Updated: Jun 5, 2020
You have a great idea. It would make a meaningful difference in people's lives ... if only they had the opportunity to hear about it.
Whether you're looking to start a business venture, write a blog, write a book, or sell a product, you need a plan of action that goes beyond your great idea to get it out into the world.
For many creative types, this is where the challenge comes in. You're on top of your game when it comes to creating, designing, writing, and doing whatever your thing might be. But when it comes to putting your ideas out into the world, you don't know where to start. Fear sets in and that great idea stays just that— an idea.
As someone who's created and executed more strategic project plans than I can count, I've found that a solid project plan can help you narrow your focus and move past those crippling hurdles. Whether you're in the creation and execution stages, or if you project is complete, here are some things to consider as you create your project plan.
Objective / Goal
First, determine the main objective or goal for your project. Let's use a budding author as our example. You've written a book that will change the world, but how do you get your book into reader's hands?
Well, consider these questions: What do you hope to accomplish? Who is your target audience? How many books do you want to sell? How many books do you need to sell to make your profit goals? What are your profit goals? What perceived or felt needs will your book meet? What impact do you want your book to have in the world? Will it encourage, motivate, soothe, bring healing, inform, entertain?
Be as specific as possible. Now, narrow down your goal into 1-3 sentences.
A constraint is defined as the state of being checked, restricted, or compelled to avoid or perform some action. When you consider your objective, what could hold you back from achieving your goal? Are finances tight? Do you have a limited amount of time to pour into your venture? Are there relationship needs that will be impacted? Do you struggle with self motivation or lack knowledge in a specific area? All of these, and more, are real constraints that need to be addressed.
For our new author example, let's say you are trying to break into a new market. Do you need to learn more about the market? What about your genre and the audience that you are trying to reach? Is your writing time limited because you have a full-time job and a gaggle of kids to care for?
Honestly write out your constraints, listing all the things that could potentially hold you back from reaching your goal. How will you overcome those constraints?
What assumptions are you bringing into this endeavor? Are they valid? Go into the project with your eyes open and an honest assessment of what you're up against. This will help you identify areas to overcome with a purposeful plan of attack.
Plan of Attack
This is where you put feet to your ideas and create a plan for getting your project completed. Map out all the steps you need to take to get from start to finish. And I mean all the steps. Leave no stone unturned.
It may seem excessive to write down all the steps you know intuitively you'll have to do at different points in the process. But believe me, when you're in the thick of the work, you'll appreciate not having to remember all the details. Putting the details on paper also provides space in your brain to focus on the creative process. It helps you not get bogged down remembering the mundane details.
Write It Down!
It's one thing to ponder and think about the grand ideas you dream up. But if you haven't owned the process, written down your goals, constraints, assumptions and your plan of attack, all the brainstorming you've done will be for naught.
Putting your project plan into a document forces you to clearly communicate your goals. It provides a litmus test as you go through the process to show whether you're on the right track, or if you've veered off the rails.
Taking the time to brainstorm and plan ahead can save you hours of re-work and frustration. While assessing your objective and your goals, constraints and assumptions, outlining your plan of attack and writing it all down in a clear, concise project plan document will help ensure a successful outcome for getting your message, service or product out into the world.
So, what are YOU working on these days? Share your projects with me in the comments below. We would love to support and cheer you on!
And if you are looking for help in strategizing, brainstorming, and creating your project plan, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's chat today!