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Planning With a Funnel for Clarity and Focus

We sure do hear a lot about funnels these days. Sales funnels, marketing funnels, conversion funnels, opportunity funnels. But not so much about ‘planning funnels.’

A funnel is merely a channel that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom used for guiding something where you want it to end up. It’s been appropriated by business to help illustrate a process from general to specific; from large to small, from long term to short term. I use it here to elucidate our CEO School for Women™ planning process.

An effective way of planning is to start at the widest scope or longest term — maybe 3 years, or 5 years, even 10 years — and proceed to get more and more specific on a timeline as you guide your plan to your destination.

Why Planning?

By way of background and my interest in planning, let me tell you a little about my influences.

Planning has been a way of life for me since I was a little girl. My dad lived and breathed MBO (management by objective) which meant that starting at about age 5, I sat at the kitchen table on Saturday mornings and wrote my goals for the week. Didn’t everyone? So I come by this planning stuff honestly. I was ‘managed up.’

I plan everything, to a fault I fear sometimes. But it has helped me in myriad ways across all aspects of my life, not the least of which is with my clients who want to create and build a business. I offer them a model – a process – that’s simple to use that will keep them focused and press them to prioritize as they head for their definition of success.

Notice I said a ‘simple to use’ process. Planning is a critical aspect of any business activity, and it can be complex or simple. Mostly it’s rarely easy, certainly not in its execution!

On top of my propensity for simplicity, I also like practicality. Show me something I can put to use pronto!

At a recent workshop I presented this graphic to help demonstrate my process, and it was hands-down the most popular slide of all. It would be better animated as it’s anything but static. Planning must be dynamic to be valuable and worthwhile.

CEO School Planning Funnel

My Planning Process

This is a snapshot of my planning process — I call it the 5-Step Practically Painless Business Plan™  [PPBP]– and I invite you to grab a free copy by clicking the name. My funnel shows how to begin from your future vision for your business (or project, or product), and move down the timeline breaking the process into ever more specific and prioritized “bite-sized” steps along the way.

This is planning stuff simple, but not easy. It’s especially not easy to do all on your own. That’s why I accompany folks in CEO School™, webinars and workshops as they get underway learning this tool.

Once you’ve got it down, you can use it forever, for darned near everything! Got a school project for your PTO? The 5-Step Practically Painless Business Plan™ works. Got a family event coming up? The PPBP works. Got a new business idea for your company? PPBP is your go-to starting place.

I’d be super interested in your thoughts about this, and how you might find it most useful.

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