Plan your work and work your plan during this time of change

When I was a kid my dad always used to tell me…”you have to make a plan and you have to work your plan.”

Of course I rolled my eyes because I was in high school. Even when I was in college. And still when I got my first job after graduation.

But now, those are words I live by…because winging it and trying to figure it out as you go…just.doesn’t.work.

During times of change, it’s easy to feel sidetracked, distracted and even panicky and fearful.

When you’re a small business owner, whether during times of turbulence and change in the world or pivots and shifts in your family, entrepreneurs always have the “what’s next” questions on their mind.

…What’s going to happen to my business… 

…What do I do with my customers… 

…Do I keep marketing and selling… 

…What do I do when this is all over…

Because your life, your business, your family is all ties together how can you not think of all the “what ifs”? 

As my dad used to say…start with a plan

Yes, in business, planning is key to reaching your business and sales goals. Planning also helps answer all those “what if” questions before you have to act on them.

Add flexibility as a key ingredient…especialy when times are uncertain.

During times of change, you also want to stay the course as much as possible.

Changing everything at once (just like in copywriting) is not the way to see what works. You need to test what works and what doesn’t for your business. Then change things one at a time. See if they work. Change another thing. See if it works.

Creating a solid, yet fluid plan will help you from deviating from your goals and help you communicate clearly so you can help your customers and clients feel safe, secure and supported.

Okay…time to work your plan

Here are some tips to help you create and work your plan.

  1. Review your plan. Even if your current plan is rough, not written out, on a napkin or in your project management app. Be objective. And also get detailed. 

When I wrote SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for my skincare business, I had to write then down to the smallest detail so that whoever was coming into the business, or changing positions, would follow each step easily. 

For example…put on your lab coat, hair net and gloves, open the production studio door, walk through, close the door behind you…

Getting down to the nitty-gritty details helps keep processes and plans moving smoothly and keeps confusion to a minimum.

  1. Change anything that doesn’t “fit“ for the situation.  

This could be your content calendar. Does the content match what is happening for today? 

Your marketing plan. Is it too bold? Do you need to educate more than sell? Do you need to sell more than educate? Are you connecting with your audience on a regular basis or ghosting Them?

How about your ads and outreach. Are ads, posts on social media, blog posts and other communication to your customers and clients relevant for right now?

  1. Keep marketing. This may seem counter-intuitive during uncertain times, but staying connected is one of the best ways to show your customers that you’re not going anywhere.

Your marketing doesn’t have to be about offers and selling products all the time either. Create content that’s supportive to your customers and clients. Write sales emails that offer products to ease their minds and get their products to them hassle-free.

  1. Plan your production. Raw materials supplies and deliveries may be delayed but produce what you can. 

Communicate to your customers that you’ll be shipping product to them. Outline what the timeline looks like and when they can expect deliveries. If leads times are being stretched, let them know that too…no one likes to be left in the dark or have to guess. 

Give them something a little extra to help them feel pampered especially when they’re feeling stressed out and anxious.

  1. Take care of yourself. This one’s a biggie. 

Yes, most plans don’t include taking care of yourself while your growing and hustling in your business.

It’s very easy to burn out when you’re working at a constant on-the-go pace. 

When you create your monthly and weekly work schedule make sure you take care of you. Stop work by 5pm (or earlier) at least 3 days a week. Add in a workout, walks/runs, yoga a few times a week.

When you’re rested and feel balanced you get so much more accomplished in a relaxed and efficient way.

The make-your-plan-and-work-your-plan advise from my dad is timeless

It may look slightly different with each passing decade, but when you get back to basics, when you make a plan that works for your lifestyle…and then your business…you’ll find it’s easier to “work your plan”, enjoy your work along the way and even make more money.