Hi again. You may have seen my previous video. But, if not, let me introduce myself. I’m Rich Cruz, a Chicago digital marketing professional and consultant.

This is the second in a multi-part series of videos called “Build My Digital Business.” I’ve challenged myself to film this series of videos to help business owners and entrepreneurs to build their digital presence online from scratch or to improve what they already have. I’ve decided to really “give it all away” to whoever will listen. I’m just going to document my progress on building a business’ online presence by building my own from scratch.

A Brief History of How I Got Here

Just a little backstory about me… in 2006, I left a full-time marketing position at a leading publisher in its market to “go it alone” and start a business. I started a storefront sign company. I loved being a business owner, creating attractive signs, helping business owners to stand out from the crowd. It was a lot of fun… and a lot of work.

That business, honestly, wrecked me. It wrecked my health because I smoked, ate like crap and ALL THE TIME at networking events, and deprived me of sleep. It nearly tore apart my marriage because of all of the time it took away from my wife and our young family. I prioritized that business above just about everything.

When the market crashed in 2008, I lost nearly every real estate and construction client I had… including many who still owed us money. There’s really a lot to unpack on this story, but the bottom line is I sold the business assets to another company and ended up going bankrupt in 2010 losing just about everything including our home to foreclosure.

Thankfully, God provided us with my wife’s job and a family who supported us. Unfortunately, I couldn’t collect unemployment because, as a business owner, I didn’t pay into unemployment for myself. So, I went into consulting… something I did part-time after I graduated with my MBA in 2005, and something I did as part of my sales process for the sign company.

Because I built my own website after a few failed attempts by other contractors, I had an idea of what a website needed. I learned how to use WordPress, and I started building websites and training people how to maintain them. That’s what I’ve been doing for companies since 2010 as either a consultant or a marketing director.

A Quick Business Plan

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”

When I work with companies, I want to know what makes them tick. Why are they in business, what do they do, what value to the bring to their customers. But, in my experience, very few of them have readily accessible answers because the don’t have any semblance of a business plan.

So, in this video, I want to talk about defining your vision, mission, and plan for attaining those. I think that, with just about any project, you need to assess where you are at right now, project out to what you want in the end, and then build the steps you need to take to get to that final vision.

During my time as a business owner, I’ve worked with several coaches. One tool I found very helpful is a business plan document which can be helping in visualizing what it is you are building. This is NOT a substitute for a full-blown multi-page business plan you’ll need for securing funding, if you need to do that. But, this does serve as a guide for you to get in your head the essentials you need for your business. Also, there is a resource out there for developing a one-page business plan. It’s really a great product and series of books which I’ve used in the past. The method I use, however, is a little quicker, not as comprehensive, and is likely more superficial… but it’s better than nothing. It’s raw, and, when starting out, that’s okay. You can adjust as you move forward.

You can use some of these elements to help steer your branding, your website content, and your marketing operations as you progress through the rest of this video series.

In this one-page plan, you want to include the following:

  • Vision – This is that destination. What do you want your business to be in a perfect world. I oftentimes define the tagline of the company here too.
  • Mission – This defines what you are all about. What are you going to do at a very high level to achieve that vision.
  • Objectives – While in broad strokes, these should be SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Constrained). These are the outcomes of the strategies you’ll employ to reach your Vision.
  • Strategies – These are the big actions you’ll take to get from where you are now to achieve those goals.
  • Tactics – This is the specific work you are going to perform to perform the strategic actions.

You can see, the goal here is to take the whole enchilada and break it down into bite-sized pieces.

When I publish this video, I’ll include a link to my one-page planning document for your reference.

That’s all for now. I’ll see you in the next video.