By Jowanna Daly
10 steps to help you prepare for the coming year.
No matter how much we find ways to get our business started faster, we still need plans. Long, drawn-out business and strategic plans are outdated, but the process isn’t—and now is a perfect time to get your business ready for 2022.
When you prepare your organization for next year, do so with a beginner’s mind. Assumptions may cause you to overlook simple solutions to any risks you find. Here are 10 steps that will help you get ready for the upcoming year.
1. Review Data
Data is your friend, and your internal data is your family. Reviewing your data tells you where you are and helps you plan for where you are going. Information empowers you to make informed decisions for your business.
Your data come in all forms. Here are some examples:
- Sales revenues
- Social media insights
- Client feedback
- Google Analytics
- Email marketing data
- Industry trends
- Your skills bank
- Technology trends
- Government regulations
- World events (such as COVID-19)
- Political events
- Environmental concerns
If you are unsure what to do with it, gather the information and discuss it with your coach or consultant. Accountants, business coaches, consultants, and local nonprofit small business organizations (e.g., USA’s Small Business Administration (SBA) branch) can help interpret your data.
2. Review Your Core Business Identity
As a new business or someone in a new industry, it may take a while before you know how to have the perfect description for your business. As life coaches, our identities are closely tied to our businesses, especially in the early years. It’s like a newborn baby—it takes them about six months to realize they have a separate identity.
It’s the same with your business. The longer you are in business, the clearer you’ll communicate why your business exists. As you prepare for 2022, review your business’s vision, mission, and core values.
3. Vision Statement
Your vision is where your organization or whom you are targeting will be once you realize your mission. My life coach business is a world where small businesses and professionals care more about people than profits. As a business coach, I know that profits are essential, but my clients are people who care about others.
Review your vision statement to see if you are fully articulating your vision. Your vision usually doesn’t change, but you may need to refine it to communicate further what you are trying to achieve.
Your mission is the general statement that explains what you will do to realize your vision. My mission is to help people. More specifically, help life coaches and therapists who what to start a business to help people. Examine your mission statement annually.
5. Core Values
Your core values are guiding principles that define how people in your organization behave. They are the bedrock of the culture you have created, and they have a significant impact on how you do business. As your business evolves and grows, you may need to refresh some of those core values.
As you plan your business initiatives for 2022, analyze areas where you are expanding—such as the market segment or product offerings—and check for alignment with your values. Look at the feedback from your audience and internal team as well.
6. Update Strategic Plan
Your mission sets the tone for your strategic initiatives. Each strategic activity aligns with the previous actions. For instance, your objectives support your goals.
Your goals are broad and long-term achievable actions. These are the outcomes you want for the year. For instance, you may have the following goals:
- Increase brand awareness by 60 percent
- Increase sales by 200 percent
- Increase customer retention by 40 percent
Your objectives are the specific ways you will achieve your goals. Make your objectives SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound).
- Increase brand awareness 20 percent each quarter
- Make $50K per quarter
- Improve customer retention 20 percent by 2Q
- Improve customer retention by another 20 percent by 4Q
You can create strategies for either goals or objectives. I use strategies to describe how I will approach my objectives. Here are some examples:
- Use social media to increase brand awareness
- Use digital strategies such as directories and listings to increase brand awareness
- Join local associations and attend digital conferences to raise brand awareness
- Offer two more group coaching programs to increase sales by $20K per quarter
- Offer two more online courses to increase sales by $5K per quarter.
Your tactics are the specific actions you will take to execute your strategies and achieve your company objectives. I treat tactics as projects since they usually involve a group of activities. For instance, increasing brand awareness on the Facebook platform consists of a group of tasks such as:
- Setting social media goals, such as reach
- Developing content and creatives
- Setting a budget
- Monitoring outcomes
- Determining campaign and ad sets
Most new business owners have problems gaining traction because they often start at the tactical level (well—kind of). For instance, they may create a website and a Facebook Page, but it does not trace back to a goal.
Managing a business can be disorienting. The ability to trace your actions to a goal serves as a compass. Take the time to map out your strategy for next year to know the steps you are taking to trace back to your company’s initiative.
Jowanna is a business and personal coach, consultant, freelance blogger, and personal brand photographer. Jowanna uses her 20-plus years of business, information technology, business analysis, and project management experience to serve solopreneurs, microbusinesses, and professionals through consulting, coaching, training, and workshops. She is also a freelance blogger who serves corporate and non-corporate clients. Visit her website at https://www.jowannadaley.com/about/. Email Jowanna at firstname.lastname@example.org or message her on Facebook @jowannadaleyllc.