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Boost your business with a plan (2014)


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Slides from my talk on boosting your business with a plan.

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Boost your business with a plan (2014)

  1. 1. Boost your business with a plan. Development and growth strategies for freelance translators. Marta Stelmaszak September 2014
  2. 2. Main themes today Growth Goals Plans Business Boosting Career Learning
  3. 3. About the speaker • Polish – English translator and interpreter • Based in London • BA, PgCert in language-related disciplines • MSc in Management, Information Systems and Innovation • Training in marketing, e-business, economics • Certificate in business mentoring • Publications, presentations, articles • • @mstelmaszak
  4. 4. I had a plan…
  5. 5. Plans… • “Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.” D. Eisenhower • “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” A. Lakein • “There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” D. H. Everett • “A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.” H. S. Judd
  6. 6. Step 1: Set lifetime goals • Career – What level do you want to reach in your career, or what do you want to achieve? • Financial – How much do you want to earn, by what stage? How is this related to your career goals? • Education – Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? What information and skills will you need to have in order to achieve other goals? • Family – Do you want to be a parent? If so, how are you going to be a good parent? How do you want to be seen by a partner or by members of your extended family?
  7. 7. Step 1: Set lifetime goals • Artistic – Do you want to achieve any artistic goals? • Attitude – Is any part of your mindset holding you back? Is there any part of the way that you behave that upsets you? (If so, set a goal to improve your behavior or find a solution to the problem.) • Physical – Are there any athletic goals that you want to achieve, or do you want good health deep into old age? What steps are you going to take to achieve this? • Pleasure – How do you want to enjoy yourself? (You should ensure that some of your life is for you!) • Public Service – Do you want to make the world a better place? If so, how?
  8. 8. Step 2: Setting smaller goals • 5 years • 2 years • 1 year • 6 months
  9. 9. Step 2: Setting smaller goals • State each goal as a positive statement • Be precise • Set priorities • Write goals down • Keep operational goals small • Set performance goals, not outcome goals • Set realistic goals
  10. 10. Step 3: Setting to-do lists
  11. 11. Step 3: Setting to-do lists • SMART
  12. 12. But why do I need a business plan? • It’s a real hurdle to write it • The scope is overwhelming • It can hold you back • It’s useless in the real world • It’s an excuse to keep you from doing
  13. 13. But why do I need a business plan? • It gives a structure • It gives a feeling of security • It helps to cope with change • It forces you to put your business hat on
  14. 14. How to write a plan that works? • Identify what you really want to and need to plan • Modify business plan templates to get rid of sections you don’t need or pointless details • Use mind mapping and many drawings to identify the areas you want to plan • Rather than having one very formal document, play around with text, images, drawings, maps and sticky notes • Find the right time to work on different parts. Usually, I spend a couple of hours here and there to put ideas on my whiteboard and let them stay there for some time. • Use SMART goals to make sure that my business plan is actionable
  15. 15. Elements of a business plan • Executive summary • Even though this section is usually in the beginning of your business plan, you should write it last. Executive summary should contain a summary of what does your business do, what do you want to achieve with your translation business, what is the reason why you’re translating and what’s your vision for the future.
  16. 16. Elements of a business plan • General description • In here, you want to write as if you were presenting your company to outsiders. I found this exercise very useful because it forced me to think about big questions about my business and then I could use some of the ideas or even sentences in my marketing copy. This section should contain your mission statement (what is the reason for existing of your business?), your goals and objectives, and business philosophy. Apart from these statements, summarise your client segments, the translation industry and your strengths and competencies. Of course, you’re very unlikely to have to show this document to anybody, but it will help you clarify these points for yourself.
  17. 17. Elements of a business plan • Owner’s background • Because you’re a freelance translator or interpreter, it’s very important that you outline your key competencies and background, rather than talking about staff, operations and management (as often present in traditional business plans). Use this section for your own benefit: write down everything that acts in your favour, turn features into benefits, do a SWOT analysis. • Services • Describe in depth what you’re offering as if you were talking to somebody who knows nothing about translation or interpreting. Doing that will give you ready-made answers to some of your potential clients’ questions. Look at factors that will give you competitive advantage and think about the best way of showcasing them in your services. What is your pricing strategy?
  18. 18. Elements of a business plan • Market: customers • For the purposes of your business, not only your business plan, identify main segments of your customers, their demographics, geographic locations, and as many characteristics as you can find. If you’re translating or interpreting for individuals, try to find out their age, location, income level, occupation, education, etc. If you’re working mostly with businesses, describe their industry, locations, size, quality, etc. • Market: competitors • The way I went about this section is as follows. I prepared a simple table where I listed my main competitors (or, as I prefer to call them, other players on the market), added their website addresses and noted the main things I think they’re doing right. You may also compare yourself against competition according to the following criteria: services offered, price, quality, customer service, reliability, expertise, reputation, location, or image. Is there anything they’re doing that you could be doing better? This section of a business plan will help you identify that.
  19. 19. Elements of a business plan • Marketing plan • In this section, analyse how you’re going to let your prospective customers know you’re here. Start by identifying low-cost methods you can use to promote your business. When comes to expenses, try to justify every investment and estimate how much business it has to bring you to make it worthwhile. Plan your marketing for the whole year. • Financial plan • This is perhaps the most challenging section of a business plan that many freelance translators struggle with. I suggest you go about it in the following way. Estimate the worst case scenario for the whole year, writing down all the expenses and minimum income you have to bring in to make sure you stay afloat. It will give you a feeling of security, so much needed for freelancers. By estimating what is the lowest amount of money you have to make a month, you’re going to feel much more confident and you’ll sleep better. Then make the desirable financial prognosis where you actually see how much money you’d like to be making. In turn, this may act as a motivator and you’re quite likely to start thinking how you can reach this goal.
  20. 20. Resources • Business plan template • Sample business plan for freelancers • How to Write a Business Plan for a Freelance Writer • Sample business plan • What to include in a business plan
  21. 21. Take away Marta Stelmaszak @mstelmaszak