definitely creates a good discussion. I’ve always been super organized and I think prep work definitely separates those who succeed and fail. I think it plays a big factor, at least with getting started and moving forward.
 
OP
OP
ZeroTo100

ZeroTo100

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For websites and web apps I now go for Adobe xD to test the logic. Then I start building and throw in hotjar to see how visitor is engaging it and then modify it more.

This is the first one I am building like this, but it seems like it is a good way.

Good question though, because there is an opportunity for me to to apply for an incubator (prolly best thing about it might be access to some contacts), but that requires paperwork too, which for me right now the line is very blurry if it is worth it to waste time on it.

Love to see other guys opinions as well.
Do it! I wish I would have went that route when I was younger when I did my startup. Contacts, you’ll learn a lot, and you may even be able to raise a seed round. You may even find your next business partner.

Business life is a long life - you have a lot of time to go at it again and again if you fail or if you want to move on to something different.
 

RazorCut

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I only ever made one business plan and that was to raise money from the bank. Usually a business plan is just a load of horse shit aimed at impressing people with the aim of extracting money from them. Once it has achieved its aim it gets buried in a filing cabinet never to see the light of day.

I'm not really into mission statements and all that corporate carp either.

Most of us know exactly what our business is and what we want it to become, and that is firmly fixed in our minds but it can't hurt to get it down on paper.

For medium and long term planning I like to use XMind which I use for brainstorming and idea development.

Once I'm satisfied that the idea is worth moving forward on I'll implement it by building a roadmap in Asana so I can project manage it at a granular level. That way it then gets integrated in with my general day to day tasks which are the short term goals (but once might have been medium and long term).

This way everything is in one place so it is easy to see exactly where you are and what needs working on.
 
OP
OP
ZeroTo100

ZeroTo100

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Feb 2, 2016
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I only ever made one business plan and that was to raise money from the bank. Usually a business plan is just a load of horse sh*t aimed at impressing people with the aim of extracting money from them. Once it has achieved its aim it gets buried in a filing cabinet never to see the light of day.

I'm not really into mission statements and all that corporate carp either.

Most of us know exactly what our business is and what we want it to become, and that is firmly fixed in our minds but it can't hurt to get it down on paper.

For medium and long term planning I like to use XMind which I use for brainstorming and idea development.

Once I'm satisfied that the idea is worth moving forward on I'll implement it by building a roadmap in Asana so I can project manage it at a granular level. That way it then gets integrated in with my general day to day tasks which are the short term goals (but once might have been medium and long term).

This way everything is in one place so it is easy to see exactly where you are and what needs working on.
Awesome! Thanks for the tools. I’m definitely going to look into some of these.
 

lowtek

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I don't do much in the way of "planning" per se. I chunk a problem up into smaller problems, and then attack them in some reasonable order. As I go along, I uncover more problems to solve, and add them to the list.
 

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Thomas Baptiste

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I haven't exactly used a business plan to plan any serious venture. For me business has usually been impormptu. Generally I use quick math to plan. When I encounter issues in planning, (as soon as they come up), I do things the old fashioned way. I take a pen and paper and create a list of logical solutions. Also Google has been helpful to generally accepted solutions and recommendations for simple issues. This applies to all kinds of planning involving money btw.
 
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