Updated for 2019 -- I'm not going to blog about New Year's resolutions for business today. For most of us, resolutions are more wishful thinking than plans for action when it means expending some effort to change old habits. That doesn't work very well in private life for the majority of humans -- why would it work in private practice?
So, this isn't a resolution. Don't think of it that way.
Think of it as a request. A request that your practice is making of you.
Business Planning as Friendly Brainstorming
Imagine your private practice has a voice. And like any friend, it is asking for a conversation. Let the request run in the back of your mind like a computer utility program that silently safeguards the growth and success of your business.
And maybe for a couple hours of your down time this weekend -- or any weekend during the year -- or one evening when the kids are in bed and it's quiet in the house, you and your friend (the business voice) could sit with a nice cup of tea or bottle of your favorite beer, and just let your minds wander back over how things went in the last 12 months.
What worked? Why? What didn't work? Why not? Mull it over together, you and your business, and see if any patterns of discovery emerge.
Then perhaps one slow morning, after yoga, or with juice and a bagel, you and your business can simply decide to do more of something, and less of something else.
What would your business like to make room for? Maybe blogging. Maybe developing a new specialty skill. What can you let go of? Maybe bookkeeping by hiring a virtual assistant.
And finally, take yourself and your practice on a business retreat. Go somewhere new where you can breathe in the crisp winter air without feeling rushed. Have a good heart-to-heart, really explore new possibilities, and gain a different perspective.
What can your business and you make a fresh start at? When will you begin?
Is there some marketing method you've not taken advantage of because it required some tech know-how that you didn't have time to learn? Maybe this is the year to reserve time on your calendar to study up.
Does this sound like I'm suggesting you turn your business into an imaginary friend? Well, yes, I guess I am, sort of. And while it's possible I need to get out more, it's also possible that all of us are missing out on an important source of wisdom for professional success.
Business planning is intimidating for many of us, depressing for some, and downright boring for all of us who don't just LOVE admin work. And yet, doing a bit of it is actually useful for all solopreneurs. What helps get it done is to approach it as if we're brainstorming with a friend. No pressure.
Of course, if you are naturally business minded, go ahead and set measurable goals, commit to trackable timelines, and determine some way to hold yourself accountable for following through. The best system I know of for making that kind of process as painless as possible is CJ Hayden's Get Clients Now!
Just this morning my business whispered to me where it would like to go for our business retreat. Somewhere with mountain view, it said. Maybe up around Leavenworth, it suggested.
How about you? I'd love to hear where you retreat and what your business whispers to you.
Oh, and no, that isn't me in the photo, although I'd love it if my hair were that lovely.