With the arrival of the first books, all my energies have shifted. For so long my focus has been on writing, nurturing my relationship with the subconscious mind that is allied to creative consciousness. I have allowed my Inner Game to dominate my thinking on weekends which is when I make time to do so.
However, taking the publication to others involves developing a strategy, an Outer Game of goals, plans and actions designed to yield my desired results. Of course, I’ve been thinking about it, but here is the moment of truth when actions speak louder than words, literally. There are questions to ask myself. Where do I go from here? What do I hope to accomplish? What will my activities look like once I have manifested my vision?
Although I used to think of strategic planning in finite, tangible terms, I have come to realize that it involves both inner and outer aspects. What we create is as much what we visualize in our minds as it is the outer manifestation. So what do we need to imagine? What mind movies need to stream across the screen of the conscious mind?
When I took strategic planning in graduate school, six areas stood out: products and services, clients or customers, personnel, operations, finances, marketing and the surrounding environment. As we answer questions, we define and affect all the other components of our results.
S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). – What is the environment in which we find ourselves? Is there a great deal of competition? What is our U.S.P., Unique Selling Proposition? What value do we bring to our prospects?
Products and Services. My mentors were quick to ask me: what happens after your book is published? And they weren’t referring only to book tours and book signings. Did I want to keep writing? Was I building a legacy as a thought leader? Or as a media coach? Was I building a business with products and services?
Personnel. Who needs to be part of the team? Do I want people to be in an office full-time or would I be better served by hiring services from outside vendors or virtual assistants (VAs). Do I have someone to handle the accounting? Do I need legal services?
Operations. How will we make our products? How will we deliver products and services? Will we find fulfillment companies or do it ourselves? What systems will we have in place for payment? Will we ever meet those who purchase in person or will we connect primarily via phone and Internet? Will we interact one-on-one or in larger groups? Will our office be “brick and mortar” or “click?” Will we work from home or obtain space for offices and production?
For the moment, my office will be virtual – my website – which will serve to dispense information on products and services, a taste of my teaching, core information and a point of sale. In earlier websites, I forgot the point of sale part, but if a website is to provide the means to build a business, it needs to help generate income.
I’ve spent the past few weeks writing content for the site, as well as working with Kim Barbieri, a visual marketer who has helped Peter and me with our books and websites for several years now. Kim helped me choose the look of the site by suggesting I browse through several sites I knew and pick out the ones I liked. That would serve as a jumping off point. It reminded me of how Steve Lenchner (Lenchner Glass) works with his clients, suggesting that they bring in samples to provide a feel for their likes. (Note: Both Kim and Steve have radio interviews talking about their businesses archived on my BlogTalkRadio show “Susan Sherayko Online” at BlogTalkRadio.com.)
Anyway, Kim had me visit the Template Monster. From there, it was all about choosing the architecture that would give me visual results I desired. My preliminary design utilizes a photo changer for visual interest until I feel more proficient working with audio and video on the site. The website – http://www.susansherayko.com – is live, however, I will continue to test and tweak it.
Marketing. How will I make people aware of my products and services in order to share them with others? Although we enjoy creating products, if we are to continue to do so, we will need financial resources. Whether we are selling or raising such resources, we will have to communicate with others in a way that inspires them to engage with us.
Writers have a variety of options based on whether they self-publish or are being handled by a publishing house, but they still have to choose how actively they participate in order to achieve the best results.
I will kick off my marketing campaign with a book launch. It’s a big party to celebrate publishing a book. Now, I have always enjoyed a fun theme party. For years, Peter and I held an annual beast feast in January to wrap up the holiday season. Not knowing exactly what one does at a launch party, I’ve been doing a little research. I think it can be lots of fun, especially when you consider that launches can incorporate both live and virtual attendees. You can invite everyone you have ever wanted to “have over” and they can join the festivities no matter where they are.
Additionally, you can invite “book bloggers” to participate when an area of your party space is set up with computers where people can interact, post comments and pictures and truly celebrate! I’ll keep you posted on how this goes as this is a new kind of party for me.
Finances. All of these answers that we design into our project, simple or complex, have to be fueled. They help us determine our budget, the means of financing and how it will be controlled.
Add one more category: Lifestyle. When all is said and done, what will your lifestyle look like? Look at the day to day way you’ll live, as well as the leisure possibilities when you are successful. Now is the time to edit your decisions before they are in place and more costly to shift. Of course, you can always make changes along the way. My plans have clarified over the months of going through the publishing process, working with my mentor and growing awareness of options.
Questions keep coming. How do you work with a V.A.? What is the most effective marketing plan for my lifestyle? How do you launch in cyberspace?
I’ve learned to ask better questions to help me attain the results I desire. Here’s hoping you do too.
To Your Success,