2021 is so close! And what a year 2020 has been. I know I have said this before but it’s been such a year of chaos and confusion but also so many good things have come out of it. People have discovered what’s important to them, they have taken giant leaps in making positive changes in their lives, new businesses have started and dreams are being followed. So many realised it’s the little things in life that make a life great.
I hope your small business has had a successful year. Success can come in so many forms – financial, growth, awareness, changes & improvements, lessons & learnings or simply more time to do what you love.
2021 is going to be a big year and if your dream is to grow your business and take it to the next level, this opportunity is absolutely there for you! With the right planning, the right mindset and the right strategies – the business you dream of is there for you. Make sure you are following my Instagram page for lots of daily tips to support you each day and keeping you motivated to keep moving forward.
In this blog I am going to share 5 Key Steps to Planning for 2021. We are not able to achieve our goals and dreams if we don’t have a path in front us and know where we are going. Planning is so important and here are some of my favourite tips.
1. Review 2020
Its crucial that we review where we have been before we plan for the year ahead. Go back and look at ALL parts of your business, what you achieved and where you fell short. Some areas to cover:
- What was your total sales?
- What was your profit?
- What was your monthly average sales? Did this go up each month?
- What was your best selling product?
- What products didn’t sell?
- Was each product profitable?
- What suppliers did you work with? Were there any on-going issues?
- What was your best Instagram post?
- What Instagram content did your audience engage with the most?
- What questions were you asked most often?
- Is your brand aligned with your values
- What is your customer experience?
- How is your website? Instagram page? Facebook? Do they align with your brand vibe?
Look back at your goals for 2020. Did you achieve them? If not, why now? Be specific when you ask yourself these questions, and dig deep. Try and get to the bottom of how and why you got to the point you did at the end of the year.
If you achieved all your goals, congratulate yourself! Take a moment to be proud of what you achieved! You’ve done amazing and you deserve your success.
2. Start planning in December
Traditionally people start planning their year in January. The 1st of January comes around and you start preparing your New Years Resolutions and plans for the year ahead. I like to get started earlier.
Start thinking about what you want to achieve in December, write down all the notes that come to mind. Write down everything you want to achieve no matter how big or small. Get everything down on paper. Keep writing over a week or two. When you write things down and release them from your mind, it creates more space for more ideas to come.
Once you have everything written down, go through the list, scribbles and notes; and create a draft of 3 big goals and 2 additional smaller goals. I’ll share more about goals in Step 4 so keep reading.
Once you have your goals defined, then put them aside until early January.
Take a break over Christmas. Rest, relax and recharge. Try not to actively think about your goals.
Come back in January and read over your goals again. Check in if they still feel good and right. Adjust and amend if needed, and then you are good to go.
3. Review your business model, brand and ideal customer
Review your brand, values, mission, what you want your business to stand for and where you want it to go.
It is important we review these parts of our business to check we are on track. When you first start out some things are completed quickly or with limited knowledge of the business world. With experience our knowledge grows and as you spend time in your business, you learn more of what works best and what doesn’t.
Just check in that everything is still on track. This step doesn't have to take long. Do you need to refine your ideal customer? Do you need to refine your key message? Are your values still the same?
Writing all of these points down helps to create clarity in your mind too and even better if you stick your notes to the wall where you can see them. The more we can see things visually, the more they stay top of mind.
4. Create 3 Big Goals
Any more than three goals can be challenging to stay focused on. Your mind and actions become too scattered when you try to do too many things, and you lose traction quickly.
These three goals are created to specifically achieve in 2021. These are not long term or 3-5 year plan goals.
When finalising your goals consider these points:
- Why do you want to achieve these goals? If you have a specific outcome to what you want to achieve, you will be more motivated. This could be money for a new car, $500 a week to support household expenses, to quit your day job. Give some emotions to your goal and you will go a lot further.
- The goal is specific. At the end of the year can you clearly say you achieved the goal or not? A financial goal fits easily into this, did I achieve $100,000 sales? The only answer is yes or no.
- The goal is timely. Will the goal be achieved within 2021
- Realistic. Your goal should be realistic but also a little scary. Take what you did in 2020, consider what you could achieve in 2021, and then add 10%!
I recommend your three goals cover three areas of your business.
- The first is usually always a financial goal for the total sales you want to achieve.
- The second could be around a specific product i.e a new design to become your hero product that you are known for, launch a new range, or grow a specific product category.
- The third can be more business related. i.e launch a website, find new suppliers, launch two courses
If you have other things you want to achieve, these become the extra 2 goals. Not the main focus but always there.
Once you have defined your goals, write them down big and clearly where you can see them every day. Make them part of a vision board if you love being creative. I have tips on creating a vision board in this blog post.
5. Break the big goals down into action steps.
Now you have your big yearly goals, you want to break these down in action steps. Create a to-do list of things to do each month and each week to help you get to your goal. All the smaller goals work together to reach the end of year place you want to be.
I recommend creating a monthly target that links to your yearly target. So for example if your yearly financial goal is $100,000, your average monthly goal would be $8,500; and then you can adjust the values for busier/peak seasons. If you create a monthly goal be sure to follow along actively to ensure it is always achievable, and adapt following months if needed.
If one of your goals is a planning goal such as creating a new website, break the goal into smaller steps. This could include finding a designer, having photographs taken, defining the copywriting, uploading images. You always want to work backwards, so set your launch date and work back from there. Always remember to include a launch plan too if its an exciting step for your business.
You can also create a regular weekly to-do list to keep you on track and to make tasks more systematic than having to think about them. Your weekly plan could include:
- create social media posts for the week
- review last week’s sales
- respond to all emails and messages
- production/making times
- daily 20 minute social media engagement slots
That’s it, my 5 steps to great planning for 2021. 2021 is going to be a great year for your small business! Put a plan in place, take the action, believe you can get there, know you can achieve it and the business you dream of is all yours.