A while back I found myself in an unfamiliar shopping mall and desperately in need of caffeine. You have to understand, I HATE shopping malls at the best of times. Uncaffeinated is definitely not the best of times. And this mall? It was designed by the same people who build those gerbil habitrails. All I knew was that I kept walking in circles and I couldn’t find the Starbucks that I knew was there.
I stomped around getting really frustrated until finally I found a map.
I located the Starbucks, my destination on the map, and then ... ? You know what was missing? That little red X that says “You are here”.
The point of a map is to see where you are – X, where you want to go – Y, and plot a path to get there.
You need to know where you are in order to get where you want to go.
So… the point of this story. We were talking recently about you being in the drivers seat of your business. It’s up to you to decide where you want your business to go. You are picking your Y on the map and deciding on your destination.
Do you know where you are now? Does your map have a red X marks the spot?
It’s time to sit down and put your X on a map. Once you have both current location and destination, then you can plot a course for getting there.
Oh, another name for plotting a course? It’s called a business plan. See, it’s not scary or difficult. A business plan is simply a path to get you to where you have decided you want to be.
Before you get to plotting your course, it’s time to put your red X on the map.
What does your business look like right now? Imagine that someone wanted to buy your business, how would you list it? It’s time to write this down. You need to know exactly where you stand right now.
Be honest with yourself with these questions. No one is reading them.
- Describe your business right now.
- What is your current income?
- How is that income generated?
- How much inventory do you have? Again, be honest here. Look around your studio, in all the nooks and crannies, how much stuff do you have. Inventory is not just work made, it’s all the raw materials that you’ve bought and stuff in corners so that you don’t have to admit paying for it. Inventory is also photographs and marketing materials that you own. It’s display stuff and booth stuff. It is everything that you can use in a business.
- Do you have a website and what state is it in? How about social media, how many fans do you have on your facebook page, pinterest followers? How about your blog? What is the current state of your online store?
When you’re writing this stuff down you need to be honest and look at today. This isn’t about what it will look like in 6 months. If you plan on blogging daily but really have only posted twice in the past 3 months then write down, that you have a barely touched blog with 4 followers.
Now, go and get your handy notebook and trusty pen. Make your red X on your map.