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Business Strategy

Your Complete Business and Marketing Strategic Plan in Just 2 Hours (Part 1)

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”
– William Arthur Ward

7 years ago I got an email that changed the course of my business.

I’ll get to what was IN that email in just a sec, but first you gotta understand where I was (mentally) when it arrived.

There I was, spending the holidays at my mom’s beach house in the gulf of Thailand.

Picture it…

… Just steps from the beach in a sleepy fishing village…

… Amazing food on the doorstep …

… Morning runs and afternoon naps …

But yet, in the midst of all this, there was something gnawing away at me that I didn’t want to admit. The truth was: I didn’t know what I was doing or where I was going…

If I had to pin a feeling to it, I’d say I was feeling “stuck.”

But as they say, “wherever you go, there you are.”

A couple months earlier, I had left my job for no other reason but that I needed to leave my job. (Relate?)

But I didn’t quite have the clarity or confidence about who I was and what I was capable of. Much less a plan for moving forward. (Still relate??)

And then that email came…

At first glance, it was nothing extraordinary… just another newsletter from just another internet marketer…  We get so many of them, but for some reason I took notice of THIS one.

The email was from Don Crowther and it contained a 2-page strategic plan template. At the time, I didn’t really know what that meant, but it seemed like something I should do…

Especially since Don promised it would only take a couple hours of my time and would do more for my business than any other activity.

He wasn’t bluffing… Those couple hours that I spent 3 years ago creating a business and marketing strategic plan became the seed that flowered into everything good that I’ve done since.

Simply spending a couple hours going through this strategic planning process helped me get the internal clarity and motivation I need to make that quantum leap in my business.
Now, I follow Don’s example and repeat this process every holiday…


==> 1. Using Don’s template (which you can download for free here), take stock of where you are now.

This includes the big picture feeling you have about your current situation, including assets and limitations, and specific indicators such as:

  • gross income and net profit
  • size of your mailing list and social media following
  • number of unique visitors to your site each month and conversion metrics
  • ?number of products and services you have on the market and the number of clients you serve

Here’s an example of my current big picture feeling statement:

I have a fabulous business and stand-out brand with solid traffic, subscribers, and followers. Through my 2 products and full range of services, I have a sales funnel that brings in consistent revenue and allows me to work with a talented team of contractors. While the business is successful overall, I feel like I’m the bottleneck that’s limiting our growth. I’m just starting to create the systems that will leverage my time and scale the business, allowing me to serve more people and make a bigger difference while enjoying myself more.

==> 2. Next, detail out where you want to be by the end of the year.

Again, this includes the big picture vision as well specific, measurable objectives that will let you know you’ve made it.

Here’s what I wrote for 2013:

Live Your Message has name recognition among both my ideal clients and my peers. I have expanded my team and created the systems and processes we need to bring high-quality done-for-you services to hundreds of people a year, while keeping a 50% profit margin. These systems enable me to concentrate my time on the marketing, product creation, speaking, training and partnering initiatives that will allow us to explode our following and impact tens of thousands of new people each year. I am living half-time in the U.S. and half-time abroad. I have achieved a work-life balance that enables me to sustain daily high-performance while nourishing my body, mind and relationships.

==> 3. Once you’ve done Steps 1 and 2, you’ll be able to clearly see the gap between where are you are and where you want to go and specific actions you can take to close that gap.

I recommend brainstorming 6-12 actions or initiatives.

For example, to grow my email list from 3500 to 12K by the end of the year, I know I need to participate in at least one major list-building initiative each quarter. I also know that I can increase conversions on my website by split-testing opt-in gifts and copy, as well as adding pop-up opt-in boxes on my blog that offer different gifts based on the subject of the blog post. Finally, I can lengthen and improve my initial autoresponder sequences to deepen my relationship with new subscribers and segment my list to keep engagement and retention high.

==> 4. Once you’ve identified 6-12 actions you can take to “close the gap” between where you are and where you want to go, it’s time to map these out onto a 12-month calendar.

When specifically will you create each product, run each promotion, and take each action?

Don’t worry, in the next blog post in this sequence, I will give you a process for organizing and prioritizing these actions based on your core values and what you want to achieve in your business. This will help you put first things first and focus on the actions that have the most ROI.

==> 5. Finally, and this one’s not on Don’s template, I wrap a marketing and promotion calendar around my actions and priorities.

This takes the guesswork out of blogging and emailing my list by showing me exactly what to write about when so that I’m always building interest in my core initiatives and upcoming promotions. It also allows me to evaluate new opportunities and know when I can say yes to promoting new partners or taking on a new client and when to say no.

I’ll show you my process for creating a marketing and promotion calendar in the third blog post in this sequence, so stay tuned!

That’s it for now…I promise this process will give you the clarity and motivation you need to make this your best year yet.

Don’t leave your success to chance, take the time now to design the business and life you want. You deserve it!

And don’t forget to share your progress on our Facebook wall so we can root you on! Also, stating your intentions make them more real.

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. hussien ahmed

    “Excellent quality training. Very knowledgeable and effective instructors

    Reply ·
  2. Nusa Maal

    Lucid. Practical. For me, looking at new business models, I feel there is more mystery and less “predictability,” but that’s at the heart of envisioning. I appreciate the realness of asking for two hours. It feels accurate and not “a few matures” salesy. Thank you.
    Of course this is well timed, as this is when I usually send out a Year reflection map and calendar… yet it’s helpful to hear from outside my own process as well. Thank you.

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      I have this tradition in December too Nusa. And yes to spending 2 hours… to envision and be in the mystery… 🙂

      Reply ·
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About the Author Marisa Murgatroyd

Marisa is the founder of Live Your Message, where she turns entrepreneurs into Online Superheroes, and the creator of Start With You where she helps people just like you to discover the business they're meant to build, not just the business they can build. At 4’11 and a quarter, she’s called the shortest woman in marketing — and that doesn’t stop her from having huge ideas. She’s the “go to” brand builder for industry luminaries and heavyweights such as Justin Livingston, Callan Rush, Danny Iny, Alexis Neely and Susan Peirce Thompson. Marisa helps entrepreneurs create a business that is authentic and aligned with who they are, to empower them to turn up the dial on their “inner superhero”, so they can be the superhero to their tribe, as well as in their own lives.

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