These five questions help me create my strategy for the next 12 months – in 1 day!
Happy new year, everyone!
I know I’ve talked about this before: I like beginnings and new starts, and the first week of January is of course unique in that regard. But being an entrepreneur has made this start even more special for me because it’s time to start executing the new strategy!
And let me get this straight: no matter how small a business you are, you do need a strategy. But it doesn’t have to be anything too complicated! I, personally, get my year going with these 5 questions. They help me figure out what has worked, what hasn’t and what I want to do better this year.
1 What has my year looked like?
I start the boring way: looking at my numbers. Sales, expenses, newsletter and website and blog metrics, and social media following.
It’s important to pull out this data regularly from day one because it allows you to see the development and growth from the beginning. Having 50 people on your newsletter list may seem little – but if you compare it to the 3 subscribers you had a couple months back, it looks a lot better, doesn’t it?
TIP: To avoid getting overwhelmed, limit your numbers to the 10 most important ones.
2 What would I do if I could not fail?
This can be a difficult question, because our self-censorship kicks in. I can’t do that, because… But that’s a completely unrealistic…
Its magic lies in overcoming these negative thoughts. Deep down, you have goals and dreams that you know you are capable of achieving.
TIP: If you keep censoring yourself, try out these tricks:
- Get yourself in a good mood before starting. Exercise, play some energizing music… Whatever works for you. And then, go!
- Write yourself a letter as if it were already the end of the year. Where would you be, professionally? What would you have achieved? How would you feel? Let your year unravel in front of your eyes – you might be surprised!
3 What do I want my numbers to look like a year from now?
Once you are done dreaming, it’s time to make those dreams tangible. If everything went according to your dreams, what would it look like in metrics? Look at the same 10 figures you looked at the first phase and set goals for the new year.
TIP: Write down the first thing that comes to mind! I know you have those figures on your mind – don’t edit and censor them just because you don’t see just yet how you can get to those goals.
4 What do I not want to be doing anymore?
Now it’s time to think negative for a moment! In the previous part, it’s very important to let your imagination fly, but here you have my permission to set your feet on the ground. What are the parts of your work you don’t enjoy? What do you not want to do anymore? What is keeping you stuck?
The aim here is to set some ground rules and help you focus. You can list things related to life-work balance, like not working on weekends. Or it can relate to the content of your work: maybe there are some clients you don’t want to work for anymore?
TIP: If letting go of some of those things feels difficult, set timelines. You don’t need to let go of everything at the same time but it’s good to know when it is going to happen.
5 When am I going to have time for all that?
More realism, please! Once you have your goals, the things you want to get rid of and an idea of realistic numbers, it’s time to sit down and plan it all out. Do you have time for it all? When are you promoting new product launches? Do you have periods of rest during the year as well?
Open your calendar or task manager and start mapping things out.
TIP: If it seems hard to get the whole year mapped out, aim to plan only your first six months in a detailed way. Write some targets for the rest of the year and come back to those later.
So, what are your main goals for the year? Share in the comments!