Presumably, five or ten years out into the future you do not want your business to look like the business you have now.

You may want to grow to a multiple of your current sales.  You may want to have expanded into new mediums or new offerings.

You may also want to not be doing the thing you’re currently doing to pay the bills. Sometimes to keep afloat in the here and now, you have to take on work that does not remotely match up with your real goals.

Or, in less dire circumstances, maybe you’re just doing one particular thing now, and you’re looking forward to evolving it into something else.

Regardless of what scenario you identify with, at some point in the future, “then” is going to look different from “now”.

But!

Given how ridiculously easy it is to get caught up in the now, you may have never made a tangible plan to get to the “then” part of the show. If that’s the case, you’re just kinda sorta banking on the premise that somewhere in the future, it will all work itself out.

But how is that actually going to happen? If a random stranger at a cocktail party asked you what your plan to bridge that gap was, would you have an answer you could put into words?

(Hint: Whatever those words may be, if they start with “Well, you know, I’m thinking I’ll kind of …”, they don’t count.)

If you don’t have an answer to that question right now, that’s okay. You’re just going to need one moving forward.

The Change-Your-Business Fairy will not be wafting in while you sleep to bridge that gap for you.

You have been very busy so far building your business to the point it is currently at. That has likely left you little time to figure out how to take what you have and turn it into that future version you’re looking forward to.

The future version of your business is patient, however, and it will wait as long as you want it to.

But what it’s looking for – and what only you can provide, plan for, and execute on – is a plan for what’s going to be different, and what you’re going to do to make it different.

You may need to make a plan for the calendar date you’re going to stop doing the things that aren’t part of that future business.

You may need to make a plan for at what specific point in the timeline you’re going to put that new piece of the puzzle in place.

You may need to make a plan for when you’re going to invest in those things that will put you on a bigger stage.

What might those things be?

I don’t know. That’s between you and the future version of your business.

But perhaps the two of you should have a talk this week and hash out the details.

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.

This Week’s Assignment

Each day you show up to do your thing, you’re going to be bombarded by marketing messages from people telling you what you can (or, more likely, SHOULD) be doing to get more sales.

  • Harness the power of Facebook Ads TODAY!
  • Redesign your website and get more traffic!
  • Boost your SEO rankings and get on Google’s Front Page!

(Sadly, these examples are not ones I just made up. This is what I deleted from my inbox this morning.)

Marketing messages aren’t bad things. But they can be distracting.

Sometimes you’ll get hit with a message that’s right up your alley. If you’ve been mulling over the best way to get Facebook Ads rolling out, and that first email in the list above arrives – well, today might be your lucky day.

But! More often than not these messages can muddy your mental waters and get you second-guessing your priorities. Or maybe your priorities are already muddied, in which case you’re primed to fall prey to Shiny Object Syndrome.

Either way, it’s generally a good idea to get a solid hold on what you deem to be the real priority in your business. Peace of mind has a profound effect on your productivity.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it.

Spend a few minutes right now thinking about what is your most important priority right now in terms of growing your business.

Think of what you – in your clearest, most objective state of mind – consider the real thing you should be focusing on right now to get more people buying from you.

Write that on a sticky note and put it on your computer (or whatever keeps it visible for you).

Then, look at that note every morning before you begin doing anything for your business. You’ll be surprised at where you end up a month from now.

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.

Today in the office, some email copy was being edited for a client.

Some of it was hacked to bits, some of it was kept exactly as it was because it was great, and some just had a little bit of tweaking done to it.

Overall, though, the edits had one thing in common: making sure there was a really good reason for each piece of that copy to be there in the first place. Not every piece did, so those got cut.

This is what a lot of people don’t understand about copywriting.

Effective copywriting has a lot in common with the process used for editing a novel. You look at each scene to figure out if it deserves to stay in the book.

How do you know if the scene deserves to stay?

Try taking the scene out. If the book suffers for it, or now something doesn’t make sense without it, then that scene matters. That scene was important for moving the story forward.

But! If you can take out the scene and the story still holds, it’s not essential. (Much like all those deleted scenes at the end of your DVD. They were deleted for a reason.)

Non-essential scenes in a story slow down the pacing and can make people get bored. Movies can get away with this more than just about anything else, because people rarely walk out of a theater just because the movie is slow.

But they do put books down – sometimes permanently – because they’re getting bored.

And they certainly stop reading sales copy (or blog posts) once boredom sets in. And away they go.

So if you want to make your copy better almost instantly, you can start by ruthlessly cutting any part of it that’s non-essential or goes on too long.

Whatever your copy is about, each sentence has to pull it’s weight.

Whatever you’re selling, take a look at your sales copy for it.

If a sentence doesn’t have a good reason to be there, cut it.

If it can be said in fewer words, use fewer words.

You can make your copy better – without hiring a copywriter – if you cut out the parts that are working against you.

Don’t be surprised if your conversion goes up immediately. Now more of your visitors are reading to the end, where that delightful buy button is hidden.

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.