This 6-Step Personal Development Plan Made Me a Better Entrepreneur By Guest Contributor on October 9, 2019 For entrepreneurs, formulating a business plan is an essential starting step on their journey to establish their business. They focus on developing a detailed business plan outlining every key aspect of their business including long-term objectives, product offerings, analysis of target markets, sales forecast, recruitment plan, marketing strategies, and financial plan. There is no denying that a well-thought-out business plan helps convince investors and bankers to invest in your business and has other important purposes. But often, while being focused on developing a business plan, entrepreneurs neglect another important kind of plan – a Personal Development Plan. If you are not familiar with what a personal development plan is, you must be wondering what it is. Just like a business plan focuses on a business’ goals and success, a personal development plan is a plan for an individual’s personal goals. It is equally important for entrepreneurs to define and follow a personal development plan because self-improvement can benefit your business in more ways than you imagine. So, how can you create a personal development plan to become a better entrepreneur? Let’s find out in this article. 6 Easy Steps to Create a Personal Development Plan Unlike a business plan, a personal development plan does not have a set format. It is simply a document that you create to have a sense of purpose and direction and to focus on personal growth. Here are the 6 steps to help you make your personal development plan. 1. Define What’s Important To create a personal development plan, the first step for you is to list down all the important goals you want to achieve. To do this, ask yourself: What do you want to accomplish? Which new skills you want to learn? What are your unfulfilled dreams? Who do you aspire to be like? What would you be happier to achieve? Answering these questions will define your goals. You should write down 10-15 important goals which you want to achieve. They can be goals related to your personal life or your career. Out of these, prioritize one goal that is the most important to you and make a personal development plan that is focused to achieve that. 2. Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses The next step for creating a personal development plan is to analyse your strengths and weaknesses. List down your key strengths and weaknesses, and ask for your friends’ and family’s help if you can not think of this on your own. This gives you a clear depiction of what specific areas you are good at so that you can focus on them or you can focus on your weak areas to improve them. For example, if you know you are good at writing, then learning content marketing for your business can be a good skill for you to acquire. Similarly, if you are not good with numbers then learning a skill such as video game designing that is based on that would be unfavorable for you. In short, knowing your key strengths and weaknesses allow you stay focused and set realistic goals for yourself. 3. Learn New Skills You can think of any skill that you want to learn, it can be an interpersonal skill such as verbal communication skills or a new professional skill such as learning coding and programming or social media marketing. To decide which skill you want to learn there are 2 important things to remember: a) It is better to focus on one skill at a time so that you can manage it alongside running your business and b) it is better if the skill you want to develop is transferable, meaning that it can be used to positively contribute to your business’ success. Once you decide what skills you want to develop you can follow the next steps to go about learning them. 4. Set a Deadline Once you decide on a skill you want to develop, you have a goal to work on. And every SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goal should have a deadline. Being an entrepreneur making time in your hectic work schedule is difficult and you will never be able to achieve your goal if you do not set a realistic deadline and stick to it. Saying “I want to learn the skill of coding and programming someday” is not enough. You need to set a specific deadline (e.g. 2 months) within which you can realistically achieve your goal by not compromising on your entrepreneurial duties. 5. Have an Action Plan Having a decided goal and a deadline means the next step is to draft an action plan. Here you need to decide what you exactly need to do to accomplish your goals. Write down at least 2-6 important activities you will perform to learn the goal within the set timeframe. For example, your action can be as follows: I will read a book on programming (1 week) I will research online about the basics of coding and programming (1 week) I will start a 3-week long online course to learn to code (3 weeks) I will practice coding a simple website (1 week) Having a set action plan will keep you focused on actually learning the skill. 6. Evaluate Your Progress To keep yourself motivated in achieving the goals you need to measure your own progress. You can make a list of your accomplishments and refer to the previous steps to find out how much progress you have made and if your approach is effective or not. The aim of this step if to identify what has been working well for you and what needs to be changed or improved? If you identify that a certain activity in your action plan is not working for you, you can decide to change your strategy. For example, if you find that your plan to learn coding through an online course is not helping you learn then you can adopt a different strategy such as reaching out to an expert programmer to teach you in-person. Wrapping Up! A personal development plan is a powerful exercise for you to focus on your personal growth and to extend your learning curve. It is a good practice to make a new personal development plan every year so that you can be a better entrepreneur and add value to your business. This 6-step personal development plan is rooted in the philosophy that personal development positively impacts professional performance. It focuses on the idea of constant learning and evolving of an entrepreneur’s skill set. Therefore, entrepreneurs must focus on personal development plans equally as much as they focus on a business plan.