One Person Business Plan: Turning dreams into goals

We’re taking the next step in the one person business plan. You’ll end up with a list of the right goals for the year ahead.

The one person business plan focuses your actions for the coming year. And because you and your business are one, it must include personal and professional goals.

Last time we identified your aspirations for the coming year. This alternative approach forces you out of planning autopilot. You don’t want to set the same goals every year only to be disappointed. That’s no way to live and it won’t help you succeed in business . 

Challenge: Create Your Collections

You’re resources are limited as a one person business. It’s important to look for synergies and conflicts. Collections will help. 

The objective is to group similar aspirations together. Remember, this is your plan and you define what represents a collection. 

In the example below, the first sort is between personal and professional. The second sort groups similar or related aspirations together. 

Sample aspiration list (a small selection of one client’s entire list):

Personal Aspirations

Includes others

  • Travel, take several family vacations
  • Our family is debt free (except for the mortgage)
  • Spend more quality time with spouse

Individual focused

  • Read many more of the books on my bookshelf
  • I have more energy throughout the day and evening

Crosses personal and professional

  • I take weekends off from the business

Observation: In this example, there may be a conflict between the first two goals. Further exploration and clearly defining the goals will help highlight conflicts and suggest necessary changes. 


Business Development

  • Have a full client schedule.
  • Doubled revenue to support ‘hiring’ contractors for bigger projects

Team Development

  • Have an on-demand team of collaborators for bigger projects

Process Improvement

  • Spend less time on office paperwork

Professional Development

  • I’ve taken my remote project management skills to the next level.

Challenge: Fill the Gaps

At this point, we’re still using aspirations. Before we turn these into goals, it’s important to close any gaps. As a one person business, you wear many hats. Take time to identify the roles you plan and what goals may be missing for each role. 

Depending upon where you are in your business’s life cycle, your attention will fall on one or more of these roles: 

In the Entrepreneur role, you focus on business opportunities and growth. What does the year ahead hold for these areas? 

As the Operations Manager your focus is on the systems and processes that keep the business running. Is there something here that needs to change?

You are an expert and deliver the good or services of your business. What does this role need in the coming year to have success?

Remember, if you don’t have a goal, you most likely won’t take action. 

Challenge: Turn Aspirations Into Goals

It’s time to turn these aspirations into true goals. It’s true, clients who write down and make their goals SMART, increase their chance of success. For those 2 or 3 people who have never heard of SMART goals, each goal statement must be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

Quantifiable measures provide strong feedback and clear success or failure. If you can put a number to your aspiration and make it a goal, do it. If not, we need to work on bringing clarity to what it means to you to be successful.

What’s important? If all else fails and you can’t create a SMART goal for your aspiration, use this one powerful question to gain clarity:

How will you know when you’ve achieved this goal?

If you don’t have clarity on what success looks like for this particular goal, you will be doing yourself a disservice. 

You need to gain enough clarity in your definition of success for this goal to know when and if you’ve achieved it. You need to know if you’re on the right track as you work toward the goal. If you don’t gain clarity, you’ll end up stuck in the quicksand of self sabotage, never achieving your goals and never experiencing fulfillment. Not a happy ending for certain.


Aspiration: Have a full client schedule.

SMART Goal: At the end of each quarter, I have signed commitments from eight clients for our 3 month program. 

Challenge: A Strong Why

As a one person business professional it’s important to make sure you are working on the right projects, at the right time, for the right reason. I don’t need to tell you how challenging it is to run a one person business. 

You don’t have the luxury of wasting your most precious resource (time) on anything that isn’t important. It’s also important to have a strong why to give you the motivation needed to clear any obstacles or hurdlers on the road to achieving your goals. 

Begin assessing your goals by identifying the why behind each.

Ask yourself ‘Why’ for each goal as many times as necessary until you come to the true reason. (It usually only takes 3 to 5 times.)


Why do I want a full client schedule? To have steady income

Why do I want a steady income? To reduce stress and worry over money.

Why do I need to reduce stress and worry? So I can enjoy my work AND my play time – being present with those that are important to me.

If you find you can not identify a strong enough why for any of your goals, it may be the wrong goal or the wrong time. What would happen if you took that goal off your list for this year?

These challenges will help you turn your aspiration list into clearly defined goals, each with a strong why.

Next time we’ll look at turning these goals into actionable plans.