How to Plan for the New Year


Ok, guys! It's here. We're in December, and it's time to review and make decisions about your 2021 plan. It's exciting.


I love the new year. I love the excitement of the unknown. I'm hoping there's less unknown than 2020 brought. I'll be honest. I could use a little more normalcy and a little less pandemic world. How about you?


Anyway, we have a new year upon us, which means that it's time to create our businesses' marketing plans.


Where do you start planning?

The first thing you need to do to create your plan for a new year is to review last year.


What did you do in 2020? Did your business grow, or did it stagnate? Did you have to hit pause for a while because your kids were home with you or your clients had to cancel? Did you have to pivot and adjust your strategy quickly? Most of us had to do some, if not all, of that at some point during the year. 2020 was challenging for many entrepreneurs, but that doesn't mean there wasn't anything good to come from the year itself.


If you haven't yet, reflect on the year.

  • What worked?
  • What didn't?
  •  What did you want to try but not have time to do?
  • What did you try that worked great?
  • What didn't work?

Dig deep, go through your calendar month-by-month and see what you worked on during each quarter.


Make decisions about what you will do going forward and what you'll stop now.


The best way to move forward is to look back and reflect honestly.


Brainstorm Ideas & Opportunities for the New Year

Now that you've looked back at your year, it's time to think about where you want to go next. Spend some time brainstorming ideas. There are no bad ideas right now. Don't judge them. Just note what sounds interesting to you.


If you track your competition, see what they're doing now. Have they added new products or services? Have they adjusted their prices?


Were there things you wanted to try but couldn't due to finances, time, bandwidth, etc.? If there was something you heard about that intrigued you, but you haven't looked into it for the business, this is the time to research a bit and decide if it might be worth trying in the new year.


Did you want to launch a new product or service, but maybe it wasn't the right time? Will you be able to focus on that in the new year? Can you add it to your plan now? Are you comfortable taking on something else?


Is there something your customers have been asking for that you haven't offered yet, but you've thought about?


Brainstorm, think about everything you could do in the new year, and later you'll go through the ideas and determine which ones you're going to pursue. For now, come up with as many as you can.


Be very intentional when planning your year

  • Think hard right now – what do you want your year to look like?
  • How many hours a week do you want to work?
  • Do you want to be able to take Fridays off?
  • Will you take a family vacation this year?
  • Are the kids going to be in school or remote learning this spring? Will that impact your schedule?


What do you want to do? Is your business fulfilling? Are you living your dream life?


If you're not living your dream life or you're not on the way there, why? What's missing?


If you're working too many hours or you're burnt out, what can you do to improve things for yourself? It doesn't have to be like this. You've probably wanted to be an entrepreneur so that you could have the freedom & flexibility you need. Don't give that up.


Set your Goals & Determine how you'll achieve them

  • What are you going to do this year?
  • How much money will you earn?
  • How many clients will you serve?


How are you going to achieve those goals? Are you going to sell 100 products a month? Are you going to take on ten new clients each quarter?


Get granular and determine how you're going to achieve that goal. It's going to help you stay focused, and you get more done when you're focused on the finish line.


How are you going to get there? What do you need to do differently from last year? Do you need to build a new marketing strategy? Is it time to focus on SEO for your website? Do you want to start working with a business or marketing coach? Are you going to learn Facebook Ads?


A goal without a plan behind it is a wish. They're fun, but they don't always come true. When you take that goal and map out a plan to achieve it, it's a lot easier to stay on track.


Get specific.


Plan out your calendar

Now is the fun part. Get your planning calendar out and mark out all of your important dates. Don't forget those for your personal life – vacation, school vacations, anniversaries & birthdays, etc.


If you're going to launch a new product or service, you need to create a plan for that and determine when you'll launch.


Start with Q1

Create your marketing, content & promotion calendar. Remember to tie everything together. Your content should support your products and services. You need to ensure you're providing value to your clients. Stay focused on helping people.


If you're going to launch several products, services, or courses this year, then you'll want to choose dates now for the entire year and ensure you're leaving yourself some breathing room in between those dates. You don't want to feel overwhelmed midway through the year.


Review your plan


Can you reach your goals by working the number of hours you want each week? Are there periods that may be too busy for your comfort level or your other responsibilities? Have you built in enough time between projects, so you don't burn out?


Have you identified how long it's going to take for items on your goal list? Suppose you're launching a new product or service. Do you have a project plan outlined with an idea of how long it will take to develop the product or service, create the marketing plan, develop the marketing materials, and go from concept to reality? It takes time. Make sure you've left a few weeks for flexibility in case there are delays. It's better to have more time than you need and launch ahead of schedule than be stressed and working around the clock because you have a deadline you can't make otherwise.


Do you need outside help to achieve your goals this year?

Now that you've got a plan in place, you can review it and determine if you're ready to go or if you need to hire outside help. Do you need a VA to help manage client orders? If you want to focus on driving website traffic, is it time to take a class on SEO and learn what to do? Do you want to work with a marketing coach to craft a strategy you can execute this year? There's a good chance that you'll need some training, assistance, or something if you want to grow this year. I'm a big believer in re-investing business profits into my education to keep growing. Paying to learn how to do it right the first time saves time and money in the end. Is there something new that you need help figuring out this year? Find your resources now, so you're ready to go!


You've got this. You can do this. I can't wait to hear what's in store for you in 2021.