I love a plan.
And for years I have hung my hat on the idea that our business success depends on our ability to set a strategic goal and then create a plan to get there.
But what about when plans change? What about when the world changes? What about when your best laid plans seem to fly right out the window?? What then?
Guess what? You need a plan.
You need a plan for your business that is flexible enough to allow for pivots, while keeping you on the path to your purpose and revenue goals.
You need a Nimble Plan.
The nimble planning system is an extension of the planning system I’ve been using for YEARS in my own business and with the hundreds of business owners I’ve worked with.
Nimble Planning means you don’t have to throw everything out the window and fly blind if something changes in your business or your life. Having a nimble plan means you can take a vacation, plan maternity leave, adjust if you need to switch to homeschooling your children, or pivot your offers if the economy changes.
The Nimble Planning Systems is about identifying 6 components of planning that range from foundational to highly adaptable. This planning process lets you stay rooted in what is fundamental in your business and be agile enough to pivot as the economy, your energy and clients demands change.
The foundational piece—your business’s Purpose—serves as a compass, a guiding light, always pointing to your true north no matter the course you take. Then we move through Impact, Priorities, Milestones and Momentum, each one getting slightly more adaptable based on other factors. All the way to your Intentional Daily Tasks that you can set based on your schedule, your family demands and even your mood.
Let’s look at each piece of the Nimble Planning System a little more closely.
Your business’s purpose is rooted in your values as a person and the big picture you want for your business and those you serve. Your purpose answers the question “Why are we here?” Your Purpose is the foundation of your business and it rarely changes. Your purpose is the compass that keeps you moving forward, even if your path changes.
My purpose is to help make entrepreneurship easier and support woman-owned businesses as they scale.
Impact is your vision for the future, maybe the next year to 18 months. This is the tangible change you want to see in the world in that time. Your impact answers the question, “Where do we want to go?” There are different ways to reach this impact, but the impact doesn’t change.
Perhaps the Impact you want to make this year is to empower female real estate agents to sell more effectively. You might do this through a one-on-one mentoring program with new agents, or you might do this by speaking at conferences on the topic. Different ways, same impact. (But your impact might update each year or when you achieve the impact you want to make.)
Also, annual revenue goals are part of your Impact Planning. How much money do you want to bring in? How much will you pay yourself? How much will you reinvest in your business and your community? All of these can be achieved in different ways, but the impact and the money you want to make, stays constant.
Goals answer the question, “How are we going to make the impact?” These line up with your quarterly priorities. Each 90 days you ask yourself, “What is my priority, this quarter, to make the impact I want to make this year?”
Quarterly goals might shift or morph based on big picture things. Maybe one quarter you want to be able to take time off or you need to focus on caring for a family member. You can adjust your goals to fit those needs, while still driving towards your impact.
Maybe you focus on selling a DIY product during times when your children need more support with school and focus on a one-on-one offer at a point in the year when your clients need more focused support.
“What are we going to do this month to reach our goal?” is the question behind the Project step. Each month you are creating steps, or milestones you’ll work towards on the path to completing your goal. Your monthly milestones can be flexible based on what is going on in the world, in your business or at home. What you chose for a monthly project in December, when you are juggling holidays, weather, and distracted clients, might look a lot different than a milestone you choose for March.
Your sprints help you build momentum on a consistent basis, but what you’re actually doing each sprint is highly adaptable. These are the focused actions you take to move your business forward, but they are extremely flexible. Sprints answer the question, “Where will we focus for the next 7–14 days?” Have a busy couple of weeks coming up or know you’ll be distracted by personal or external events? You can set small actions for your focus for this period. Know you have additional work time? Set up to get more done.
Tasks are your daily intention—the things that go on your to-do list. They are your top priorities each day, but they are flexible based on your schedule, your energy and factors around you, as long as you intentionally choose them. You may intentionally choose to have less tasks to do the day after a big presentation, or you might front load tasks early in the week if you are known for losing steam as the week goes on. OR if you wake up one morning with a migraine, you can intentionally reschedule tasks to another day, knowing you are still building momentum in your sprint and working up the Nimble Planning ladder.
The flexibility in the Nimble Planning System is designed to let you move up or down your path and adjust as needed, without having to scrap your entire plan (or your entire business) when things change.
For example, you may have set your impact to be “Support female business owners in putting their health at the same priority as their business.” Your goal might have been to host in person wellness retreats at a ranch in Montana, but then a global pandemic hits, so you decide to offer virtual wellness retreats and deliver boxed wellness supplies to participants. Your goal changed, but the impact you want to make in the world didn’t.
Or maybe your goal is to sign 20 people up for your new DIY branding course. Your project for next month was to run FB ads to a freebie, but then you were offered a chance to speak at a conference for new business owners, and you decide to pivot away from FB ads and focus on your speaking engagement instead. You can achieve the same quarterly goal, but your monthly project might be different.
Or last, maybe your baby keeps you up all night and you intentionally decide to move writing your blog to tomorrow so you can take a nap. You are still making momentum, the blog will still get done, which is part of your goal of reaching a larger audience with your message, but it will get done tomorrow, guilt free, while you rest today.
So take some time to create a Nimble Plan for your business. You’ll feel so much more in control of next year and be confident to adapt your plans for whatever 2021 throws at us!