In this episode, we are creating a quarterly plan on a page. (I also have a really juicy resource with this episode, so make sure you grab that!)
Here for the links referenced in the show notes?
Quarterly Plan on a Page free resource: tashcorbin.com/qplan
Heart-Centred Business Planning System: tashcorbin.com/planner
This is one of the most powerful, practical, tangible things that I do for my business. It is a really easy step-by-step process for you to follow, and I’m going to walk you through it in today’s episode.
Let’s dive on in!
The number one job of your business plan is that it gives you clarity and certainty on what you should be doing each day when you work in your business. That’s its job.
When you sit down to work in your business, you know what to do.
Yet for so many people, their business plans remain these large, unwieldy, verbose documents that sit on the shelf and never actually get read. Or it becomes a ginormous to-do list of eleventy-billion different things that aren’t prioritised, aren’t clear or strategic, and leave you feeling like you’ll never overcome the mountain of tasks that are sitting in front of you.
You may even be experiencing BOTH of these things – you’ve got a giant business plan and strategy that you never look at, and then you’ve got a giant list of things to do that you never feel like you’re going to complete.
If that’s the case, then this is going to be a particularly powerful episode for you, because we are going to use a simple short-term-focused process to give you a quarterly business plan on ONE page.
With your plan on a page, you’re going to be able to look at that on any day of the quarter and know exactly what you need to focus on.
This one-page quarterly plan is something that I still use every quarter in my business. I have it in front of me at my desk, and I also pin it in the front of my journal so that it’s there in front of me.
I see it regularly, I see it on the daily, and it keeps me focused on the things that are going to move my business forward.
My plan on a page stops me from getting distracted by busy but less important work.
I’ve also got a template for you to fill in! Download the template for my quarterly plan on a page here: CLICK ME
That freebie also comes with some instructions, but I still wanted to do this podcast episode to walk you through the process so that you know exactly what to do step-by-step…
Step 1: Brain dump
Write down all the tasks, goals, things you want to fix and things you want to change in your business into one giant list.
I like to set a timer for 15 minutes, and without censoring myself, without thinking it through or prioritising it in any way, shape or form, just get it all down.
If you’re carrying those things in your head and you don’t actually get them down on paper, you will continue to carry them around, even if you know that they’re not a priority right now.
We want to make sure everything gets a spot. That way, it clears it out of your brain and you don’t feel like you have to keep carrying these things around.
Set a timer for 15 minutes or so, and just write everything down.
If you had the most perfect, productive and effective quarter of your life, what would be all the:
- Things you’d want to achieve?
- Goals you’d want to set?
- Things you’d want to fix?
- Things you’d want to create?
Put it all down on paper in a single list. The list can be as long as you can create in the time that you’ve set.
Step 2: Categorise
Categorise each item into one of four categories.
I like to do this in colour-coding, but you could do this by putting numbers at the start of each, or doing something else that works for you.
Category 1: Outcomes
All the things that are like goals – things that you don’t have direct control over.
It’s not something you’re producing or creating, it’s something that you’re receiving or achieving.
Some examples of outcomes are:
- Your income goal
- Growing your list by 1,000 people
- Having five new people sign up as VIPs
- Having ten more leads for your VIP package
You don’t have direct control over these outcomes. You can influence them with your actions (your outputs), but ultimately, it’s an outcome.
It’s something that you receive or achieve.
I want you to categorise all of those as outcomes.
Category 2: Outputs
All the things you’re going to create and all the things you’re going to do.
Some examples of outputs are:
- Running a webinar
- Setting up a new lead magnet
- Posting on social media every day
- Hiring a new team member
- Writing a book
- Finishing a chapter
- Delivering four live calls for your course clients
- Creating a new onboarding process for VIPs
All the things you want to do.
The tasks and the things you want to create are all outputs.
Anything that you want to create, anything that you want to do, anything that you have direct control over.
Regardless of whether it’s you or your team doing it, what are the outputs that you want to generate in this quarter?
Category 3: Inputs
These are the thing you put into your business.
Some examples of inputs are:
- Working less than 20 hours a week
- Hiring a new member to work 20 hours a week
- Keeping your expenses under $5,000 a month
- Spending an extra $1,000 a month on Facebook ads
It’s usually money, time and energy, or a team member’s time and energy.
You might also decide that one of the most important things for you in inputs is that you are having boundaries around working less than four hours a day, or you don’t want to work on weekends. If you’re creating some extra boundaries around the inputs or what you give to your business, then I would categorise those as inputs.
Category 4: Lifestyle
These are the things that contribute to your lifestyle, or are important lifestyle outcomes and goals.
Some examples of lifestyle are:
- Going for a walk every day
- Taking a meditation class
- Working with a new kinesiologist
- Having a green smoothie every day
The lifestyle category is for your lifestyle-oriented goals. That being said, they could also contribute to the way that you show up in your business.
It’s totally up to you how you set the rules around these categories.
When you categorise those four things as outputs, outcomes, inputs and lifestyle, what do you notice about the balance of how you’ve categorised them?
What a lot of people see is that when they write down all the things they want to achieve or fix in their business, they’re mostly focused on outputs – all the things they want to do.
It’s all very action-orientated.
They haven’t even thought about inputs – the time that they put IN, or they haven’t even thought about their lifestyle or what extent of their time and energy they’re willing to give to their business.
It’s a great way to pay attention to the way that you automatically think about your business, and make a decision about whether you want to continue doing it that way, or if you want to make some changes.
Something that I like to do after I’ve done that big brain dump, is simply look at: Do I have a balance between outcomes, outputs, inputs and lifestyle?
You’ll naturally have more outputs because in order to achieve the outcome of six sales, you probably need to generate six outputs per sale. There are things that you need to do… You need to run your webinar, get your content out, do some lead generation and show up on social media.
There are all these things that you need to do to get that one outcome.
I understand that you’re going to generally have a lot more outputs, and that is reflected in the way that we do this process. But at the same time, if you haven’t put anything in there about looking after yourself, is that something you’d like to change?
For most people, it is something that they’d like to change and be more clear on.
Even just in categorising these things, it allows us to reflect and see if we’ve missed something or perhaps glossed over the fact that the kids will be home for school holidays so we’ll have limited time and capacity to put these outputs out and create these things in our businesses.
Step 3: Prioritise
For each category, you want to put them in order of most important to least important.
This is a skill that takes practice, but just do it. Do it imperfectly the first time and you’ll do a little bit better next time.
It’s better to prioritise imperfectly than to not prioritise at all.
What I generally recommend is you start with the outcomes.
You might have:
- An income goal
- A list growth goal
- An audience growth goal
- A reach goal
What is most important to least important?
For me, my income goal is generally my number one outcome in my business. My list growth goal is generally the second our third priority, and if I’m doing a launch, I might have a launch goal in there as well.
I rank them. Just ask the question: Is this more important or less important than the one I just ranked?
Put them in order from one to whatever number you’ve gone to.
Do the same for outputs.
With those outcomes, what output is the most important for me to do this quarter?
Again, put them in order.
When I do this list, I’m usually working with 50-80 different things. Then when I categorise them, I might have 5-10 outcomes, and 40 outputs.
We’re not categorising three things, and then prioritising three things.
I want you to put everything down.
We’re still going to keep the stuff that goes to the bottom of the list. We might not get to it this quarter, but we’re going to capture it, so it’s not weighing you down.
Then you do that for inputs and lifestyle – most important to least important.
Step 4: Select
The final step to complete your quarterly plan on a page is to select your TOP:
- Three outcomes
- Ten outputs
- Three inputs and lifestyles combined
Let’s say your number one input is you want to invest an extra $5,000 in Facebook ads, and the number two input is you want to work less than 20 hours a week. Then the number one lifestyle goal is you want to go for a walk every day.
They would be combined.
Input and lifestyle I combine in this template.
To summarise, you have your top three outcomes, your top ten outputs in prioritised order, and your top three input and lifestyle goals/focus points combined.
What we’ve now done is captured in one place: What are your priorities for this quarter? And what is MOST important for you to achieve, to do and to ensure you keep boundaries around?
Simple, effective and easy.
The most important part of this process is once you’ve completed this quarterly plan on a page, keep it somewhere you’ll see it every single day.
As I said, I have this in my planner, in my journal, and I also have this printed out and popped onto my wall.
I can see my quarterly plan on a page at any time when I’m working on my business.
When I look at my goals for this week, I can check and reflect on: Do those things that I’m focused on this week actually line up with what my quarterly focus is? Or have I gone off on a tangent and I got myself really distracted?
This also allows you to then see the relationship between the outcomes you want to achieve and the outputs that you’re focused on doing.
A lot of the time when I work with my VIP clients or the planning posse (my yearly planning group of people who do the Heart-Centered Business Planning system with me every year), we’ll look at their top three outcomes and top ten outputs, and see that the outputs are not directly contributing to achieving those outcomes.
Some people will have a big income goal, and then the product that they want to focus on launching and selling is a $50 product. You want to have a 100K quarter selling $50 products, but you haven’t put in your inputs that you have $50,000 worth of Facebook ad spend, which is what would be required to reach and make the number of sales that you want to be making.
It allows you to take that helicopter view of your business, and ensure that the plan of what you’re going to do matches up with the goals that you want to achieve.
It’s a really good little test to make sure things are lined up.
You can grab the quarterly plan on a page template and instruction guide here: CLICK ME
As always, if you have any questions feel free to DM me over on Instagram, or come and share using #podcastaha and the episode number (303) in the Heart-Centred, Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group.
Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centered Business Podcast.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.