As intuitive entrepreneurs we often struggle turning our lofty business goals into reality. We have expansive mindsets and big dreams for our businesses, but often get stuck when it comes to tangible action plans.
That’s why in my business I use an intuitive and strategic planning method, and let me tell you, it has been a total game changer! It was by using this planning method that I was able to take Biddy Tarot from a $100k company in 2012, to a $1.8 million company in 2020.
Here’s the thing, when you intuitively and strategically plan your business, you align the day-to-day work with your bigger vision. This helps you stay focused on what matters most and where you can have the biggest impact, and empowers your business decision making.
Today, I’m sharing with you my best tips on intuitive and strategic planning for your business success.
In this episode, you’ll hear about:
- Tips to get clear on your vision
- How to create your mission based on that vision
- Actionable steps for strategic planning
- Practices to help you connect to the energy of your business
- Why you need to be clear on your core desires
- The power of masterminding
Brigit E.: Welcome to the Intuitive Entrepreneur Podcast. I'm your host, Brigit Esselmont, intuitive business strategist and mentor. As the founder of Biddy Tarot, I turned my love for tarot into an abundant seven-figure business. The secret to my success - making intuition and strategy my entrepreneurial superpower, and now I'm inviting you to do the same. In this weekly podcast, I'll be sharing advice, tools and real-life examples from some of the best intuitive entrepreneurs to show you how you can trust your intuition, align with your purpose, and create a positive impact through your work. Let's make it happen.
Brigit E.: Hello and welcome back to the Intuitive Entrepreneur Podcast. Now, today I'm going to be talking with you about how I personally, strategically and intuitively plan for my business. And I want to share this with you because we've just heard from two amazing women. We heard from Kathleen Shannon about how she uses the chalkboard method to really envision her goals and make it a reality for her and for her business. And we also heard from Bethany Londyn about how to create that inner alignment with one's goals and to be able to flow really with the energy of life.
Brigit E.: So today, I kind of want to get into the nitty gritty of how we intuitively and strategically plan within our business at Biddy Tarot. And look, at the end of the day, you can go about this in whichever way that you like, but I do hope that from today you'll get some ideas and some inspiration about how you can create this beautiful strategic and intuitive alignment that can happen within your business if you are really intentional about the way that you plan your initiatives and also set up your goals.
Brigit E.: All right, so let's start with the really big picture. When I do strategically plan in the business, it typically starts with the big picture and then it comes all the way down, all the way down, all the way down into those granular tasks that we focus on day by day. But let's start with that big picture, and really what it starts with is the vision. I'll tell you what, the vision has taken many years to evolve and develop, and I don't think that the vision is ever really an end state. It's not something that you get to and you go, "Fantastic, I've got it right. That's it. It's not changing every game."
Brigit E.: I've found that over the years of running Biddy Tarot, this vision is fluid and it does evolve and develop. Granted, though, the vision that we have now is, I would say, quite a longstanding vision and something that I obviously feel very passionate about, and that is, for us, it's about bringing tarot to the masses and helping everyday people to connect and trust their intuition with tarot as a guide. And it's that vision that really propels everything that we do in Biddy Tarot.
Brigit E.: So think about what is your vision? What's the whole reason for your being? What is your purpose? What are you channeling through your business? Or perhaps the other way, what is the business channeling through you? And how are you here to make a difference and have an impact in this world? Yup. Vision isn't something that you can do in five minutes. It is something that does evolve. And if you're finding it a little bit tricky around what your vision is, you do take some time to meditate, to allow your mind just to wander and explore all different possibilities. Keep asking yourself, why is that important? Maybe it, "I'm here to serve women through spiritual coaching." Okay, well why is that important? "Well, really I want to get to empower women and help to reconnect them with their true selves." That might be your vision right there. Keep asking yourself, why is that important?
Brigit E.: All right, from the vision, then we establish our mission. Now, missions are a little bit more tangible. I actually think the mission is probably more of that masculine energy, whereas your vision is more of the feminine energy. So in the case of Biddy Tarot, our mission is to train and certify 10,000 certified Biddy Tarot readers. And the reason that we landed on this mission is because I know that when we have 10,000 or more certified Biddy Tarot readers out there, we will be having a huge impact. We will be bringing tarot to the masses and we will be helping everyday people connect with and trust their intuition with tarot as a guide. Because I know that when people take our programs, they are going to have such a transformative experience not just for themselves, but also for others in the way that they serve others through reading tarot and even just through their good vibes and their transformation that has happened as well.
Brigit E.: So the mission is really that tangible manifestation of the vision. And are we going to have 10,000 certified Biddy Tarot readers overnight? No way. I think we're around 500, 600 so far. So that mission is okay to be something that is big, giant, way out there, and you don't have to be in a rush to get to that destination. But what it does do, it sets that tone for this is what we are really working towards. Might be to help a million female entrepreneurs. It might be about even just reaching out, coaching 100 psychic healers. It could be anything, but I think what makes the mission special is that it's usually a more tangible, measurable manifestation of your vision, and it's that really long-range goal that you are working towards. So vision and mission, they are things that happen over time and they evolve before you really land on what feels good for you.
Brigit E.: The next thing that I do once I know my vision and my mission is the three-year journey, and I've got to admit, it is a little bit tricky. It is hard to envision, well, in three years time what is possible for me because I can tell you something, that if I go back three years from now, so we're in 2020 right now, if I go back to 2017 and I imagine myself in 2017 trying to imagine what's possible in the next three years, I don't think I could have ever imagined where I am right now because we are in that current mind frame. We only know what's possible in that current state and there are many more things that are possible that we can't even imagine. So I do think there's always that limitation in terms of the three-year journey, but does that mean that you shouldn't be doing it at all? No way.
Brigit E.: What I love about the three-year journey is it is this spaciousness to dream. It's this place where you can go, where am I heading? What is evolving and unfolding? If I had no barriers or restrictions or obstacles, what would unfold for me over the next three years? Where do I see myself going? Where do I see my business going? And even where does my business want to go? Because, I've talked about this in the past, our business has its own soul and its own destiny, and when we go through an intuitive and strategic business planning process, we are tapping into that destiny of our own businesses. So where does the business want to go over the next three years?
Brigit E.: Now, I find that this really comes out through meditation visualization, particularly if you can play a bit of a movie in your mind and imagine as if you were to go three years into the future, what would life look like, and just let your subconscious mind talk to you and play different images up onto the movie of your mind. I also find that journaling can really help with this, and you might ask yourself, "Well, who am I serving in three years? What impact am I having? Who am I working with? What does my team look like? Where am I working? What are we working on?" All sorts of questions. Keep just asking yourself more and more and digging a little bit deeper and just see what comes forth in that process.
Brigit E.: Again, I find that this is an evolving process and, in fact, I quite like to connect in with that three-year journey every six months or so and check in, say, "Well, does that feel in alignment or has something else become more apparent to me?" It also helps us get more clear about what are our true core desires and wants, what do we really want in our life? And digging that little bit deeper beyond like, "Oh, I want to be a millionaire, oh, I want to retire by 30." Do you, really? What would you do after 30 if you were completely retired? So that three-year vision or the three-year journey, rather, helps you get into that space.
Brigit E.: So those are really the three dreamy spaces - the vision, the mission, the three-year journey. And then the next piece is getting into the actual, I'd say like the mechanics of taking that vision, mission and three-year journey and starting to turn it into something really tangible and into a clear plan that you can start to put in place in your business. Now, what I typically like to do is at least once a year, I go, I book an Airbnb for a few days and I have that space to firstly really dream and reflect on the past six or 12 months, but then to invest my time and my energy into these next few steps that I'm going to explain to you.
Brigit E.: I also have to say that in the past, I've always done this on my own, pretty much in that solopreneur business model, but just the end of last year, in December, I had my director of operations fly over from New Zealand and we did it together. We spent a whole week envisioning 2020 in our growth strategy for 2020. And it was a different process, certainly a little bit different to doing it all on your own, but it was beautiful because it helped me go beyond perhaps the container of my own mind. So I think in this process, if you at least have someone that can act as a sounding board or someone that can ask questions of you as you feel into that new year and the strategies for you, that can have a whole lot of value.
Brigit E.: All right, so in this retreat, this is what I do. I start to think about taking into account my three-year journey. What is the annual strategy for this year? What are all of the things... And this is really where it's brainstorming - what are all of the things that I could do this year or as a business we could do? So for example, when we were looking at 2020, we were just brainstorming all sorts of things. Oh, wow, we could have a tarot app. I can't tell you how many years we've had that on the kind of wishlist, like yeah, tarot app. Oh, what if we had like a dedicated app for our programs and our products? What if we started offering paid readings through the website? What if we did some more of this funnel optimization? And what if we did like more metrics tracking? And in this process, we ended up with a heap of sticky notes all around the place with all of these different ideas.
Brigit E.: And then we went through a process of prioritization and we thought, okay, what is it that we really want to see in the business? And for 2020, for us, it's about revenue growth because we are also expanding our team, and it's important that we also expand our revenue to be able to support the growth that's happening within the team. Actually, back in 2019, I really started to get this feeling of like, "You know, I want to take this company further. I want to take it to that $3 million mark, I want to take it to the $5 million mark, and so on." And the reason for that, not just for the money, it's more for this like bringing tarot to the masses. Once I was clear on my vision, I knew that this company needed to grow, it wanted to grow.
Brigit E.: And so with all of that in mind, that's when we started doing this brainstorming and then prioritizing, well, what is going to help us grow? What is going to help us bring in that extra revenue in a profitable or efficient way? Because there's no point bringing in tons of revenue if you're also bringing in tons of expenses, right? And we also started to think about, well, actually what about our customer journey for this year? What do we want that to look like? I think over the years we've often gone through this sort of expansion, contraction, expansion, contraction, where we might expand like, "Oh, lots of new products this year," and then go, "Whoa, actually that was a little bit too many. Now, how do we refine and focus?"
Brigit E.: What I started to feel into for 2020 was actually, you know what, if our mission is to train and empower 10,000 certified Biddy Tarot readers, what is going to help us get there? Well, maybe it's about simplifying the customer journey, and we started to look at, okay, what would be the things that we would need to do in order to simplify that journey? So more brainstormed ideas. And then we went through that whole process of prioritization and also the sequence of events. Because if we wanted to simplify our business model, then we realized that, okay, we've actually got to rebuild a few things so that it aligns with this new, simplified business model. All right, well, we've got to rebuild that first, and then we can focus on the sales and marketing strategies that go along with that, and then we've got to refine this other thing over here. It all started to come together.
Brigit E.: I think sometimes it can be a bit of a frustrating experience because you go from this very expansive mindset, and us, as intuitive entrepreneurs, we love expansion, we love ideas, we love going into that space of dreaming about everything that is possible. But you go through that process and you realize, "Oh, actually, I need to really cut this down by half, maybe even a quarter or three quarters." And think about, well, what is actually achievable when we really map it out? What can we do this year?
Brigit E.: So this annual strategy started from those big brainstorming ideas to prioritizing in alignment with the vision, mission and three-year journey, and then started to get a little bit more tactical and go, "All right, well, what can we actually achieve in this time frame?" And that's when it comes into our quarterly priorities and our quarterly plans, because we can start to look at, all right, if we know what it is that we want to do this year, what can we do each quarter? What do we need to do each quarter in order to achieve our goals for the entire year? And this is where we establish quarterly priorities, so it's a list of the key initiatives that we have planned for that quarter and the expected results.
Brigit E.: So for example, if we launch in Q1, well, we'd like to see X number of students come into the program through that launch. So that's a result. If we get to the end of that quarter and we're still in a launch development phase, then okay, it's maybe the result is that we're 50% complete with preparing for the launch. If it's to rebuild a program, maybe we're 50% complete with that as well. So the quarterly plans are that list of key initiatives plus the expected results. And that way, we can be very clear about, okay, when we get to the end of this quarter, this is what we want to have done and achieved and these are the results that we want to have seen because that sets us up for the next layer, which is the monthly planning and alignment.
Brigit E.: So let's say quarter one, if we want to be 50% complete with a launch development by the end of March, then what is it that we need to do in January to make sure that we're on track to meet that? So then with the monthly planning, what we do is we have our top five priorities for that month. We say, these are the five priority projects that we are working on across the team. And that way, an individual knows exactly how they're contributing to the overall strategy of the business, and also they're not getting overwhelmed. Maybe five is still too many, but anyway, they're not getting overwhelmed with like, "Oh, I've got 10 projects I've got to do. Which one am I meant to be focusing on?" Or, "All right, Brigit, you keep giving me all of these extra tasks, but I thought these are my priorities over here."
Brigit E.: So having those priorities allow us to be very clear about what do we focus on this month, so that we can get to the end of this quarter and feel really good about our progress, so that we can get to the end of this year and know that we've grown intentionally and in the way that we want to.
Brigit E.: Now, there are some times those little sneaky projects that creep in that are beyond the top five priorities and, ideally, you want to eliminate those completely. Everything should be aligned to the top five priorities, and if they're not, then they should be moved or either delayed and postponed, or realigned and made to be more aligned with the priorities.
Brigit E.: What we also do at this monthly planning and alignment phase is look at the success factors. So okay, if by the end of the month we want to have this launch up and running, what is it that we need in place now to be successful for that, and what kind of resources or team members do we need to have in place? Do we need to be setting up more meetings so we've got better communication? Do we need to bring in a contractor? What do we need to be doing as leaders to be supporting this in the most effective way? Are there any risks that are coming up that we need to mitigate? So getting clear on those monthly priorities and then getting clear on the success factors, it's really, really important.
Brigit E.: All right, so you're still with me. We've done annual strategy, which we typically do once a year, get really clear on what the annual strategy is. Then we've mapped out the quarterly priorities for all four quarters. And then each month we're doing a monthly planning and alignment to make sure that we're on track to meet those quarterly goals. Then each week, this is what we do with the team, everyone in the team on a Friday fills out a Google sheet and we ask, "What did you achieve this week? What support do you need and what actions do you commit to in order to move closer to your goals and your priorities?" So it's a reflection on the week that's just gone, right? Yeah, this is what I've done this week. Yeah, that's feeling pretty good.
Brigit E.: All right, as I'm thinking about next week, what support do I need? Oh, it'd be really great if my manager could give me a little bit more guidance around this. Oh, I really need my colleague to pick up this piece of work so that I can stay focused on X, Y, Z. And then also, what do you commit to to move closer to your goals? This is really key because you need to have that continual awareness on your goals and your priorities, and then you need to know that what you have planned next week aligns to those priorities. This is about intentional work, working very intentionally. And then, of course, it goes right down to the daily tasks. So when you start your day, are you clear about the three most important things that you need to do today? And if you already know what actions you're doing throughout the week, then it should be fairly easy to look at those three tasks during the day for your day to go right. Is that going to get me to where I need to go this week, and this month, this quarter, and this year?
Brigit E.: So you see that when we actually have things really lined up, even at that very high level of vision, mission, and three-year journey, that it all trickles and it cascades all the way through the organization. And what this means is that not only are you, as the leader of your organization, focused on what it is that you need to and want to do in your business to get to where you want to go, but also your team is very clear, and it helps your team to know what's expected of them and where to put their energy and effort, and also to know when to push back on you and say, "Well, you said you wanted this, but I can't really see how it fits in with our priorities right now. Are you sure that you want to do that? And what do you want me to stop doing so that I can pick that up?" So this is all a very intentional structure as opposed to strategically planning your business.
Brigit E.: Now, the things that we are starting to put in place that will really support this for Biddy Tarot, and perhaps you might be thinking about it too for your business and your team, so we have the annual retreat, like the business planning retreat. We are starting to now have like a quarterly planning week. So, again, I'm going to fly over my director of operations, Kayleen, and we'll spend a week looking at the next quarterly priorities, realigning, making sure that we're on track, making sure that we've got the right resourcing in place to deliver on what we want to deliver, making sure our KPIs, our key performance indicators are really bang on and really stick, and then we can communicate that through to the team as well, but also having a regular meeting framework within our business and our teams to make sure that week by week, are our leaders aligned and clear about what they need to do within their teams to make the company priorities their reality? And even one-on-ones, does each team member feel like they have the support that they need as well?
Brigit E.: So that's something that is coming into fruition and I think it's really important to get it right so that it can support that whole strategic planning framework.
Brigit E.: The other piece is around metrics and this dashboard reporting. That's what we're looking at right now. So up until this point, we've had an Excel spreadsheet that gives like data and results, but it's a little bit inconsistent and it doesn't always give the information that I need to share with the team in order to talk about our progress on company priorities and annual strategy and so on. So I think that to support this even further, we need this metrics dashboard in place. So that's a bit of a work in progress.
Brigit E.: So there you have it. That is a real insight of you to our intuitive and strategic planning at Biddy Tarot, and perhaps it's given you a little bit of inspiration too about what you can put in place in your team and your business to support that intentional planning process.
Brigit E.: Now, you know what, I actually haven't spoken a lot about really the intuitive element, but I have to say it is really interwoven into our processes. So, for example, when we do monthly planning, not only are we looking at goals and results and key initiatives and so on, we also draw an oracle card to feel into the energy for that month and how that integrates with the way that we are going to operate. Also, when we are thinking or moving forward with a project, oftentimes, I'm feeling into the energy of that and thinking, "Where do we need more alignment here? Is this still in alignment?" I've been working on projects where I'm like, "Yes, yes, yes, yes. Oh, hang on, no, no. Something's out of alignment." And I've had to really shift gears because things didn't feel like they were lining up in a way that was creating ease and flow.
Brigit E.: So that's where the intuitive piece really comes into this strategic planning is, it's not really a step, it is just part of the way that you do your planning in your business and the way that you're paying attention to those inner feelings and your little gut instincts and little pulls and tweaks and, yeah, they're just kind of pushing you around in different ways and showing you that maybe you're not seeing the full picture. So that's the intuitive side.
Brigit E.: All right. Well, I think that that is everything for today. So I do hope that this has been helpful and I hope that you're able to integrate this with the real insight that we heard from Kathleen around the chalkboard method and bringing those goals into fruition through visualizing and actually seeing them, and also with Bethany, and being able to trust your body wisdom to feel into this annual strategy and quarterly priorities and so on, and just make sure that it's resonating with you on a deeper level, not just from a numbers or a stats or a finances and like, oh, that makes sense, so therefore I must go with it. Well, if something doesn't quite feel right, pay attention to that and integrate that with your planning process.
Brigit E.: All right, my friends, it has been an absolute joy to be able to share this with you, and I hope it makes a difference to your planning process as well. All right, that is it for now. Take care, and we'll chat soon.
Brigit E.: Thank you for joining me for today's episode of the Intuitive Entrepreneur Podcast. If you loved this episode, please leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. It helps to get the word out, and of course, I read every single comment. And if you want to discover how to plan your next big launch using the cycles of the moon, make sure that you download my free guide, Lunar Launches. You'll find it over at brigit.me/lunar-launches. That's brigit.me/lunar-launches. Now, these are the exact strategies I've used in my business to create six-figure launches time after time, and now you can use them too. You'll find it all inside of my free guide, Lunar Launches over at brigit.me/lunar-launches.
Brigit E.: All right, that is it for now. I cannot wait to see you next time. Bye for now.
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