Step 1: Reflect on the year
I start with three key questions
- What worked well?
- What was the game-changer or breakthrough?
- What didn’t work?
I like to do a general brainstorm on everything that I think went well with my business. Anything from speaking engagements that went amazingly, blog and social media content that got off the charts engagement, videos that really resonated and systems and processes that made things run smoothly …get it all down on paper for a bigger picture at what’s working for you in your business.
Then I give some thought to what the ‘one big thing’ was. What was the piece of content, new idea or initiative that really made the difference? For me, it was the decision this year to double down on video.
Lastly, I jot down the things that just didn’t work for me during the past year. In my business, that happened to be some logistical challenges on busy weeks, some double handling on admin processes and not having a consistent process for handling book orders.
Step 2: Reflect on the numbers
The second part of reflecting on the past year involves taking a hard look at the numbers within your business.
I pay the closest attention to:
- Overall income that year
- Monthly income
- Number of speaking engagements
- Source of business, in particular word of mouth referral
- Number of sales I made on digital and physical products
- Revenue from online programs
- Revenue from consulting
- Social media and email community follower growth
- Blog and email marketing engagement
- Database growth
It’s important to have a good sense of how your business is growing over a year. It also helps to go into a new year if you plan on setting any kind of tangible goals or financial targets.
Step 3: Brainstorm Session for the new year
Once I feel like I have a good handle on how my past year went down, I am ready to tackle a brainstorm session for everything on my mind for the new year. I’m a bit of a whiteboard addict – I own four – so this is a fun session on the whiteboard with no less than seven coloured pens. Do the colours make a difference? Probably not but colour coding seems to get my brain cells singing.
There’s not much organization to how I do this. I just simply write out everything I’m thinking I want the new year to encompass. That usually means I jot down things like:
- New brand positioning and content direction for 2019
- New programs and online content
- Goals – divided into financial, business, health and wellness and fun
- Words/feelings/habits to focus on
- Processes and systems to refine
- Key dates, learning and development days and general planning
I usually end up with about an entire board of randomness, which I then start to gather in to some sort of cohesion.
Step 4: Scheduling
I then grab by Google calendar and schedule all the key dates, commitments, learning and development days and planning / thinking days. The key is making them an appointment. I also schedule holidays and block them out in the diary.
Step 5: Decide on my 3 words
Each year, instead of committing to new year resolutions, which I think are great, but don’t really work for me, I set 3 intention words for the coming year. These are words I want to embrace and focus on in any aspect of my business and/or life.
My words for the coming year: EPIC, EXPANSION, ENGAGE.
Here’s why I’ve chosen these words as my guiding themes for 2019:
- Next year will be the year of doing things at a new level and settling for nothing less than EPIC – epic adventures, epic clients, epic relationships and epic results.
- I’m also launching a new customer experience training program for organisations called the EPIC EXPERIENCE EMPLOYEE program – inspiring and empowering front line team members to deliver epic experiences for their customers
- I’ve been resisting business expansion for some time now but I’m now ready to expand my team, my offering and my business in general
- I’m committing to expanding my network, my knowledge and my circle of influence, as well as investing in programs, learning and development that expands my mindset, my ability and my results.
- 2019 will be the year I ramp up my ability to engage with audiences and give them an experience to remember.
- I’m also going to engage with more experts, more awesome people and be the most engaging version of myself.
So that’s my five step process for setting up my year and I hope this inspires you to plan for your best year yet!