How to Prepare and Plan for New Projects
Posted by Todd Smith
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Time to mix it up a bit. Since my post for today Building Rapport By Making Others Feel Comfortable was accidently sent out on Saturday (Oops!), I am going to throw something different at you.
Today I am going to give you a little insight into the thinking I put into my projects. I am convinced that the fastest way to achieve any goal is to have a plan. The larger the goal, the more thought and time you must put into your plan.
I have learned over the years that 95% of all the people who take on large projects don’t have a clear strategy to accomplish their goals. It’s no wonder they don’t achieve them.
Whether you want to start a business, a blog or any other important project, I have learned that it’s best to start the process by transferring all your thoughts and ideas into a written document.
When I take on a project, the first thing I do is create a document called a “Creative Brief”. A Creative Brief as you will see in this article is nothing more than an organized list of your thoughts, ideas and goals.
If I am working with a team of people on a project, I will put together a Creative Brief and forward it to everyone on the team for their review. This avoids misunderstandings, gets everyone’s buy-in and ensures that everyone is clear on the desired outcome.
The balance of this lesson contains the Creative Brief I put together last year for Little Things Matter. I hope that by sharing my thought process you will gain some insights and strategies for your next project.
By following the strategy outlined in this document my blog had more than 50,000 pages viewed in it’s third full month. It has already become one of the top personal and professional development blogs and my podcasts are ranked in the top 100 business podcasts for 2010.
An inside look into Little Things Matter
First, I start EVERY project by draining my brain of all my ideas. I described this in detail in my post How to Put Together an Action Plan. From there I organize my ideas. Here’s what that looks like for the Little Things Matter blog.
Title: Little Things Matter
URL: www.littlethingsmatter.com (I purchased for $600)
Subtitle: Improving your life one thing at a time. (We considered 10+ different options before deciding on this subtitle.)
Mission: To help people achieve greater personal and professional success.
Vision: To see people around the world growing and developing by focusing on the little things they can do to become better people.
Name of category: Personal and professional success.
Target Market: Age 16+
- Barry, Gerrid, Jessica, Jake, Hannah, Joy, Josh, Danielle (These are my family members who I sought for feedback and insights. We had three group meetings to discuss different aspects of this strategy. We spent most of our time on the website.)
Big Picture Plan: To build a large and loyal community of people both on Facebook and through my blog that wants to achieve greater personal and professional success. (Every thing I want to accomplish will result from building a large audience of people who knows, trusts and likes me and who values my content.)
- Facebook page to be set up December 1st.
- Twitter page to be set up December 1st.
- Daily blog posts and podcasts will begin January, 2010
Blog and Podcast Details:
- Each lesson will teach one Little Thing that people can immediately implement into their lives.
- There will be one lesson each business day.
- People will have easy access to the lessons through every means available, including daily emails.
- Each lesson can be easily forwarded through every good option available. (Today, my lessons can be shared more than 150 different ways. To my knowledge we are not missing one option.)
Blog and Podcast Strategy
- For people to read/hear fresh perspectives on topics that can help them achieve greater personal and professional success.
- For people to feel that my lessons are a valuable use of their time
- For people to start their day by hearing/reading my lessons each morning.
- For people to learn something they can apply to their lives, today
- For people to feel so good about what they are learning that they want to tell everyone
- Fresh- non-regurgitated self-improvement information.
- Likable and authentic
- Encouraging and inspiring
- Relevant for the day
- Challenging and stimulating
- Common sense
Criteria for the Selection of Each Lesson
- Focus on personal and/or professional success
- Consistent with the brand listed above
- Must be of value to the majority of people age 16 and up
- Must be so good that people want to forward it to their friends
- Must be something people can apply to their lives TODAY
- A subject that is not controversial
Key Components of the Lessons
- Opening: Jingle on podcasts
- Great headlines
- Todd’s Opening: Hi this is Todd Smith with Little Things Matter.
- An brief explanation of the lesson
- Describe my Point of View (POV)
- Why it’s important and relevant
- Each daily lesson could include people’s natural reaction to the lesson and why it’s important to be intentional about focusing on it.
- The benefits of implementing my lesson and perhaps the downside if one doesn’t
- A call to action. I want people working on the lesson of the day, that day!
- An encouraging statement that makes people feel they can do it. (I haven’t been good at this.)
- Close: I want to close each lesson with a statement or quote people will remember.
- A great selection of words that most accurately describe my point
- Use definitions when applicable
- Use quotes from successful leaders when appropriate
- Tell stories, if time allows
Potential Profit Centers:
- Little Things Matter (Will be available October 15th)
- Little Things Matter in Leadership
- Little Things Matter in Sales
- Little Things Matter in entrepreneurship
- Little Things Matter in Network Marketing
- Little Things Matter for Teens
- Little Things Matter for Parents
- Little Things Matter—Momentum (Gerrid)
- Other popular categories
- Gift Books (Each page has a nicely written little thing)
- Ad specialties such a cube calendar with a little thing for the day.
- CD training programs
International: As my daily lessons grow in popularity, I will consider translating them into different languages, so I can begin to build a large global following. This will coincide with an international roll out plan for my book.
Cause: 10% percent of all book sales will be donated to the Little Ones Matter Foundation (www.littleonesmatter.org) where the money will be spent to help children in third world countries. The mission: Spreading Joy to children around the world through holistic care. (This site is not set up yet. My wife Joy will run it.)
Todd’s Personal Goals:
- To leave a legacy—If I were to die today, people would say, “Todd Smith was a successful guy”. I want to leave a legacy where people say, “Todd Smith has helped millions of people around the world through his teachings and charitable work.”
- For Little Things Matter to become a best seller. (I will need your help!)
- To create a series of Little Things matter books.
- To have the most popular personal and professional daily blog in the world.
- To appear on Larry King, The Today Show and Oprah. (The exposure for LTM on these programs would be huge.)
Additional Lesson Ideas (I have not had a chance to think about these ideas.)
- A weekly lesson where I get into more detail on an important topic
- A weekly leadership lesson
- A weekly sales lesson
- Interviews with successful people
- A monthly lesson on how I am building Little Things Matter
- Friday’s can be leadership Friday with a lesson on leadership
- Ask Todd seminars with live feeds
Marketing Options to Drive Subscriptions:
- See doc titled, Marketing (Perhaps I will share another time.)
- See doc titled, Website Creative Brief (Perhaps I will share another time.)
LTM Roll Out Plan
- See doc titled, LTM Plan (Perhaps I will share another time.)
As you can see, when I take on a project I drain my brain and put all my thoughts and ideas in a document. I then organize my notes into categories. From there I put together my plan and start working.
I hope you have enjoyed a look into my creative process and can apply some of it to your personal goals and objectives. If the feedback from this post is positive, I will be happy to share some of my other documents in the future.
If you have any questions, please ask me in the comments section below this post on www.littlethingsmatter.com.
You can achieve any goal that is important to you, if you will focus on the little things that matter.
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