Do you strategize in every area of your business? Only some areas? (or should I even ask - any??)

Many virtual professionals I know have gone through that phase where they just put one foot in front of the other and hope that things go well.

The problem with that is that if you don't have a plan in place, you can experience a lot of issues:

  • you can go off track
  • worse, you can go nowhere
  • you can't measure your successes

In order to know whether things are going the best way possible in your business it's important to determine where you want to go, how you want to get there, how you are GOING to get there, and how things look when you arrive. That's called strategic planning, and every business owner should practice it.

It's not as difficult as you might think. Whether you are tackling your client intake process, your marketing calendar, your revenue planning, or your newsletter, you need to go through these four steps to make sure that your process makes sense and that it will work for you.

Determine where you want to go

Sit back regularly and look at your business. Break things into chunks if it's easier for you, for instance - if you decide that you want to communicate more regularly with your audience, think about increasing the frequency of your newsletter. If you do it quarterly, plan for monthly. If you do it monthly, plan for twice a mont h. If you can, try to figure out if you can produce it weekly. Don't just make a decision, really look at your calendar to be sure that what you are deciding to do fits with your schedule (because once you commit to it you will want to be sure to be able to produce it easily).

Determine how you want to get there

Knowing how you are going to do something can take a lot of the anxiety out of it. Making a decision is one thing, but staying with it will be a result of planning and strategy. If we remain with the same example, how are you physically going to prepare your newsletter more often? Do you have to make it larger, smaller, do you have to get research done regularly or do you have content that you can schedule into an editorial calendar? All of these pieces will go into your strategy - write it down and you will be able to see, on paper, if it's manageable ... and if you need help to get it done!

Determine how you are going t o get there

Do you need to regularly schedule writing sessions in order to create new content? Do you need to get help to get research done? This is the part where you lay it all out and look at it. Get your schedule together as well. If you can do an editorial calendar that tells you what you will need to write and when, it can really help you to develop the content you want. You want to be sure to deliver good quality content to your audience, and a little planning in the 'how' really goes a long way.

How do things look now that you have arrived?

Analyzing things once they have changed is a really important step in your strategy - it helps you to see whether you need to adjust things, or whether they are working the way you want them to work. Staying with the same example of the increased frequency of the newsletter, how does that look? Are you more prepared with good quality content? Are you getting more clients? What is the impact of the change been on your business, and how does it look in terms of how your plan started out? Do you need to revise, revisit or make adjustments?

Planning and strategy are big parts of building a successful business. Once you realize that these four steps can be applied in virtually any area of your business, be sure to do them ... and see the results for yourself!

Author's Bio: 

Tracey D'Aviero is a successful Virtual Assistant as well as a VA coach and mentor. She helps new and aspiring Virtual Assistants build solid foundations for their businesses by teaching them how to put procedures and plans in place for success and growth. Pick up a copy of Tracey's free ebook "How to Get Started as a Virtual Assistant" at http://www.yourvamentor.com.