How is planning for a holiday and preparing a digital marketing plan the same?

Great holidays don’t just happen.

They take planning, budgeting, research & a sense of adventure.

I have just come back from one such holiday.

Almost 2 years ago, friends of mine invited Brendon and I on an adventure safari holiday to South Africa with them to celebrate several 50th birthdays (mine included!)

They proposed that a larger group of us, travel to South Africa, spend some time touring the country with the main intent being to spend a week at a luxury big game park.

2 years out - this was just a fanciful idea.

We had already committed to a family holiday in Hong Kong for a week in January 2016 to celebrate our son finishing school and had intended to also take a campervan holiday with our kids in New Zealand later that same year.

And yet here we were entertaining yet another jaunt, to another country.

  • Could we possibly do this?
  • Could we fund it?
  • Could we take the time off?
  • Wasn’t it dangerous to travel to South Africa?
  • Who would have the kids?
  • Did I mention could we fund it? (yes I did - but this was going to be a big commitment)

We love travelling, so we knew we wanted to go, like really wanted to go, so we put a date in the calendar, a money target and then set about making it happen.

Committing to the trip meant that several key milestones needed to be locked in early.

  • We had to commit to a timeframe that suited everyone.
  • We had to agree to a payment schedule
  • We had to research other things to do whilst in South Africa
  • We had to sort out logistics
  • We had to sort out and pay for our other travel plans
  • We had to ensure that work commitments were going to be managed as 2016 had us away from our business a lot more than normal ( doing what normal people do - take holidays - a bit of a first for us for this kind of length)

For us, the planning, the research and the sense of adventure were the easiest part.

The harder part was the cold hard cash component.

It meant that we had to be focussed on the big goal in front of us. It meant that we had to break down the big number into smaller milestones - achievable ones that made the entire process seem easier, made our target seem closer and rewarded our efforts with a positive mental boost as we ticked off each point along the way. We also had accountability buddies along the way to also keep us focussed on milestones that we all could get excited about together.

For the last 3 years this is how our business Big Blue Digital has operated. It has allowed us to treble our business in that timeframe.

We had the big scary sales target and we committed to monthly milestones that we communicated to our team so that we could get closer to our goals. This also meant that as a team we were ALL accountable.

Sales targets were broken down into

  • Number of new digital service plan clients
  • Number of new website builds
  • Number of new custom designed solutions

From there we further broke down how we would work towards securing these targets via traditional means as well as digital marketing means. We looked at how our various existing customer touch points could come together to make this happen and identify gaps that we needed to plug to make it happen.

The key was to write down the big idea and give it a $ value and a timeframe.

Then break down the big idea into activities each month.

Then set key milestones to be achieved each month that would mean the activity outcome would be met.

and then wrap it in some kind of accountability blanket. Without this key step - it will just be yet another beautiful plan that sits in a draw - or list of tasks that constantly gets pushed out, time and time again.

So what am I doing in my business this year?

At the start of December, I attended a planning workshop with Kathryn Hocking ( creator & founder of the eCourse formula ) to ensure that 2017 was going to flow in the direction I wanted it to flow in. It was called Expansive (a great planning term wouldn’t you agree!) and you can find out more about Kathryn here.

It was a fantastic 6 hours as it allowed me to create

  • An overarching plan for 2017
  • A list of key goals for 2017 - mainly focussed around sales
  • A list of key activities for the first 6 months
  • And an opportunity to flesh out those first 6 months in more detail to ensure that I knew what key milestones were in front of me.

It meant that when I returned from a fantastic holiday on safari in South Africa ( just the best - check out &beyond Phinda, to see a little of what I have just seen!) I knew exactly where my head needed to be.

I didn’t sit down with a blank page and just enthusiasm, rather I sat down to a calendar with my key activities already in place.

I know what specifically lies ahead in detail for Jan, Feb & March.

I have broader plans for April, May and June

And I have my key business outcomes locked in for the rest of the year - just waiting for me to put the meat on the bones.

From a digital marketing perspective, it means that now my overarching strategy is in place, I can focus on delivery, content creation and interaction with you. What at first seems like a big scary goal or a really large number, becomes something much more manageable.

Just like our holiday - what at first seemed highly unlikely to happen - your business goals will become a reality.

Next week I will share with you my how to guide for creating a 90 day digital marketing implementation plan as well as what accountability tools I have put in place as a solopreneur.

So stay tuned!

Have you set your goals for 2017?

Share in the comments below what you hope to achieve. Have you picked an accoutability buddy as yet?