In order to produce a worthwhile business plan, you need to establish goals. Use your situation analysis to find the convergence between what you want and what the market will bear in order to determine what your goals could be.
The best goals are attainable, but also stretch the current capacity of your business. As a writer, you don’t want to remain stagnant. You want to develop your craftsmanship, your skill and your resources to achieve bigger and better things. You want to penetrate new markets. You want to reach markets that are out of reach. You want to produce bigger or more complicated projects. You want to grow.
Everybody’s goals will be different. Some writers prioritize financial goals. Other writers prioritize accomplishments. Most writers want to balance financial goals and accomplishments.
Make a list of potential goals. List as many goals as you can think of within the convergence point between what you want and what the market will bear. At this point you don’t want to worry about the timeline for achieving these goals. If there is a time-sensitive opportunity you want to pursue, recognize it by making some kind of mark to denote that there is an immovable deadline.
After you’ve brainstormed your list of goals, you will see that some are long-term goals, some are mid-term goals and some are short-term goals. Some goals will be on-going. Now is the time to prioritize goals across time. For example, I have three autism-related nonfiction books that I want to work on, but I don’t want to work on them all at once. I prioritized which book should come first, second and third. I also want to write novels. I’ve been working on two novels, and have several more in the backburners of my mind. But when I looked at my goals, I realized that the autism-related nonfiction books were a higher priority for me—I want to do both, but I want to ensure that the first nonfiction book gets written within a year, whereas my time-table for completing my fiction is more flexible.
Now, analyze your goals based on priorities and time. But don’t let yourself get too stuck on that timeline or your priorities. Winnow out any goals that don’t really interest you—but don’t eliminate them. Keep them as possibilities. You may want to work some of those goals back into your plan once you see how they can contribute to the whole or you may need them on reserve when one or more of your goals don’t work out the way you hoped.
The next step in planning your business is to analyze how much work is required to achieve each goal and to place that work in a timeline. But before we jump into the nitty-gritty of that, I’m going to discuss two different methods of allotting work across time. You may prefer starting with major goals and working back to your daily workload. You may prefer starting with your daily workload and working forward to determine what you can achieve within a given time. You may use both techniques for different categories of work. On Thursday, we’ll talk about how to work backwards from a big goal.