So, you know how September rolls around and you start thinking about planning for the upcoming year? Then before you ever get a chance to write down any goals or even make notes — BAM! — you’re knee-deep in the holidays. All your planning and strategizing dreams are in the toilet until January — when you should be acting on them!
This is why I love the middle of the year for getting a jump start. I know, I know. You’re saying, “I’m way too busy right now to think about next year.” I get it. But I promise, if you take this opportunity to lay the groundwork for some small planning sessions throughout the remainder of the year, instead of trying to cram in a big one later, you’ll be more successful in developing your goals for next year BEFORE it arrives. Which will give you more time to reach your goals next year to grow your business, increase your profit, work less — all of the things. If you missed it, start with mini-planning session 1. Once you’ve got the idea, be sure to read mini-planning session 2 too.
Mini-Planning Session 3
Now that you’ve fully fleshed out the goals and written them out in a way that creates actionable tasks, it’s time to review those tasks.
Chances are, there are too many for you to do all on your own. And, probably a lot of them don’t make sense for you to do. Chances are you’re not an expert in all aspects of your business. If you don’t have a bookkeeper managing the weekly or monthly financial aspects of your business such as recording all of your expenses and bills (in Quickbooks or whatever system you use), associating expenses with projects, preparing invoices, etc., you need to get one. If you don’t have someone managing your marketing strategy and implementation, you need to get one.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should run out and hire a fleet of employees. Maybe you should, but probably not. If you’re still basically a one-woman shop, opt for contractors who can help you manage these things. Think about it: You can probably do a fine job at managing your financials … in six or eight hours every month (I’m just guessing here). But a person who does that for a living can likely accomplish the same in a couple of hours. So, if your average hourly rate is $300, it costs you up to $2400/month to do your books. I’m pretty sure you can hire a contractor to do it for much, much less. Even if her hourly rate is the same, you could save about $1800 each month by her sheer efficiency alone. Learn more about managing a virtual team.
Even if a bookkeeper doesn’t seem to directly help you meet your goals, it just freed up six to eight hours a month that you can now dedicate to those goals. But be sure to look over the associated tasks. There are probably still many things on there that could be best handled by an assistant or agency. And if you’re hiring help for specific tasks related to your goals such as marketing, it’s important to get them started sooner rather than later.
My point here is: You need to be as focused as possible on three things. First, sales. If you don’t sell your services, nothing else matters. Second, running the business instead of the business running you. And third, designing — cause that’s why you’re in this business, right?
It took me a long time to get here, but your action for this planning session is to assign all the tasks to the appropriate people. “But wait … I don’t have people,” you’re saying. I know, I know. But this will make it abundantly clear as to what help you need so that you can manage it efficiently. List your “people” as the roles they would fill such as marketing manager, design assistant, administrative assistant and so on. Once everything is assigned to your fictional people/roles, your action plan for getting help should become really clear.
If it’s not, that’s OK. We can help. Small business coaching might be just what you need to get clear on your goals, implementation and what, if any, team members you need and how you’ll pay for them. Click here to schedule a 15-minute strategy session.
Once you are clear on the plan to move forward in the coming year to achieve your goals, remember to schedule a 45-minute checkup session each quarter to track your progress and make adjustments as needed. Following these steps will ensure you’re success!