Planning works. A year ago, I shared The 2011 Plan and last week I shared the success story of that plan when I wrote “How to make what you write come true.” Finding a planning method that works for you is, unfortunately, not so easy. I’ve settled on a method that combines Chris Brogan’s three words method and the visual thinking approach of Sketchnotes, which results in the drawing included with this post.
The 2012 Plan dissected
Growth – One of last year’s words was “customers” and it turned out to be the key word. We learned two important pieces of information about our customers in 2011: Who they are and where to find them online. Armed with that knowledge and the other two words in this year’s plan, significant growth of the ventures I am involved in is achievable.
Automate – Late last year, I had an “ah-ha” moment related to automation. A task worth doing manually is worth automating. If it’s not, then stop doing the task entirely. Your business is not truly systemized until most – if not all – of the business processes are automated. It takes more time to delegate and train those to whom you are delegating if the process is not automated. Automated tasks have a much higher probability of being done correctly.
Teams – It’s one thing to hire people to help you. It’s quite another to empower them to manage the team without you. This year, progress must happen without my involvement. Handing over business processes that have been automated is one way to ensure this outcome. While I can and sometimes will be a player on the teams I help create, I don’t intend to ever be the coach.
Back to growth
The strategy that came out of this planning exercise is: More and more of my time must be dedicated to tasks focused on long-term enterprise growth. Some might call this sales. I’ll be out searching for the relationships that allow us to partner our technology and knowhow with new audiences in 2012.
Here’s to an awesome 2012. Lets’ do this!
This is post 674 since I started blogging in July of 2005. For all of those 674 posts, I’ve depended on the WordPress platform to power JimRaffel.com. I’ve watched WordPress grow into the feature-rich, community-supported, open source solution it is today. As great as WordPress is, if you’re goal is to run your blog as a business, premium tools have become a virtual necessity. So before you spend your entire Cyber Monday budget, consider investing some of that cash back into yourself and your blog.
Two old friends and one welcome addition to the family
Scribe SEO Optimization – I’ve used Scribe since February of 2010. I signed up during the first week that the service was publicly available. While the first couple of days were a little bit rocky, I could see the value of the service almost immediately as I wrote in “Scribe Improves Site Traffic.” That improvement continues. A review of the last 30 days of site traffic compared with the same time period two years ago (pre-Scribe) shows a 538 percent increase in search engine generated traffic. That’s 650 new visitors a month that are now navigating to this site partly thanks to Scribe SEO. Scribe subscriptions start at $17 per month and you can find out more on the Scribe SEO site (affiliate link).
StudioPress Genesis Theme – This is the new addition to the family. Over the last year, I’ve watched the sites of many friends move to the Genesis Framework and away from the Thesis Theme that powers this site and several others I control. I decided to finally get on the bandwagon after seeing their Cyber Monday deal. We’re working on redesigns for several sites over the next few months so the timing makes sense. I like what I see so far and don’t expect the transition to be overly painful. For now, I went with the Framework and one child theme because until 7 p.m. CST today that bundle costs less than $60. You can also go nuts and spend $224 to get the Genesis Framework and all the child themes now available, as well as all future child themes. For a one-time fair and reasonable investment, you will have access to everything they have to offer for all your sites. Head on over to the StudioPress site (affiliate link) for more detailed information. To take advantage of the special pricing, you need to use the promo code: THANKS when you check out!
Premise Landing Page Creation - We have only used Premise to create a few landing pages up until now, but that pace will increase in 2012. I’m also in the process of using Premise to mock up a page I’ll later have someone code as a standalone page for one of our ColorMetrix product sites. The tool is powerful and easy to use. The included image library is worth the one-time price all on its own. If you plan to do anything with landing pages, then the current sale pricing (again until 7 p.m. CST today with the promo code: THANKS) should make this a no-brainer at $95, which is a $70 savings. Here is the Premise site (affiliate link) where you can find out more.
These are my Cyber Monday recommendations for my friends in the WordPress community. These products are not going away so there is no urgency unless you are ready to make a decision and would like to save a few bucks. If you are ready, I’d act right now before your Monday gets away from you and you miss out on the specials. Once again, the promo code for the Genesis and Premise specials is THANKS at check out.