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Make Money Online- the baby steps part 26

By now, you are aware of the three different kind of plans we need to define in order to give us the best possible ground for success. We need a business plan (strategic), a content plan (tactical), and a weekly and daily plan (operative). We´ve reached “Make Money Online- the baby steps part 26″, where we will dissect the first of those three plans; the business plan. In the two following parts of our guide, part 27 and 28 we will dissect our content plan, and our weeklyand daily plans respectively. Get a pen and paper ready. It´s time to dive right in and write down your business plan. But first a word of caution. Don´t confuse what we are about to do with a traditional business plan.

The only sane reason behind  a traditional business plan that we can think of is to find funding. How it works? Well, when you are in a “money meeting” and the suits at the other side of the table are contemplating over whether to hand over that fat check you so badly need in order to be able to expand your business, you need something to present them with in return. After all, that is only fair. Quid pro quo, guys. They give you a couple of millions. You give them some useless papers in return. Well, you don´t actually refer to them as papers (and definitely not as useless). No one does. That would be inappropriate. Instead you handle them with utmost respect and always solemnly refer to them as your “business plan”. It helps if you can fake an air of mystique when doing this. That way, if you are lucky, no one will realize there is an elephant in the room. And no one will call you on your bluff, and strip you of that fat check your business so desperately needs.

The business plan we will be creating is anything but a dull, useless document. It is a vivid and passionated description of your vision. It is a direction. It is determination. It is drive. And it is the unbreakable will to achieve and push through. Doesn´t really sound like a business plan does it? Good. In school you were probably taught that a business plan was a dull, detailed, extensive document you had to finish before you even dreamed about doing business. Well, we happen to know quite a few successful entrepreneurs that haven´t done a single (extensive) business plan in their entire lives. That actually includes most- but not all of us. Nobody is perfect.

You think our view is somewhat cynical? We agree. It is the result of sitting in on hundreds of sales pitches from budding entrepreneurs. Also it is the result of being an entrepreneur for way to many years. We´ve heard it all. We´ve probably seen most of it. In general people put too much trust in business plans. At least the people who have never been entepreneurs themselves do. Take the average bank employee. They actually believe that a thourough analysis of the business plan is going to help them decide whethe  a businees will fly or not. If you´ve been around the block you know that a business plan in most cases isn´t worth the paper it is written on. Instead show us a couple of semi-crazy entrepreneurs with solid business knowledge, proof of concept and who are ready to take on the world, and we would be more than likely to fork over some dole. Enough about the traditional business plan. Your business plan is a strategic document. A strategic plan should present a vision, goals and structure for the coming 3-5 years. Keep in mind that successful internet entrepreneurs are very flexible. Your plan will change lots of times, but you will need a reference point to come back to throughout all the noise. Let´s look at the business plan you need to create, and how you should use it in  constructive manner.

1. Vision. A good vision instills some inspiration and balls in your business. Think big and ask yourself what you would like to achieve with your website within the nex 3-5 years. What would it look like if you could allow yourself to dream. What would you want to accomplish with it. A vision, is in many ways a dream. A dream about where you would like to go. A famous vision is that of Bill Gates, one of the founders of Microsoft. He dreamed about a computer on every man´s desk. At the time that seemed like a ridiculous and unrealistic dream. Today, that dream has been achieved and surpassed in many countries around the globe. Sometimes a vision needs to feel a bit too large to handle. That is the whole point. The vision is the guiding star of you goals. Make the star stand out and shine.

2. Goal. You goals are built around your vision. Your goal could be to become one of the top 5 websites in your market in less than 5 years. Your goal could be to make x amount of money from your web projects in less than 5 years. We often get the question whether it is possible to make a living of your website(s) in less than 5 years. Hell yea. But it ain´t gonna be easy. If you give it your all, you may have a chance of achieving just that. If not, it is unlikely. As you will see later on, all these goals are only there to provide refererence points but more importantly to make sure we take action and work our plan in a disciplined and strategic manner. We have goals for a number of different stats for our internet projects. We are looking to have 1 000 number of visitors on a daily basis for some sites. On some of our sites we are looking to reach specific conversion rates, sales, page ranks, repeat visitors or social media stats. We do this for our websites as a group as well as for individual sites. All those goals boil down to what we need to do in order to achieve them. Most of us know what needs to be done in order to get a specific result (at least on a subconscious level). The problem is to force yourself to do it. That takes discipline, goals and a god strategy to reach those goals. We have covered the goals and the discipline. It´s time to focus on the strategy.

3. Strategy. Your goals answer the what. Your discipline answers the why. And your strategy will answer the how. How will you achieve your goals over the next 3-5 years? What work needs to be done? What investments do you need to make? And so on. What we have done? We have simply written down all the corresponding actions we feel are needed in order to reach our goals for the next 3-5 years. Turns out we have quite a few tasks to do. And that´s just the way we like it. We know good thing´s take time to accomplish. Good things are a large series of tiny steps. Rarely are good things to be found in one giant leap (although sometimes it may come across that way). We have work to be done in the content department for many of our websites over the coming 3-5 years. We have work to do in terms of building a couple of new sites. We have specified deadlines for these sites over the next couple of years. Since we are not naive we realize that a lot of things can change in the coming years, and we are likely to implement a couple of changes in our long-term strategy. That´s ok. If we eliminate one choir that needs to be done, we simply add another. The workload stays the same. The overall strategy remains the same. We are just tweaking details and adapting to the reality as it is unfolding before us.

Many make the mistake of  focusing too much on what the competition is doing, and adapting their strategy accordingly. This will only lead to a choppy, erratic business behaviour. We know from experience that it may be good to take a quick glance at your competitors from time to time, but we also know that the magic happens when you focus on what YOU are doing. If YOU are always improving and working tirelessly towards YOUR long-term vision, THEY don´t matter. Don´t worry about THEM. Let THEM worry about YOU. While it is likely you are not the market leader, you could still be the market innovator, or the quality reference point of your market. Don´t be afraid to step away from the cloud. While many pioneers do end up with arrows in their backs, there is a number of them that move past the difficulties and go on to found prosperous colonies, and even cities.

4.Core Values. Core values tells you something about the beliefs of a company. It is the moral backbone. We love Google´s “Don´t be evil” slogan. Easy, to the point and catchy, it conveys core values in a terrific way. We believe that core values are more important than ever before. We are experiencing a major migration where traditional businesses are setting up shop on the web. But many things have changed. Entire industries are under attack. And where there is change there is also opportunity. Whenever we experience a revolution, you always get a wild west atmosphere. Since there is so much money to be made by cutting a few corners this will attract the wrong type of people. The worst is definitely behind us but there are still quite a few “bad elements” present on the web. The ability to commit crimes hiding behind an anonymous computer screen has proved to be irresistable for many criminal elements. Lets just say that the risk/reward ratio is too favourable to overlook. Besides the obviously criminal elements there are other shady elements still making bundles of money by playing an unfair game. They are hiding on a huge, borderless network passing over several legal territories. They are, clever, tech savvy and incredibly difficult to stop.

In such an environment, we feel it is even more important to have a strong set of core values. Your core values should be followed to a note. They should be trasnparent and they should be transparent to your visitors. For instance, Richopedia.com does not do a lot of marketing or affiliating. In those cases we do, we always inform the visitor about us being paid. This is important for two reasons. The visitor will notice that the website is being managed with integrity. And we want to make the visitor aware of a potential conflict of interest. If the visitor feels the slighest doubt that we are recommending a product simply to receive revenues they can themselves choose to skip the purchase. Then again, we never recommend anything that we haven´t tried ourselves. If we recommend it we have tried it, and we loved it. That´s the deal. Another core value we try to live by is that information wants to be free. We could easily have written dozens of e-books instead of writing all the free content on Richopedia.com but we believe information wants to be free. We feel that the migration of information to the internet has only begun, and we are convinced that in the future all information on the internet will be free. Besides we can´t stand all those “Get rich quick secret method”-books out there. Richopedia.com is simply our act of defiance to the “get rich quick”-movement, whatever form or shape it presents itself in. So there you have it. Make the internet a better place. And guys, don´t be evil.

So what´s the fuss about, you might ask yourself. This business planisn´t all that different to a traditional one. Maybe. But it is the application of it further down the road that will bring real value to your business in a way a traditional business plan will not. Traditional business plans are rarely created to be acted upon. They are snazzy documents for the board meetings or the fund raising sales pitches. They are meant to be perused and discussed in endless, pointless meetings. And then they are meant to be archived. If you´re looking for action, you need to look elsewhere.

Successful entrepreneurs know what it takes to succeed. They are people of action. They like practical application, and leave most of the theory to someone else. That´s the difference between the business plan that we have created, and the traditional sort. Traditional business plans look good on paper and sound great in theory. Our business plan has only one purpose; to propel ouurselves into action. Our business plan gives us singleness of purpose, a vision and a strategic overview. But in order to make the most of it we need to take our business plan and break it down into a content plan and a weekly and daily plan. Once you do this the underlying power of your business plan begins to shine through. And that is when our plans go from being a useless piece of document to an uresistable call to action. And that, dear interpreneur, is where the magic truly happens.

So join us as we dissect the contents of the “Content Plan” in the next part of our guide; “Make Money Online- the baby steps part 27″.


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