Every business owner takes time in the last quarter of the year to assess how the year went and to develop a plan for an even better following year. The last several years have thrown more curveballs at us than most years do. This means it may take some good strategic thinking to create a bigger and better next year. But even so, the planning basics almost always hold true. Here is a planning checklist for your business as you move into the new year!
Identify & Set Your Goals
When it comes to setting goals, the key is to BE SPECIFIC. Ask, answer, and write it all down somewhere where you will check in and weigh your activities against the question, “Does this move me closer to goal a, b, or c?” Ask what …
- Is the new number of clients you want to bring in?
- Are the revenue dollars you need and/or want to make?
- New product or service offering do you want to roll out?
- Business development activities do you want or need to do?
- Is the most crucial activity you need to do in order to successfully achieve your goals?
If you have specific answers to these question, you can figure out how to break it down into the activities you need to do each month, week, and day to get you closer to achieving your goals.
Strategic thinking invites you to be pro-active and plan your activities in a way that keeps you on track. This is about deliberately deciding how you want to accomplish the tasks you need to do in order to achieve the goals.
Make a plan, integrate it into your calendar and To Do lists, and then make sure you implement the steps. A plan that sees no action does you no good!
Revisit your Ideal Customer Profile
This is HUGE. As our businesses grow, it’s important to check in and refine this profile. Ask yourself …
- Is your original profile still relevant?
- Do you have one or more new client/customer segments? This can usually be answered by looking at your products and services.
- What’s changed, new, or gone?
Then identify WHERE to best interact with your ideal customers (social, email, etc.)
Marketing / Visibility Plan
Your visibility plan comes right out of your strategy and your ideal customer profile. What marketing/visibility outlets do you need to use and pursue? WHERE are your customers showing up? Do you need to add something new? With digital marketing added to the mix, there’s a plethora of options:
- Email marketing
- Writing regular blog posts
- Guest blogging
- Social media
- Print and digital advertising (PPC – pay per click)
- Printed brochures, postcards, flyers
- Starting a podcast
- Being a podcast guest
- Offering webinars (paid or free)
- Google My Business
- Updating Your Website
- Affiliate marketing
- Writing an ebook
The key is to strategically decide where you’ll show up and how. Decide what do you like to do and what you can do yourself. Also identify what you think would be effective but really requires outsourcing in order to do it well. (Read more about creating a visibility plan.)
Create your Quarterly/Annual Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar absolutely will make your marketing easier! (Read this blog post to learn more.) You’ll know what you need to do and when. Start by identifying the topics for your blog/newsletter/social for at least the first quarter. These should flow naturally out of your strategy and marketing plan. Also note any holidays you want to highlight (this is a great and simple way to create content!)
Let’s face it, the best laid plans can fail if we’re not on top of things. Getting an accountability partner can really help with this. This can be someone you simply check in with weekly or monthly, or it could also be someone with whom you schedule co-working time so you get done the tasks that need attention and you have trouble getting to on your own.
You state your goals for the week and then check in to share what you’ve accomplished and maybe talk through and strategize on how to tackle the task whose completion seems to defeat you.
Find Your Resources
And, of course, identify the activities or tasks that will require additional resources of either time or money. If you know you need to launch a new product or program, or update your website, or create a new email campaign, figure out what you’ll need help with. If you have to outsource, start lining up conversations with people who are the experts in these things. Get quotes. Get a sense of how they work and it it’s a fit for you and your project. If you don’t know the cost, you can’t plan for it in your budget.
If you think I can help you out with any of your new year planning checklist goals, let’s schedule some time and talk!