post by Stephanie Nelson
In just a few days, we’ll be crossing over to the last month of the year. In the blink of an eye, it’ll be 2019. Will you be ready?
A few years ago, I hunkered down and started planning my business using a worksheet I downloaded from the internet. I quickly discovered that trying to plan for the entire year was too daunting for me. Sure, I have a general idea of where I want the year to go, but setting dates for my goals that far out didn’t feel right for me. Quarterly goals, though, seemed much more doable; being able to pivot based on what had or hadn’t happened felt manageable. Here’s a little of my process:
- At the beginning of each month, I enter all of my income and expenditures into a spreadsheet that I ultimately share with my CPA to do my taxes. (Entering the data monthly takes A LOT less time than doing it all at once for the year, as I learned from experience.) Toward the end of each quarter, I like to sit down and look at my expense spreadsheet to see where I stand. Am I making money overall? Do I need to bring on more clients or work? The feeling of “busyness” can be deceiving. This gives me an idea of where I am financially and whether I need to up my game or keep the status quo.
- Pretty much daily, I read articles about changes to SEO and social media best practices and trends so I can keep up with what needs to be done for our clients. Monthly, I take a look at the data so I can stay on top of things, but this is the time that I look at the big picture of what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to change. This work makes its way into the worksheet, too.
- After I get an idea of where I am and what needs to be done, I sit down with my worksheet and plot out a timeline. But I only look at the next three months. Do I need to cull expenses? I plot what I can pull back on over the next quarter. Do I need to add work to my plate? I look at who I can reach out to – whether they be current contacts I can offer to help or folks in Facebook groups looking for my services – then I set a plan for when and how to touch base. Keeping a pipeline of business is essential. Keeping my sanity by not taking on everything at once may be even MORE essential, particularly to those that have to live with or around me.
- Once the timeline is set, I put deadlines on my calendar. For me, deadlines are a necessity. If it doesn’t get on the to-do list, it doesn’t get done.
- Then it’s time to get to work!
So how do you plan for your business? Do you tackle a whole year at once? Or, like me, do you need to break it into smaller chunks and visit more often? Drop me line and let me know!