An End-of-Year Planning Process that Actually Works — How I Set My Year Up For Ease and Build a Plan I Can Stick To
Would you believe me if I said I just wing it every year in my business? Go with the flow and see what happens?
No! Of course not! It would be completely ridiculous to leave my livelihood up to a whim.
And yet, if you’re being really honest with yourself, will you have a solid plan for next year? Will you be able to hit the ground running in January with confidence?
If you don’t have a plan, that’s okay, but let’s change that.
Usually in these articles I walk you through step-by-step how to do something so you can take it and run with it, but today I want to share something with you that is not mine to teach. I’ve been working with Laura Posey of Simple Success Plans for over 4 years now and I’ve been helping her refine her flagship program Plan to Win. Each year we take hundreds of business owners through the planning process so they know what they need to do and when they need to do it for the year ahead.
The best part?
It all fits on one piece of paper.
That’s my kind of plan! Can you see why I like her??
You know I wouldn’t recommend just anyone, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend something I don’t do myself, so let me share what’s different about this and how I use it.
(TLDR: Laura is doing some masterclasses in December called “How to Plan Your Entire Year on a Single Sheet of Paper” to talk in more detail about her system. If you’d like to sign up for free, click here. I’ll be helping on all of them so make sure to say hi!)
Essentials for Effective Planning
Many planners start with how much money you want to make, then they plan the year according to that. Not good. It is essential that you start your planning with the much bigger picture in mind. In Plan to Win we start with both life vision and business vision so you know your plan is taking you in the right direction, not just the most urgent direction. We also include core values on the plan so you can be sure that everything is aligned before you get into the weeds. This is exactly what I do with my private clients, so there’s no escaping this step with me!
Another critical piece is the lifestyle you would like to live. Many of my articles talk about this because it’s a core part of what keeps a person in business for a long time. If you aren’t enjoying your life, then your business will also suffer. We include this in the plan because it informs everything else.
Finally, a great plan anticipates potential obstacles or roadblocks. In Plan to Win we spend time planning for obstacles so you can be prepared for them when they inevitably arise. For example, one obstacle I anticipated last year was joining time-intensive programs. The criteria I set for myself ahead of time was that I could join it if it helped me to immediately make money, but otherwise it would have to wait for another year. An opportunity came up for me to join a fabulous program at a great price, but it was focused on something that wasn’t a money-making priority for me this year. I was able to confidently say no because I had planned for it.
Did I stick to my plan this year?
Even if someone does plan for the year, the tricky part is sticking to it. Plans usually get stashed away, covered in other stuff, or lost in the sea of documents on the computer.
With this system I print out my one-page plan on thick cardstock and leave it on my desk the whole year. Every month when I set my priorities with my mastermind, I refer to it. Every time I have some free space in my calendar, I refer to it. Every time I accomplish something awesome, I check it off. That’s the true secret, really: having it front and centre all year long.
But even then, did I stick to it?
I had “consistent” as my word of the year, and I definitely stuck to that. I prioritized writing these articles and sending emails weekly, and this is number 41 this year which I’m very proud of.
I always plan for a light summer by putting “enjoy summer” as a project on my plan, which I was able to do.
I hired a coaching supervisor, I joined a year-long mastermind that I’ll be renewing again next year, I took the copywriting course I planned on, and I developed my coaching methodology even further.
All of that was on my plan.
I didn’t add an “about” or “purpose” section on my website, I didn’t review every video in my self-belief coach training a second time, and I didn’t create an opt-in gift for the website in addition to my field notes. I feel good about not doing these things because they turned out to be filler between the more important work I did this year. I’ll be more discerning next year about what goes on my plan and not feel the need to fill up all the spots completely.
What will be on my plan next year?
The cool thing is that after going through the Plan to Win process once, it’s much faster and easier to do it the following year (even though we do make changes and improvements to the system each year). So that means I already have an idea about what next year will look like.
Since I nailed “consistency” this year, next year my word will be something like “visibility”. Now that I have a robust body of work, I need people to actually see it!
One way I’d like to do this is by publishing guest articles on other websites or blogs. That will go into my plan.
I will still include “enjoy summer” as I always do, and I’d like to set the intention to read more books in my down time.
Finally, I want to set the intention to reach a certain number of gift coaching sessions I give. I don’t know what that will be yet, but that will be my biggest project this year.
What’s the first step?
I highly recommend you attend one of Laura’s masterclasses this December. There are lots, and they’re free, so you can sign up for a time here. She’ll be talking about this system and how you can join Plan to Win to work through it with us.
If you decide to join Plan to Win before the start date on December 27th, 2022 I will personally gift you two free coaching calls with me to help you implement your plan. (I’ll be in the program with Laura helping you build your plan, so you will already have lots of support with that!) I receive a commission if you join the program, so this is my way of paying it forward and making sure you actually use the amazing tool you’ve built.
If you have any questions about it, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and ask. I LOVE talking about planning but I know it’s not everyone’s comfort zone.
In the meantime, definitely book a spot for the masterclass. I’ll see you there!