The start of the year is a great time to sit down for a planning session for your business. Just like our Brand Burger process, there are specific layers that build on each other to help you move forward and increase the likelihood of achieving your goals. But it’s not just layering up to create the plan, it’s also layering down from annual objectives, to monthly and weekly goals and daily tasks that is the secret to achieving success this year.
So where do you start?
Step 1 – Where have you come from?
It’s important to look back before you build your plan to move forward. Take the time to note down everything that you’ve achieved in the last 12 months. And if you haven’t already, make time to celebrate these accomplishments, because as business owners we are often looking forward and can forget to hit pause and celebrate just how far we’ve already come!
Reflecting on past experiences will help you work smarter in the future. Ask yourself;
- What did you do well?
- What worked?
- What should you repeat?
Of course, along the way we all make some mistakes, or don’t get it quite right. So it’s equally important to work through what we’ve learnt by asking;
- What would you do differently?
- What did you learn?
- What do you need to improve?
- What do you need to learn more about?
Step 2 – What’s happening around you?
The final area we like to look at before goal setting is the marketplace. What trends can you see happening?
- New product or software innovations
- Changes to legislation that will impact your business
- Community sentiment shifting priorities – e.g. the environment, equality, buying local
- Financial changes that may impact your business – e.g. new grants, changes to business loans
- What are your competitors doing?
- What’s changing?
Step 3 – What are you aiming for?
Now that you’ve got some perspective the next step is to formulate an idea of where you want to go so you can set yourself some goals for the year. It can be helpful to try and imagine what you want your business to look like in 12 months and then write a list of what needs to happen to create that. Ask yourself;
These are all great questions to help kick-start your planning.
Financial goals, productivity, systems and processes, staffing and resources, sales and marketing are just a few examples of areas to consider.
It can be easy to come up with a huge list of lofty goals but it’s important to prioritise and question what’s truly important. Remember each goal could have a large number of tasks needed to complete them. It can be more effective to choose 3-5 SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based). When writing your goals, writing them as if they are already done can also be a mindset hack to help you get them done.
Step 4 – How do you get there?
Having goals for 12 months in advance gives you direction however being so far away can sometimes create disconnect and lead to a lack of motivation which in turns seeing you stray from the plan. To help keep your plan top-of-mind and ensure you reach your objectives, break them down into smaller goals.
A lot of businesses work to quarterly goals however even those can seem too big at times. Instead, break your quarterly goals into monthly goals. A 30-day focus that you can have to get you one step closer to where you want to be. A hack we use is to then break that down even further into a weekly focus and daily tasks. By doing this you can focus on one thing each day, or each week, and know that by getting that done you are one step closer to your overall annual objective. It’s much more manageable and also more rewarding as you can tick the tasks off your ‘to-do’ list. By taking care of those smaller daily tasks, the longer-term goals take care of themselves!
Here’s an example of one goal broken down. Take note of how we have written them as if they are already done.
We have 1000 followers generating 20 orders per week on Instagram by December 15, 2022.
We have a 6-week content calendar targeted at our ideal clients.
We have identified our ideal client on Instagram.
- We have documented the demographics of our ideal client
- We have researched our ideal clients usage of Instagram – time, day, frequency
- We know the pain points we solve for our ideal client
- We know why our ideal clients would or wouldn’t choose us
- We have documented our client avatar
Tasks 1-4 are all information that will feed into the document in Task 5.
Step 5 – Who will be responsible for the goals?
If you have a team then it may not be you completing the tasks. It’s important to make sure the right person is responsible for each task. Ensure all team members are clear on what’s expected. Accountability can be key in ensuring tasks are completed and in reaching your long-term goals.
Even better is to have your team be a part of your planning process. This will not only give them buy in to the plan but also give you a different perspective on the plan.
Step 6 – How will you know you’re on track?
A plan is a great foundation but if it’s just filed away on your computer or in a drawer or your desk it’s not likely to be completed. Have a copy of your long goals in a place where you will see them every day. A vision board or simple written poster is a great idea.
Keep your daily tasks in your calendar, on the top of your to do list or allocate them to your team in your internal programs. Wherever you organise your daily workload.
y. Hold yourself or your team accountable by checking off what’s done each day or week. If you have daily or weekly team meetings, add these as discussion items. It can also be a great way to address any challenges you have along the way or to make any adjustments to your plan if needed.
Step 7 – Get planning
Now you know what’s needed to create a great business plan for the year schedule a dedicated time to get it done. It’s a great idea to do the planning away from your business or regular workspace. Take yourself away from any distractions and commit to at least half a day to work through your plan.
Like all successful projects it’s all about the foundations and where you start!