Every year millions of us buy beautiful new planners. It’s a big decision – there are so many to choose from and we love the thrill of choosing the perfect one for us. We buy new pens, new planner accessories, new planner covers, new planner tags, the lot. We lovingly browse through our planner book, wishing January was here so we could get stuck in. We plan in future appointments and add in birthdays and anniversaries in our best handwriting, so we don’t spoil our new, pristine planner. The anticipation is delicious.
Fast forward 4 months and the planner has been dumped. It lies, forgotten, in a drawer or on a shelf or table. The first few weeks were packed full of appointments, hopes and dreams but as the weeks go on, the content tails off. By May there are just a few birthdays left in. And come September we do it all again.
The Plight Of Planners
So, why does this happen? Planners aren’t just for Christmas, they are supposed to help us keep on track all year! Why do we only manage to remember to use them for a few weeks or a couple of months? Why do they get abandoned by the summer? And why do we do it all again every year??
Well, I have a theory. I think a few things happen that explain why so many planner books get ditched by the summer. Let me explain.
First of all, if you’re anything like me and most women I work with, you’re a stationery addict. Notebooks, pens, planners, folders, crayons, accessories – they are like sparkles to a magpie where we’re concerned. So a pretty planner? Ooh yes please! We might not use it but we just LOVE buying it and it makes us feel happy. Ringing any bells? Well, speaking as the owner of a small notebook mountain in Darlington, I’m as guilty as the rest but at least with notebooks I know I’ll use them (it might take till I’m 93 but I’ll get through them!). The trouble with treating your beautiful new planner in the same way is that your planner could be helping you, but you’re not letting it.
If you’ve got your own business then you’ve got entrepreneurial blood running through your veins and one of the big entrepreneurial traits that that we LOVE new things. New ideas, new schemes, new projects, new everything. We delight in the thrill of the new. Some of us actually manage to see things through to the end, but lots don’t. Once the initial ‘newness’ has worn off it’s not as appealing, even if it IS a lovely planner.
On Your Own
Working from home by yourself can be a lonely place. Even if you have plans and targets, it can be really hard to stick to them with nobody to motivate you or spur you on. A planner might seem like a lovely idea – it’s a great place to fill in your plans and targets but who is going to nudge you if you start getting distracted or demotivated? It’s just a book – it can’t do anything except keep your thoughts in one place. Eventually life gets in the way, the planner gets shoved to the side and the next thing you know it’s November and you wonder what on earth happened, or rather what didn’t happen. Nothing much has changed in your business, you’re in the same place you were this time last year and that’s another year gone.
Motivation In Hibernation
The best way to turn plans into action (which is what needs to happen if you’re going to grow your business) is to find a way of staying motivated. You need some way of rewarding yourself whenever you hit your targets so you have an incentive to keep going. Except that’s easy to forget / ignore when you’re busy. When sales slow down or you hit a quiet patch, you start to wonder why you’re bothering. You work so hard and things still aren’t working and you find it hard to muster the energy to keep struggling on. You have nothing to motivate you and your planner doesn’t help, it just sits there LOOKING at you, full of the hopes and dreams you wanted so badly but without giving you a way to reach them. Gah!
Lacking In Inspiration
When you buy your lovely planner book at the end of the year you are filled with all the things you can do next year. You think about what you haven’t achieved this year and you decide next year will be your year, and your planner will be your secret weapon to make that happen. Except it’s just a book. So while it makes you happy in a papery sort of way, it’s not actually DOING much. It’s not giving you suggestions or showing you what you could do. It’s not telling you to dream bigger. It’s not showing you what you could achieve, and even better, people who have already achieved it. As far as inspiration goes, your planner won’t win any prizes, even if it does have a lovely cover.
Is your planner going to jump off your desk or out of your bag and give you a stern talking to when you need it? Is it going to tell you you’re AWESOME when you get an attack of the mind monkeys? Is it going to nag you to stretch yourself even more and hit that higher target? No. Because it’s a book.
Planners come in all shapes and sizes. Some are stuffed full of brilliant business advice and charts and graphs. Some have whizzy sections where you have to write businessy stuff. The problem is, if you’re the owner of a teeny business who is doing this in your spare time, or around a job, or around raising children then it can feel very overwhelming. Marketing jargon is scary. Numbers charts can bring you out in hives. It’s enough to put you off your cuppa. You might think that choosing a planner with all the whizzy business sections will help you but if you don’t know what you’re doing then it’s like getting a new car and not knowing how to drive it. And you won’t use it. Which is not good.
What Do You Reckon?
So, what do you think? I’ve worked with loads of ladies over the years and I’m pretty sure for most of them at least one of these is to blame for the planner ditching epidemic that happens around Easter. Have you got any more to add? I’d love to see them in the comments!
So what do you need to do to get your planner to WORK for you?
Don’t Do It Alone
First of all it would REALLY help you to get together in person or virtually with other business owners like you. This helps in lots of ways. It helps you to know you’re not alone. It helps you to see what everyone else is doing and how they handle it. It helps you to find people to keep you accountable. Getting together with likeminded business owners can turn your planner from ‘just a book’ into a group business ninja tool. You can get together at set times online or in person for planning sessions. You can set each other tasks and targets. You can keep each other accountable. It’s a powerful thing. Not being alone is a GREAT way to get the confidence, knowledge and motivation to build your business.
Know What You Want
Knowing what you want is another biggie. If you don’t know what you want from your business or your life, then no planner book will have the answers. You need to get clear on what you are aiming for and why. You need to have a business vision to work towards, some targets and milestones to aim for. You need goals, even if you’re not sure HOW you’re going to reach them just yet. Knowing what you want is a HUGE part of making your planner work for you.
Know Who Is Most Likely To Buy
Understanding who is most likely to buy from you is a big part of your planner working for you. If you know who is most likely to buy from you then you can work out which networking events to attend, which shows and fairs to take stalls at, which offers to put on, where to advertise and what to say. The people who are most likely to buy from you, who are the best fit for your business are your Super Customers and THEY are who you need to target. Marketing to everyone doesn’t work. Marketing to your Super Customers does work – it’s clever marketing. And if your planner is full of plans, goals and activities focused on your Super Customers it will help you grow your business. If it isn’t, it won’t.
There are loads more things but if you just do those three, it will get you off to a GREAT start!
So you see, buying a planner book might make you happy for a short time but using a planner properly can create MAGIC in your business.
You Might Like This
Now, of course I’m going to tell you about my 2017 Awesome Marketing Planner System because I designed and created it will ALL THIS IN MIND. I know where people go wrong. I don’t like seeing planners abandoned. I get really sad when I see people working SO HARD and not growing their business.
4 Part Marketing Planning System
I created it for you. It’s designed to help you succeed. And it’s not just a book – it’s a whole year of marketing support to help you achieve your awesome potential.
The Planner Book
It’s a beautiful, colourful planner book with lots of easy-to-understand marketing lessons at the front. It’s got hints, tips and help. It’s got fun sections to make you smile but there is method in the fun! The colouring pages are there to make you focus on something other than the day-to-day worries and distractions – they are like a mini-meditation where you get to be creative. They give your busy brain a break. The little made up days are there to keep you coming back and I’m going to use the Facebook group to make them even more fun. It’s got a monthly tips section, a monthly money section, room for notes and scribbles and a mini-marketing planner and marketing reminders each week. It’s lovely and very practical.
The Online Planner Portal
This is where you will find lessons, worksheets and guidance to help you make the most of the marketing lessons in your planner book. It’s fun, easy to understand and designed to inspire and motivate you. There are 7 core modules plus monthly modules throughout 2017. There are monthly challenges, competitions and prize draws. There are also Awesome Points which you can earn for all sorts of achievements, big and small, and which you can put towards prizes.
The Plannerina Facebook Group
This is your virtual support group. It’s full of business owners just like you from all over the world in all types of business. It’s great for networking, bouncing ideas around, asking for help and doing business. We have regular introduction threads and business showcases. Some Plannerinas are also getting together in person by organising regional meet ups. It’s a place to find accountability partners, too.
The Bum-Kicking Emails
Also known as Nudge-Mails, these will appear in your inbox every week to inspire and motivate you, give you ideas, set you challenges, get you back into the marketing buzz and gently kick you along. They are there to make you step out of your bonkers busy-ness for just a short time and take a step back. They are there to make sure you do some regular work ON your business instead of just DOING, even if it’s just a few minutes each week.
It Is Designed To Help You Succeed
The whole Awesome Marketing Planner System is designed to make sure you focus on the things that will help you build your business, to give you motivation and accountability, to make sure you’re not alone and to give you LOADS of help. It’s designed to help GIVE YOU THE BEST CHANCE OF BUILDING YOUR AWESOME BUSINESS! And it’s already working its magic.
Go On, You Deserve It!
If you want to give yourself the gift of the help and support you need to help your business grow, sign up here. Or drop a REALLY big hint to friends and family!