Talking without thinking is like shooting without taking aim.
~ Proverb ~
Regardless whether you are treating your professional speaking opportunity as a hobby or a full blown business it would be a good idea to plan out your strategy. Writing a business plan for your venture is the place to start.
The bottom line is this is a business and has the potential to earn you a very large income. Look at this and pursue it as a professional speaker and as a business person. You will likely be generating some or lots of income and this needs to be dealt with according to the laws of your state or province. Along with your business plan keep proper records of all transactions for tax purposes. This is book keeping which we will discuss after the business plan.
We will explain the various aspects of business planning for professional speakers and provide you a blank template to write your own business plan. Visit http://www.danieljanssen.com and click on the link “Small Business Resources” to take you to specific links or the Main Business Resource Page. There you will find most of the resources, links and organizations to research your market and write an effective business plan.
I like to start with your mission and vision. This is why you are doing what you are doing and lays the foundation for developing your marketing materials, defining your audience, creating a marketing plan and branding yourself as a speaker, trainer, author or consultant.
Vision is one of the most powerful gifts of human beings. The ability to see the future in our mind and heart can literally sustain life. Vision is our dreams of a future, something you see with your heart and a characteristic of leaders. It is to begin with the end in mind. Habit #2 from Steven R. Covey’s best selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Our vision can be developed and fine tuned by continually reflecting upon our major life goals. Our vision also becomes clearer and clearer as we move toward it through a plan of action. From our vision, goals and values we can develop an equally powerful mission statement.
Write out what you see in your heart and mind. Clarify your vision for yourself and your business.
- Do you see yourself as a keynote speaker travelling the world speaking on your area of experitse?
- Do you see yourself as a seminar leader changing peoples lives in local workshops and training sessions?
- Do you see yourself as a radio or television talk show host interviewing famous people?
What ever it is begin to form a vision for you and your business in your mind and more important in print. It has been said that if you can not write it out then it isn’t clear enough to pursue. The following processes with help you to form a clear vision and mission statement to begin your journey.
Remember that this is not set in stone. It is a good idea to revisit your mission, vision and values once you have completed your business plan to just fine tune what you see, especially if you add new team players, customers and clients.
I believe the place to start is values clarification. This is a most powerful exercise for you personally and as a group if you have a partner or two. Clarity on your values will help in more ways than you can imagine.
- It lays the foundation for building an image as a person let alone a business.
- Your values clarified and prioritized lets other know what kind of person they are dealing with.
- Values clarification will help you make decisions when push comes to shove.
- Values clarification sets the strandard for which you intend to act and behave.
- Values has direct relation to our character. It causes us to be more thoughtful about who we are and what is important to us.
- Our values should be included in the development of a mission statement.
- Core values should be considered as a statement to display on our marketing materials.
“The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he would never be found out.”
Values Clarification: It is very empowering to choose a set of values that you promise to live by and allow to be part of a guiding governing philosophy and ultimately part of your personal, family or corporate mission statement. The results from this exercise will be used to help create our mission statement.
Below is a list of 126 values and virtues, there may be others and you can just simply add them to the lists. Simply do the following;
- Highlight or circle all of the values and virtues you feel are important to you.
- Out of all those you have selected choose approximately 10.
- Of those 10 choose 4 or 5 to be your core values.
- Once you have your “core values” write a brief statement to describe what those values mean. This will be your Core Values Statement.
- List your top ten out of all those you have circled.
- Circle approximately 3-5 out of those ten to be your core values.
Record your top 3-5 values and then write a brief statement to describe what each value means to you.
Example of Core Values Statement from the YMCA of Canada.
The YMCA’s core values guide our everyday decisions and actions.
We encourage everyone involved with the YMCA to
accept and demonstrate these positive values.
- Caring is accepting others. It’s being compassionate, generous, sensitive and thoughtful.
- Honesty is shown through integrity, fairness and sincerity in the words and deeds.
- Respect is acknowledging the inherent worth of oneself and others.
- Responsibility is being accountable for one’s behavior, obligations and actions.
Core Values Statement
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln
Now that you have your values clarified lets develop your mission statement. This is how you intend to get to your vision summarizing your values, principles and goals. The statement can help build and restore integrity as you journey through the ups and down we all face.
Answer these question in regards to your mission.
Guy Saffold in his book on Strategic Planning for Christian Organizations (Page 125) asks these three questions when developing a mission statement.
1. What key results (end values) should we be striving to produce?
2. What methods (means values) should we be using to produce these results?
3. What characteristics (existential values) should be typical of our organization as a whole and its people?
Other questions recommended to ask may be:
1. What adjectives would describe what you find most exciting about this organization?
2. What end results would you be most willing to sacrifice time and effort to produce?
3. What words describe what is most emotionally moving about this organization?
“To continue to be the Premier Coffee Service Company by providing our customers with unsurpassed quality in products and service that assure total satisfaction”
Crown Packaging Ltd.
“Our mission is to continually improve our people, products, quality and service in conformance with our customers requirements, allowing us to mutually grow and prosper”
Toastmasters International Mission
“Through its member clubs, T.I., helps men & women learn the arts of speaking, listening & thinking. Vital skills that promote self-actualization, enhance leadership potential, foster human understanding and contribute to the betterment of mankind. It is basic to its mission that T.I. continually expand its worldwide network of clubs, thereby offering ever greater numbers of people the opportunity to benefit from its programs.”
Mission Statement of YMCA of Greater Vancouver
“The YMCA is a charitable association dedicated to the development of people in spirit, mind & body as well as the improvement of local, national and international communities.”
Your Mission Statement.
Considering your core values, your answers to the questions regarding your mission statement and the samples given try to write a statement that best describes the heart and soul of your purpose. You may want to write several statements and collaborate with as many stake holders as necessary and then record your final statement below. Then check your statement against Steven Covey’s questions.
From Steven Covey’s book Principle Centered Leadership I believe renamed The 4 Roles of Leadership has some final questions to consider that may help fine tune your statement into something that is more than just words. Use your mission statement proudly, display it in your business, at your home, in all your business literature, websites, etc., etc., etc., and be sure to live by it.
- Does the mission statement show the means to an end.
- Does the mission statement recognize everybody the company deals with. (All stake holders)
- Does the mission statement come from within the organization. (Hearts and values of the people)
- Does the mission statement meet the basic needs of people. (Social, economical, spiritual, mental)
Money Talks by Alan Weiss.
“How to make a million as a speaker.”
A question presented to Alan. Pg 69
Many people ask me how to respond when the buyer asks “what are your fee’s”? Alan says the correct answer is I don’t know! He syas if you respond with a number the you are admitting that that you charge by the time unit but if you respond with a question you’re telling the customer that fees depend on his or her objectives and their is probably options to meet those needs.
Marketing Plan: Who to, Sell to:
National book reviewers
Syndicated columnists (Editor & Publisher’s Syndicated Directory)
Book club editors (Book-Of-The-Month-Club & The Literary Guild)
Excerpt right buyers
Distributors, wholesalers, book stores.
Libraries. (whole marketing plans can be developed for this avenue – 15,000 public libraries and over 100,000 including school and special interest libraries through out the US – See American Library Directory)
Radio & TV programs
Trade & professional associations (The National Trade & Professional Associations of the United States)
Special retail outlets your book may complement
Catalogues (The Directory of Mail Order Catalogs – The Directory of Business to Business Cataologs – Mail Order Business Directory – National Directory of Catalogs – The Directory of Overseas Catalogs – The Catalog of Catalogs
Regional newspapers and magazines
Local newspapers (Association of Free Community Papers – www.afcp.org)
Special interest groups
Civic, social and alumni associations
All kinds of directories (The Gale Directory of Publications in Broadcast Media – The Standard Periodical Directory – Ulrich’s International Periodicals Directory – The Working Press of the Nation)
Internet websites and marketing plans
Word of mouth – always have your business cards with book titles and where to review at.
Professional Speakers – send a copy to those who may be interested.
Actors and celebrities – send those a copy that may be interested.
MLM Industry president or even heads of large organizations.
Being a spokes person for companies.