Business Planning, Part Two

A couple of nights ago, Blaze and I had our semi-annual corporate business meeting. Now, I’m not going to go through all the things that we went through in any detail – that’s our business. But I thought it might be useful if I went over in general what we did.

We divided the meeting into three sections:

The status of KRP 2019 YTD
List of accomplishments for 2019
Planning 2020 Calendar year

For the first item, I went through the 2018 business plan, reading it out loud. Most of the things on the business plan we were able to check off. A few we pushed out, some to 2021. Other things we crossed out, because while we thought we were going to do them, they turned out to not be in alignment with our business after all. The next day, when I wrote these up, I put them all as notes in the 2018 business plan document.

We covered numbers at that point, how sales were for the year, numbers of books sold lifetime to date, etc.

The second item was fun, talking about all the things we’d done for the year. This wasn’t strictly all business because we also talked word count and number of novels written. I also put all of this information into the 2018 business planning document, at the very end of the document, so we can keep track of these sorts of things as well, even though not all of them are part of the business plan.

The third part was fairly easy. When we went to NINC, we both came back with lists of things to do. Those became a large part of the business plan “to do”.

Because remember, your business plan is merely a big ol’ TO DO list.

I assigned quarters to each of the items, either as we talked about them or when I wrote them up. We have a lot of items scheduled for Q1 and Q2, only a few for Q3, and nothing at this point for Q4, or at least, nothing specifically assigned.

Almost all of the items in the business plan are big ticket items, such as “set up websites for selling directly.” The business plan doesn’t include the individual tasks for those items – they go on my board and weekly to do list.

In addition, there are some items that are ongoing, such as “Do ongoing work for translation” or “Do ongoing work for audio”, etc. Again, the smaller, individual tasks that those involve aren’t part of the big business plan, but go on my board broken out into smaller tasks.

You’ll note that there are only so many things that we’re planning on for the business at this time. When we have the midyear business meeting, we’ll end up adding a bunch of things for Q3 & Q4, based on where we are at the time. It doesn’t make sense to us, not given how quickly publishing changes and how our business might change, to try to plan out the entire year.

I kept notes on everything we talked about, then I created two different documents.

The first was the official, 2019 corporate business meeting notes. For WA, I need to file those meeting minutes with the state.

I did not come up with the structure for the meeting minutes on my own. I use the one from the “Incorporate Your Business” book from NOLA press. (When you buy the book, you get access to all kinds of forms for free, then you can just copy and paste as needed.)

You need to file those meeting minutes in a timely manner if you want to maintain your corporation. This is why we have the annual meeting in the first part of November, so that I can be sure to file everything before the due date of Dec 1.

The second document was the 2020 business plan. Though I typed everything up from the meeting, there were still things that we missed, forgot to talk about or add. I’ve printed the plan out, Blaze is going to go through it. We’ll wrangle things a bit more before I consider the document “finished.”

As part of my ongoing work, I have a reminder on the fifth of every month to review the business plan. This way, I make sure that I’m doing the things that I said I’d do, that nothing has fallen through the cracks.

And so that’s it! This is what we’ve done in terms of business planning, in general.

The next post will be more about what exactly we’ve included on that business plan, how I’ve organized it and broken the goals up.

How is your business planning going? What is your structure for keeping track of that big ol’ TO DO list?

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