‘Tis the season…
…of vision boards, goals and resolutions. But spoiler alert! Vision boards and goals won’t get you where you want to be in 2022.
The reality is that to get where you want to be in 2022 you need a strategy which includes an action plan. A realistic one.
I’d love to lose a couple of stone and run a marathon (actually scrap that last bit – just be fit enough to keep up with my teenagers without collapsing in a heap in front of a screen and bottle of wine at 9pm each night). My “vision board” would be full of pictures of supermodels/insta fitness celebs, runners, yoga poses and healthy foods. Funnily enough just having that vision/goal doesn’t make it happen.
The only way to do that would be to have a strategy to eat less and exercise more. This would require a nutritional plan (a good one – probably with the help of someone with expertise in this area) and an exercise plan (again it needs to be the right one to meet my goals – the plan for a marathon is quite different to having energy to keep up with teenagers). It would require a schedule. It would need to be realistic (for me – so no getting up an hour early to exercise – I’ll only hit the snooze button). It would also require some contingency for when things go off track (as life always gets in the way).
Needless to say I have had this goal before. And not been successful. It is important to consider why. I mean if we keep having the same goal, do the same thing each year (start off keeping off the booze, eating a bit less and going to the gym only to falter by mid January) and don’t make progress then we clearly need to do something different. It may be that the strategy was wrong. Perhaps time to get some help with this? Or it may be the strategy was fine but it was not followed through. In which case I need to think why and what I can do this time to ensure that I don’t do the same. The dog in this video eventually realises that you need to do something different if you want a different result (he’s pretty cute to watch too).
You need a strategy to move your business to where you want it to be. And that strategy needs to include a plan of action that is realistic.
I like to divide this up into three steps.
Step 1 – What would a successful 2022 look like?
We all have different ambitions for our businesses. You might have global domination as a goal. You might want to supplement your family income and be there for your kids. You might be the main or only source of income for your family so you need to earn a minimum amount and ideally more than that. These are all good goals.
It is important to remember that what a successful business looks like for you is different to what success might look like to others. You set the rules here remember – it is your business.
What would success in 2022 would look like in terms of:
- Business revenue
- Doing more of what you enjoy and less of what you don’t enjoy and
- Anything else
Business revenue is exactly what it says. How much revenue do you want your business to earn in 2022? You may not care and that’s fine – you don’t have to have a goal for every one of these categories. You may just want a bit more than 2021 so you feel you’re growing and that is fine too. Or you may have a much bigger number in mind. At this stage we’re not putting limits on.
Earnings is the amount of money you actually take out of your business in the year. This is less than your revenue because it needs to take into account the costs in your business. Our earnings ambitions are all different. You might need the money to support your family. Or you may be able to forgo earnings this year in order to invest more in your business to earn more next year. You might even have a range for this number – with a minimum amount but then a bit more if circumstances allow.
Many of my clients have set up their businesses around other responsibilities. Such as their family. Or it may be that you have another job alongside your business. Be realistic about the amount of time you have and, just as importantly, want to dedicate to your business. If you are less constrained by other responsibilities you may decide that this is the year you are going all in – working more hours to build the business. And that is fine too. You have to choose the hours that work best for you and your circumstances – no-one else.
Many entrepreneurs tell me they’re driven as much by the impact they have as by the amount of money they can make. It might be a number of clients they help. It might be a type of client they help. It might be the way they help. I know, for me, I could probably earn more helping larger clients but I like to work with solopreneurs or those with a small team. I get a real buzz out of helping those businesses grow.
What you enjoy and what you don’t enjoy?
This is, for me, a big part of running your own business. You get to decide what you do. If you look back over the past year what kind of work have you enjoyed and want to do more of in 2022? What do you want to do less of? Either because you didn’t enjoy it or it wasn’t as profitable and therefore worth it? Are there things in your business that need doing but you don’t enjoy? Perhaps your accounts or even your website? You might want to think about getting someone else to do that next year. Just because you can do it yourself doesn’t mean you have to. It’s your business.
I know it is a bit of a cop out having a catch all goal, but maybe there is something that you really want to achieve in your business. The cherry on the top? One of my clients, Fleur a personal stylist dressed Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie for the G7 summit in Cornwall this summer – that is a real achievement this year. Launching this podcast was a goal of mine for 2021. Is there anything you would love to achieve in your business this year, just because?
Step 2 – What that means for your business
The next step is to bring it all together and look at what that means for your business. Is it realistic? How can you make it work?
If you want to work a 4 hour week working 1:1 with clients, taking the school holidays off and earning £500k a year then you’re looking at an hourly charge of about £3k…. That might not be realistic, or you might be able to get there with the help of a team and/or passive income.
Start with the most important 2 goals. If they are time and money you might need to adjust who or how you help to make it work. If it is time and impact then you may need to adjust the amount you make.
Let’s look at some examples.
Let’s say you’re a coach wanting to work a max of 30 hours per week and you’re looking to generate £80k a year, which is an average of about £2k per week. After spending time on marketing and admin that is going to mean about 20 hours of client facing time each week, which means you need to charge £100/hour on average. What do you charge for 1:1 work? If it is currently less than £100/hour you’re going to need additional income. How do you want to get there? Do you want to raise your prices? Do you want to add online courses, memberships, group programmes, etc that are more scalable so their earnings aren’t restricted by your hours? Do you want to outsource and/or bring on team members that can do some of the work (for less than £100/hour)? Or actually do you want to increase your hours and/or reduce your revenue target?
Let’s say you’re a massage therapist and need to bring in a minimum of £20k a year during school hours and working around children in the evening. You’d love to earn more and/or work less but you need that money to support your family. With school holidays you have about 40 weeks a year to work so that means £500/week in earnings – and of course your revenue will need to be more than that. What costs do you have? You may need to take a more risk averse approach, looking at what you did last year and what tweaks you can make to get to that goal. Then what else can you do to give you upside? Maybe the school day is for 1:1 clients and in the evening you can work on marketing and developing some additional products to increase your revenue?
At the end of this process ideally you’ll understand what it means in terms of the mix of products and/or services you offer and how much money you’re looking to generate from each.
How many 1:1 clients are you going to serve each week or month and at what kind of price? Is this the same package as you currently offer or is it different? Can you offer more and charge more or upsell to increase that average revenue?
What other services are you going to offer – either 1:1, group programmes or something more passive – like selling a product, online course, or book for example? Do you currently offer these or are they new?
What do you currently do that you want to stop doing or do less of? I stopped offering e-commerce websites last year – for a mix of reasons.
What do you want to improve? I’m always looking at ways to improve my processes and client experience. I have a few ideas I’m going to be implementing in 2022.
What about you? What does your business actually look like to get to your goals?
What does it look like in terms of product offering, pricing and number of clients? What does it look like in terms of the hours you work? What does it look like in terms of what you do and what you outsource to others?
Step 3 – Plan of Action
Knowing what we want our business to look like it is time to work out a plan of action.
Because vision boarding is not going to get us there. We need a plan.
We need to get from where we are now to that view of our business.
What needs to change?
Do you need to increase your prices? What do you need to do before you increase your prices? Are you looking to offer more value? What is that going to be? Do you need to do anything to get it in place before increasing your prices?
If you’re looking to attract clients who will pay more does your brand currently reflect that? Or do you need to rethink your ideal client, your messaging, your brand voice and aesthetics? Does your website and/or social media need an overhaul to reflect that?
Are you looking to introduce new products or services? What do you need to do that?
Are you looking to drop some products or services you offer? Or even any clients? Is there anything standing in your way of doing that? Do you need to let existing clients know? Do you need to give them some notice? I always suggest you do anyway.
Are you looking to outsource some of the things you currently do or need to do in the future? What are the steps to do that? You need to find someone to outsource to and you need to give them clear instructions of what you want them to do.
Are you looking to improve any of your processes? Again what are the steps involved?
And what about that dream extra goal – what do you need to do to make it happen?
Your list might be quite long. And that is fine – we have a year!
Next we need to order the list. What is going to give most “bang for buck”? I mean what is going to be easiest to do that will give the greatest impact on moving your business to where you want it to be.
I like to work on one area at a time. I’m very easily distracted so if I’m working on more than one thing none of them get completed quickly…
If raising your prices is the thing that will give you most bang for buck then prioritise doing that. The additional revenue from that can perhaps be used to outsource some of the things you don’t want to do (or it doesn’t make sense for you to do), freeing up time to take on more clients, develop new products or services or just spend time with your family.
You can set out when during the year you plan to do each of these or you can do it bit by bit – which is what I tend to do. I find it hard to look beyond the next quarter to be honest so I’ll choose a few things from the list and have those to do in this quarter. Prioritising one of them above the others of course!
And of course plans change. Throughout the year things come up – 2020 and 2021 have shown us that so we need to be adaptable. Also sometimes we change our mind on what is important to us and what we think might get us there. That’s fine too.
I think it is worth sitting down with a pen, pad of paper and a glass of wine – or whatever takes your fancy. Away from the hustle and bustle at Christmas if you can, or in the New Year. Obviously you can do it at any point in the year.
Think about what is important to you. What would a successful 2022 look like? This is your vision. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
What does that look like in practice – in terms of products or services you offer, pricing, kind of client you want to work with, what you do (and just as importantly what you don’t) and the hours you work?
What do you need to change or do to get there?
And what is your priority? What is going to be the easiest thing to do that will have the biggest impact on your goals? And I’d just add – schedule time in January to make that one happen. World domination happens one step at a time!