One of my very first business coaches, who I hired to help me get through a block I was experiencing in a part of my business, once gave me some very good advice.
The coach told me doing things backwards always works.
More precisely the coach said...
“Do things in a backwards order, instead of the order you would normally do them”
I was as confused about that as you probably are right now so I will use a real life example to make sense of it.
The problem that I was having at the time was about running my online marketing workshops for local businesses.
Running live workshops was a core part of my business and at the time I was struggling a little bit - not only with organizing and running the workshops but also about marketing and getting people to attend. So I thought of doing things backwards.
Because I recognised I was having this problem I hired a business coach to help me get through it faster than I could myself: it is always a good idea to get a fresh opinion from someone else who can give you unbiased advice.
I explained to the coach that the way I would develop my workshops meant...
That I created the content first
Then I would book the conference room or training room where the workshop would be run
Then I would start marketing the workshop.
The last thing I would do would be to...
Take payments from people who wanted to come along
Take a survey of their expectations - what they want to get out of the workshop and...
How I could make it as personal and as relevant as possible for them.
Once I had explained how I created and planned my workshops the surprising advice,“ try doing things backwards” made me completely rethink how I was doing things.
And that is when it got interesting.
Because of the way I was approaching things I was dealing with two main problems:
Sometimes not enough people bought the workshop - by which point I had wasted time preparing content, finding a room and paying a deposit (which I often lost) and in surveying the participants, people said they wanted to learn things that were not actually covered in the content I had prepared.
That meant I had to go back and redo the plans for the workshop, and spending double the time preparing the content.
On both counts, I was losing time and being unproductive. Doing things backwards would solve the problem.
The fun of Doing Things Backwards
Taking the advice from my coach, the next time I ran a workshop I approached - as much as possible I was doing things backwards.
First, I took payments from people, which felt a bit strange but in reality, it didn't matter because people who expressed interest had already bought into the concept of what I was offering. My first step was doing things backwards was a success.
Second, with these early adopters as a starting point, I marketed the next workshop with minimal information, and not even a venue booked.
Eventually after a few weeksI knew exactly how many people had bought the workshop, and I knew exactly what size of training room I needed to book. Doing things backwards was making sense now.
This saved me money and time because I wasn't paying for a room that was too big; I knew exactly what I needed based on receipts and how many people were attending.
Third, only then did I survey the clients, and was able to tailor the content to their needs, essentially filling out the skeleton course structure I had offered them in the first place.
So that is how started to do things backwards and I have always used this process ever since.
Give it a go yourself and see if it helps you to plan things in a more effective way!