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The Last Business Planning System You'll Ever Need As An Entrepreneur

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Today I'm sharing the last planning system you'll ever need in your business. I realize that is a bold statement but I believe it 100%. After analyzing how I've been able to hit goals and continue to make progress even when life has thrown me some rough curveballs, it's actually pretty simple what works.


**This was also a podcast episode (episode #211. Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.


We Make Business Planning Harder Than It Needs To Be As Entrepreneurs

When business planning, we often look for a new planner, a new tech tool or someone else who might have the magic answer but when you boil it down, there are 3 steps that will help you succeed in the long run.

Please note that I said "long run" because you're in this for the long run, this is not a quick-fix system. If that's what you're looking for, this episode is not for you. This is a simple planning system that will work but it won't make your dreams come true in 1 week, that takes time, action and commitment.

This is for someone who's committed and ready to build their dream life and business, not just wish for it to happen to them.

Sure you won't hit every goal but who does? Life gets in the way and there's no stopping that because we can't control everything. But instead we have to find a system that allows for forward movement but also flexibility for when life gets in the way of our plans.

But I've been on enough coaching calls to know that as soon as I say "it's really simple", there is someone who thinks "but you don't know what I'm going through". First I want to mention that you're 100% correct, I don't know but I don't need to know. What you're experiencing is real and it's affecting you mentally, physically and emotionally I have no doubt. What you're going through is tough but you know what I do know is that you are tougher.

I don't mean "grin and bear it" tough where you act like it's fine and keep charging forward. That's not healthy. What I mean by tough is that you've come this far in life, you've made it through things that you likely didn't think you could but somehow you're still here. You're critical thinking skills, your compassion, your experience, and many other things have helped you navigate a lot of things and you will tackle the next thing too.

"We often make excuses when we need to be making progress." - Amanda McKinney

Image of a person typing on computer

Make Progress Instead Of Making Excuses In Entrepreneurship

If you truly want something and actively decide to pursue it, you can get there if you're willing to deal with all the crap that gets in your way, because it will. It might take longer for you to get to the "finish line" and the path will most certainly look different than you originally thought it would but you can get there.

It's easy to look at others and think "but they don't have to deal with...." and assume their life is easier than your own. The truth is that everyone is fighting a battle that you know nothing about because they don't have to share their entire story with you.

You likely don't know that I've dealt with these things since I started my business in 2017:

  • Multiple hospital stays for family members that changed things in a moments notice

  • Moving a family member in to be their caregiver which led to juggling lots of doctor appointments and home health care

  • Mental illness in the family that changed my day to day routine significantly

  • Getting sick that inevitably pops up on the most inconvenient days

  • My stepbrother passing away and grief hitting at the weirdest times

  • A knee injury that led to surgery and time off of work

  • A health scare that required many doctor appointments and procedures

When people who know me personally ask "how in the world did you get that done?" or "how did you keep going?" or "you make it look so easy but I know you're dealing with a lot". My answer is that I have two things that allow me to continue to move forward in life and in business:

"I have support and I have systems. I don't go at this alone." - Amanda McKinney

But equally, I'm thrilled that my days are sometimes interrupted by awesome things in life and that because of my flexible schedule I'm able to partake in these moments too:

  • My husband pops into my office to share great news

  • A friend calls to tell me she's thinking of me

  • My dogs need to go outside and while it throws me off I get the benefit of walking outside for a few minutes and it gives me a different perspective

  • I see something unexpected and inspiring on Instagram and I create something

  • I have lunch with friends

The things that throw us off-track with our plans can be good and not-so-good things but it's all in how we adjust and react to these interruptions. It's our actions after the interruption that determines if we make progress or excuses.

The 3 Step-System That Will Help You Achieve Any Goal Through Business Planning

When you approach business planning as an entrepreneur it's easy to fall into the routine you're comfortable with but I'd encourage you to ask yourself "is this getting me the results I desire?". If not, I'd recommend opening up to a new way of planning.

This process seems simple and you might even be tempted to say I'm being too "rigid" but this business planning system has helped me:

  • Write the first draft of my book in 3 months even though we moved a family member into our home during that exact same time

  • Consistently create content in my brand-new-business even when my life was completely turned upside down due a family crisis that impacted my daily life (I never missed publishing my weekly blog post!)

  • Had my first $10K launch even when the world was shut down which meant changes in our household, schedules and routines

  • Continually being consistent with creating weekly content since June 2018 and now have 211 podcast episodes, over 200 YouTube videos, 68 blog posts even with all the curveballs and joyful interruptions I've been thrown in life

It's because of my support and my systems that these things have been possible and when I analyzed it all, this is what it came down to:

  • Knowing exactly what I wanted and committing to make it happen

  • Figuring out what tools and systems worked for me and allowed me to adjust as needed

  • Getting clear on what type of accountability was helpful for me and making that a priority

Let's dive into each of these so you can do this for yourself too.

Scrabble letters that spell "Go For It"

Uncover Your Desire & Decide To Take Action

If I asked you to reflect on goals you've hit versus goals you didn't hit, regardless of how long it took you to hit them, I know what the determining factor was. It was your true desire for the result and your commitment to the process, no matter what it took.

"When we know the why, we will figure out the how." - Amanda McKinney

But it's not just wanting something that will make you get it. Wanting something is something you can do right now in your mind so it's only the start of the process. When you realize you want something it's great to notice it and see if it keeps coming up for you and if it does, then it can be something that you take the next step with.

Once you WANT something bad enough, it's then time to DECIDE that you're committed to the process of achieving that desire. This means:

  • You'll have to say no to other things that aren't aligned with that decision

  • You'll have to push through many "I don't want to" days when the motivation just isn't there

  • You might have to deal with other people telling you unhelpful things about your goal/dream

There will always be opposition whether it's through other people, your own thoughts or circumstances in life. But if you've truly decided that you're in it to win it and in it for the long run, you will continue to make progress towards your goal.

Action: Uncover what you truly want and then decide to commit to the process

*If you struggle to truly get clear on what you want in your business, be sure to check out my course: Resilient Business Planning because there's a guest expert who shares her process on uncovering this for yourself.

Find What Tools Will Help You Achieve Your Goal

Once you've decided and committed, it's all about taking action. This is where you'll create a plan of attack for your goal and then start to take action but remember, something is going to get in your way so your plan has to have some flexibility to allow you to continue to follow through.

"You can have focus, flexibility and follow through." - Amanda McKinney

While you have the ability to push through life's circumstances and continue to make progress, there are tools that can help you. There are 3 that I encourage everyone to know and figure out which specific tools and tech are best for you:

  • Project Planning - once you have the goal, it's time to look at it as a project and break it down into tiny steps. Just like you have to put an IKEA dresser together one step at a time, you want to look at your projects like this too.

  • Tech Tools - now that you know what a valuable thing project planning is, it's time to find your project management tool soulmate. There are lots out there but you have to find the one that works for your specific needs and way you like to work and then ignore the rest.

  • Calendar Magic - your calendar (no matter what kind you use) can help you continue to make progress even when life gets hectic but you have to know how to use it best for you. Take note of what works and what doesn't so you can keep moving forward.

Action: The key in all of this is to understand what works for you, to use that tool and ignore what other people are using or say is best. What works for you might not be best for someone else but if it actually helps you move forward and make progress, that's what matters.

*If you aren't sure what tools and technology can help support you, be sure to check out my course: Resilient Business Planning because I share all the resources and why they are perfect for some people and not others. Plus I'll share my tips that can work with any technology and tools you choose.

Understand What Type Of Accountability You Need To Succeed As An Entrepreneur

I mentioned that I've been able to accomplish all that I have so far because of 2 things: support and systems. I've talked about the systems but now lets talk about support.

There are many ways you can have support in your business but in this system I'm specifically talking about accountability support. This is because accountability is often the missing link for many people.

You know what you want and decide to go get it.

You find the tools that work for you and create the plan to get what you want.

But then, life happens and you're thrown off your plan and instead of adjusting and moving forward you toss in the towel for the day/week/month/quarter. This is where accountability can interrupt this cycle and help you do something that we all need to do:

"Miss it and move on." - Amanda McKinney

I believe there are 3 levels of accountability that can serve us at different times in our life and business based on what we need:

  1. Accountability Through Tools - use your calendar or a project management tool to create a project plan and assign specific dates to when you will take action. This is good for people who can hold themselves accountable as long as they have a plan in place. This is good for people who aren't super nervous about the project or tasks. Find the option that works for you, put on blinders to other tools and go for it.

  2. Accountability Through Connection - use others to help you take action. This is good for people who struggle holding themselves accountable but if they share their project plan with someone else, they are more likely to follow through. This can look like an accountability buddy or connections through forums, memberships or programs you're already involved with.

  3. Accountability Through Payment - use the extra incentive of payment to help you take action. This is good for people who have been trying to reach a goal for a while and aren't making progress. This likely means you've tried the calendar or a planner, you've tried telling other people or buying a course and nothing is working. This indicates that you need to invest resources to help you take action. People who pay, pay attention and take action because you're invested. Find the best coach, mastermind or program that works best for you and aligns with your goal.

There will be times that each of these levels will work for us. You might only need a project management system to help you now but you may need a coach 6 months from now when you're trying to tackle something new in your business and you want to shorten the learning curve.

There are no right or wrong levels or answers for this but the key is to be honest with yourself so you can find the support you need.

*If you aren't sure which type is good for you, be sure to check out my course: Resilient Business Planning because I'm going much deeper into this. I'll share specific tips on how you can find the best accountability buddy once you know what's best for you too.

Takeaway Message/Action

We can either make progress or make excuses and if you're ready to make progress, this 3-part system will help you do that while also allowing for flexibility when "life happens".

Tapping into what you truly want, deciding to commit to the process, finding the tools that work for you, and knowing what accountability you need will lead you to success. This doesn't mean your life will be perfect or that you won't have things throw you off course but it will mean that you'll know how to navigate it all using the tools and technology that work best for you.

If you'd like even more details and resources, check out my course: Resilient Business Planning.

Course Image: Computer, ipad and phone with screenshots of course material

Until next time give yourself permission to use what works for you and grace along the way. I'll talk to you soon.

Resources Mentioned:

Ep. 211: The Last Planning System You'll Need In Your Business

"You can have focus, flexibility and follow through."

- Amanda McKinney


Let's Work Together

Image of book: Why Not You? An Accidental Entrepreneur's Guide To Success

I help women who stumbled into entrepreneurship, get out of the weeds and create a sustainable, organized business they are proud of and provides the flexibility they desire.


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