There are only a handful of days left in 2017, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been doing some thinking about what 2018 is going to be like for your business.
The truth is, I LOVE new beginnings, and so this time of year is really exciting for me. I see it as a fresh start – a chance to take a deep breath and tackle new challenges.
And – I’m a planner at heart (shocking, right?) so I always ensure that I have scheduled at least 2-3 days around this time of year to do my business planning. What does that mean?
Listen, it’s not about resolutions, or even about goals. Business planning is about determining the direction that you want to take your business in for the next 12 months. It’s about reflecting on where you’ve been (2017) and where you want to go (2018 and beyond). Too often, we have vague goals (aka wishes) in mind, but we don’t take the time to really put a plan in place to achieve said goals. What’s that saying?
A goal without a plan is just a wish
Right. That’s why business planning is so critical. What does it involve? Today I’m going to share with you the 5 phases of business planning that I work through – and offer you a chance to purchase the EXACT worksheets that I use to evaluate the current year and set goals for the upcoming year. Ready? Let’s do it!
1 – Evaluation
This is one of my favourite steps in the business planning process. It’s a chance to really reflect upon the past year within my business. It’s an opportunity to consider what worked well, and what needs improvement – and to determine if my goals are the same as I move into a new year (hint – typically, my goals shift each and every year as I gain more experience and the market changes).
2 – Brand Identity Audit
As your goals change, your vision for your brand may change as well. Is your target audience the same as it was last year? Do you want to continue working with the same types of clients in 2018? Has your brand grown, changed, evolved? Doing a brand identity audit is a critical part of evaluating the vision you have for your business.
3 – Social Media Audit
We all know that nowadays, social media is THE most important medium for getting the word out about your business. But how effective are your efforts currently? Does the messaging your putting out there resonate with your brand identity? Are you reaching your target audience? Is your social media strategy intentional, or reactive? All questions you need to consider as you move forward into the new year.
4 – Client Experience Audit
Are your clients happy? It’s a pretty basic question, but one that needs asking. Can they be happier? Is your client experience process up to snuff? Could it be better? THIS is a really critical audit, and when done with intention, it can have a huge impact on your business from year to year. When we constantly focus on improving the client experience, the results are huge.
5 – Goal Setting
Ahhh. At last, we reach my favourite part. I love setting goals, because it gives me direction and allows me to stay focused. Truthfully, I do goal setting every quarter – mostly just a quick check-in to see if I’m on track with my goals, or if they need some course correction. But once yearly, I do my BIG goal setting session where I get to make some big decisions about the direction of my business. I take these goals and I put them on my wall where I can see them for the rest of the year – they become the filter through which I make every business decision. For example, when I’m making a decision about my business, or am presented with an opportunity, I ALWAYS ask myself: “Will this help me reach one of my business goals?”
… if the answer is not a resounding YES, then I know I have to pass.
Are you excited yet?
YES! So here’s what you need to do:
Set aside some time. I like to do this over 2-3 days to give myself some room to be creative and relaxed during this process. Ultimately, it probably only takes about 4 hours to complete your year-end business planning, but I don’t encourage you to do it all in one fell swoop if you can avoid it.
Purchase the year-end tool-kit for only $49 HERE. This will keep you organized and on track. Print them, and put them in a binder – and keep them where you can easily review them each quarter and of course, do a in depth review next December.
You’re all set, my friend! Let’s get some GOALS SET!