There comes a point in every solopreneur's business where they need to sit down and plan ... and I mean, really plan! Not just write down a few ideas on the back of an envelope and hope for the best, but really map out a long-term strategic plan for their business.

Creating this kind of business plan is so important as, for one reason, it immediately eliminates a lot of the overwhelm and frustration that you're probably feeling, but it also allows you to:

* See where you're going;

* Know how you're going to get there; and

* Lays out exactly what you need to do along the way to get from Point A to Point B

How do you know when you've reached this critical business planning point?

Well, there are a few indicators:

* You have LOTS of ideas swimming around in your head but don't know how to pull them all together (lack of a Big Picture Vision)

* You offer several different programs/products, at different price points, but get very few or no sign-ups (lack of a strategic Marketing Action Plan MAP)

* You get feedback from your clients and/or customers letting you know that they're confused and not sure which program is right for them (lack of a clear Product & Marketing Funnel)

Today I’d like to share with you three basic steps to business planning success so that you can start the year off on the right foot!

Step 1 – Create Your Big Picture Vision

This is the really fun part; it’s where you get to let your imagination run away with you. You want to sit down somewhere quiet with a pad and pen (writing is much better for this exercise as you can let your ideas flow) and start to write! Write about what you want your business to look like, the type of clients you want to serve, the sort of products and programs you want to offer – in fact write down anything and everything that pops into your head about what you want your business and life to look like.

Important: You want to write your Big Picture Vision in the present tense, as if you already have that business and lifestyle you’re writing about. Use terms such as, “I have, I own, I run”.

Remember that every part of your should say “YES” when you read your Big Picture Vision out loud!

Step 2 – Take Inventory

The next part is to take a look at where you are now and where you want to go. What needs to change in order to take you from where you are now to where you want to be? Is it:

* More/less clients

* More/less billable hours

* Offering more programs/products

And then create a timeline for making these changes. Put down dates of when you want the changes to have been made by, and set about implementing!

Step 3 – Plan Your Funnel

Now that you know what you want your business to look like and what you need to do to get there, start and map out your different income streams. The Product & Marketing Funnel is the perfect model for this exercise as it allows you to create different products/programs/services at different price points within your business. This way clients can move from free (your ezine and articles) to your paid info products, and eventually through to your high-end programs.

Follow these three simple steps above and you’ll instantly create a business plan that will guide your business to continued success this year … and beyond!

(c) 2010 Tracey Lawton

Author's Bio: 

Online Business Development Strategist, Tracey Lawton, teaches professional speakers, coaches, and authors how to create the essential online marketing and office organization systems needed to operate an efficient, organized, and profitable business. Learn how YOU can create an efficient and organized office in 7 EASY steps, and receive free how-to articles at