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Bridging the gap from shiny idea to successfully completed project is no easy feat…
As an entrepreneur, you’re a visionary, a dreamer. You get a new idea and go all in bringing them to life. But that trait could be the very thing that stops you from making any true progress.
Here’s what I mean…
Say you have an idea to create a whole new product or service. Well, there’s a whole lot of groundwork and brainstorming that needs to happen before you can put that product in front of your customers. Adding a new offer should be a tactical move, not one that’s done on a whim. It’s great that you have a new idea you’re eager to see come to fruition, but that doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea to jump right into creating without a plan.
I like to use the P.O.P. method to take an idea of mine, or my clients, and create a solid framework of how we’ll go about making it happen.
P.O.P. = purpose, outcome, process
P-Purpose. This is why you’re considering the idea or starting the project, including why it makes sense for you, your business, and your customers. It’s where you consider why now is the right time or if your idea truly relates to your business goals (i.e. introduce a new revenue stream or serve a subset of your clientele).
O-Outcome. You may think the outcome is the tangible item you’re actually creating, but it really goes beyond that and gets into what success looks like and how you know you’ve arrived there. For example, if you’re creating a new product, what will your customers actually walk away with after they’ve purchased it and completed your program?
The Happy Ever Crafter’s ShowMeYourDrills program pledges that at the end of the challenge, you’ll be able to confidently and consistently create the foundational calligraphy strokes that are used to build letters and words. This is the outcome for the students of the program.
P-Process. This is all about the “how.” How are you going to implement your idea so that it achieves your desired outcomes and purpose? This is where you get into the nitty-gritty details of how you’ll actually structure the work?
Why it matters where you start with P.O.P.
Most of us start in the “process” realm when we have new ideas. It’s where we think about how to accomplish the task, and it happens before we take the time to evaluate if the project is one worth implementing or what the key objectives are.
Teachers don’t plan what they’re teaching (the process) until they know the purpose (why they’re teaching it) and the expected outcome from students (hitting objectives on the rubric). Your business runs the same way. You don’t work out all the details of your product or service until you figure out what purpose it’s serving to your business and your customers.
When you want to break down your project to help you execute on your newest idea — and determine if it’s even something you want to pursue — keep P.O.P. in mind.
Is that idea worth pursuing? Here’s how to find out.
Too often, we start a project by diving head-first. You know the general end goal (create a new offer or package) and you just start creating it. That’s the Process phase of P.O.P. — and there are actually two other phases before this.
Instead of going right into Process, take a beat and start with Purpose. When you can stop and take a second to ask yourself if what you’re doing has any purpose, you may stop a project that wasn’t the best move.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What is the purpose of this project?
- Is this idea/project relevant to my business? To my audience?
- Why does it make sense right now?
- Why is my business the right one to create/deliver/implement this information/project?
- How does this further our goals?
If your gut says your answers to the above aren’t strong enough, it might be a good idea to shelf this idea on your parking lot for later. That’s time, money, and energy saved for things that will really make a difference in your business.
Here’s an example…
Let’s say you want to start a podcast. Great!
After you’ve gone down the rabbit hole of researching – what microphone to use, what platform to upload it to — you’re not sure what your next step is because you never stopped to consider the purpose behind your podcast.
What are you supposed to be directing listeners? How will it serve your target audience? What are people getting out of it? What is your business getting out of it?
And another, extremely important one — does it even make sense to tackle right now? Timing is everything, and if the time isn’t right, then there isn’t much of a foundation for your idea to stand on.
Think of the outcome and the end-user
Any time you’re considering a change in your business or offering a new product/service, you have to consider whether or not it will be beneficial to your customers. This is the Outcome element of P.O.P. As business owners, we sometimes get caught up in doing personal projects that are fulfilling to us without even considering who we’re serving.
There’s nothing wrong with pursuing a passion project, but if you want to make money from it, you have to design things with your audience in mind.
How is your business going to be impacted by this change or addition? How will the customer experience change? How is the way you interact with your audience going to change? It’s always a good idea to think this through before you launch so that you can make it easy for people to find the value.
A few questions that can help you in the Outcome phase are:
- What does success look like? For the business? For the customer?
- What results do we want to see?
- What will our customers walk away with?
- How will our customers feel?
- What tangible things will be created?
Design your process around your purpose and desired outcomes
Your new project — no matter how simple you think it is — never involves “just” doing a couple of things. Entrepreneurs love to take action quickly, but any time you make changes to your business or add a new service, you’re going to have to take care of some backend work and ensure that you’ve got a process for every element of your business that’s impacted.
That’s the power of the P.O.P. approach. It gives you the why (Purpose) and the what (Outcome) so that you can design your how (Process) around making sure you accomplish those two things.
Once you reach this point in P.O.P., it’s time to brainstorm what you need to do to implement your project and make sure you deliver on your Purpose and Outcomes.
Stay on track with your project
This is where it all comes back full circle. Before you start executing on your project or bringing it to your customers, you’ll want to revisit the phases of P.O.P.
What’s the purpose of this project? What will your customer get out of this? What do you want to get out of this?
What are the outcomes you’re expecting? What are the exact deliverables you want to create? What container will you sell it in or how will you share it? And do you have goals for the actual sale/launch of this next big idea?
And last but not least: What’s your process? What is involved in the entire project, from ideation to ongoing maintenance? Don’t just think about what’s required to create the thing — think about what happens after that.
With the last phase, Process, you’ll also want to create a project plan. It helps to break down your idea into a project, complete with milestones (“Finish modules 1 and 2 of the course”) or tasks (“Write new about me blurb for home page”).
Starting a new project isn’t a one-step process, and it cannot be done with a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants strategy — if you want to have success with this new idea, at least. There’s a lot that goes into a new offer, strategy, or launch, especially if you’re adding tech set-up or introducing something new to your approach. If you want to make sure you don’t miss a thing, check out my ready-to-go Product Launch Project Plan.
You’ll get access to the launch template I’ve used with countless clients to prioritize your tasks, delegate responsibilities, and work on a timeline to get it all done. Plus, it integrates easily with your favorite task management system like Asana, Trello, or Clickup.
If you want to get the ball rolling with your latest idea, this project management template is the way to go.