About this time of year, I traditionally write an annual review of how life and business went this year.
You may recall 2018 being a doozie with the health status of my mom, the arrival of Baby Lohr and the post-partum blues that came with it.
But this year I’m doing something a little differently, inspired by my own 2020 business planning.
At the beginning of December when I got out my notebook and wrote “2020 PLAN” at the top of the page, my immediate instinct was to write “Goals” just as I’ve done every year.
But I wrote this word instead:
In that moment, I realized it was never my past goals that were that important — it was the tangible steps that I focused on to achieve those goals.
And it’s this system of focused planning that I want to share with you as an exercise today.
First, I divided the year into two parts — Q1/Q2 and Q3/Q4 — but you can divide it into four parts (or more) if that works for you.
For Q1/Q2, I wrote down one singular focus: MARKETING
(i.e. spreading the word about the Factory45 2020 program)
Then for Q3/Q4, I wrote down one singular focus: FACTORY45 EXPERIENCE
(i.e. making sure the entrepreneurs in Factory45 2020 have the best possible experience)
Next, I made a list of all of the tangible action steps that would enhance each of these two focuses.
For MARKETING, I came up with a list of seven “buckets”.
For FACTORY45 EXPERIENCE, I came up with a list of four “buckets.”
For example, one of my MARKETING buckets was “Email List & Blog,” so underneath that bucket I listed all of the things that go into my email list and blog as they relate to marketing.
- Repurposing “best of” blog posts
- Sending out a new YouTube video every month
- Cross promoting other people in my industry
- Using paid ads to promote my best blog posts and videos
- Driving new subscribers to my email list via lead magnets
- Cultivating and fostering the existing relationship I have with my current readers
For each bucket, there was a list of actionable steps like the one above that would get me closer to my broader focus of Marketing.
*Important note here that you may find interesting: Social media did not come up in any of my buckets. Sure, I’ll still post on Instagram, FB, etc. but it isn’t a task that I’m putting emphasis on for my Marketing Focus. So, if you’re one of those people who is putting all of their eggs into the Instagram Stories basket, I encourage you to think outside the box!
Alright, still with me?
The final step was to list out January through December 2020, and allocate the most important steps in each bucket to a month or multiple months.
It looked like this:
- Paid ads
- Pitch podcasts
- Outline new workshop
- Activate free TCF webinar
- Research video companies
The first three bullets span across every month of the year. But the other three bullets only exist in that month because they have a deadline.
The idea here is to have actionable steps each month, rather than general goals, that amplify what you’re focusing on for the first half (or first quarter) of the year.
The final step was to move this calendar out of my notebook and into Asana (the to-do list of my choice) so that I know exactly what I’m taking action on and when I’m taking action on it.
So in review, here’s how you can effectively plan for 2020 for your own business instead of creating general goals:
- Create 2-4 Focuses for each quarter of the year.
- List all of the “supporting actors” for each focus and divide them into Buckets.
- Under each bucket, list the sub-steps that go into each one.
- Allocate each bucket to certain month(s) of the year.
- Add the to-do list for each month into your task management platform, to-do list or digital calendar.
That’s all to say, I think I’m over “goal setting” in the traditional sense.
Yes, it’s incredibly important to have a vision for your business.
But you know what’s more important?
Taking action to achieve that vision.
This will be my last blog post and email of 2019 — I’m wishing all of you a very Happy New Year and will be back on Wednesday, January 8th : )