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The 3-step plan for growing your business in the new year

While 2020 was an unprecedented time for business owners, 2021 has continued to present some unique situations. For some, it's remained a challenge to keep business going, managing through pivots and some hard choices. For others, business has been able to stay the course—or even boom. Whatever side of the coin you're on, you're likely wondering how you can actually create a solid plan for next year in the midst of continuing uncertainty and unforeseen economic trends. But creating a strong annual plan isn't only possible, it’s absolutely necessary if you want success for your business in 2022.

It begins by getting clear on what reasonable goals you want to achieve so that you can create a plan that isn't out of reach. Your annual plan should include goals that can further your strategic vision and adapt in the face of sudden change. Once you have those goals down on paper, next is to build a plan that will help you prioritize and execute them. 

So, here are three powerful New Years’ resolutions to help get you started.

1. Create a vision for your business

If you want your business to grow, you need to develop a vision—whether it’s a single goal you want to accomplish in the next year, or a greater overall picture you’re hoping to achieve several years from now. Vision creates a foundation

As an exercise, focus on envisioning one big goal for 2022—and just let yourself dream. Don’t let “not knowing how” or uncertainty of what the coming year may bring hold you back. The moment you set that limit, you start thinking, “Well, I can’t do that,” or, “Who am I to think I can achieve this ambition?” At this stage, just give yourself permission to imagine. Figuring out how to accomplish your dream comes later.

Here’s what this step looked like for a former client of mine, Danielle. At the time, she owned a small pediatric occupational therapy center. Danielle loved her work with clients, but was frustrated that her business had little brand recognition and that she couldn’t grow it. So I asked her, “If you could really have your business the way you wanted, what would that look like?” 

Danielle said that she wanted her business to have a bigger voice in the community, and dreamed of developing a podcast. She knew that the podcast would be an excellent marketing opportunity—and fun!—but she didn’t know the first thing about how to record them. And she was too busy to do it anyway with all her administrative work.

That’s where I stopped her. 

See what she did there? She thought of a stellar goal—one that would help with financial growth, greater visibility, finding new clients, and one that she was passionate about—but then she shut it down immediately. Why? Because it’s not an easy goal, and she let “not knowing” get in her way.

Achieving a challenging goal takes some strategy, which starts by breaking down the goal with each of The Seven Essential Systems so you can see the complete systemic needs, and—from a leadership perspective—what it’ll take to meet them.

2. Baseline your business today against your goals for the future

Without an idea of exactly where your business is right now, you’re operating blindly. Having a baseline reality, even in an unusual year, helps you see where you’re starting from and track your progress to completing your goal. If you have multiple aspirations you want to achieve in the new year, go through the following process with each one.

Here’s how I approached this with Danielle: I supported her vision to develop a podcast, and had her push aside the functional reasons of why she felt incapable. Instead, we met to look at her business’ systems to determine what she really needed to do to get there, starting with Leadership. 

To work through this yourself, sit down and write out all the experience and qualifications you already have related to your goal. It may be more than you’d expect—and this information becomes an excellent foundation off which you can build. From there, assess the strength of your Seven Essential Systems:

  • Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Customer Fulfillment
  • Lead Conversion
  • Lead Generation

Here’s our comprehensive business assessment, if you’d like support.

By the end, you should have a clear understanding of where your company currently stands in the context of planning for your goal. Along with things like your team roles and bandwidth, also consider the assumptions you’ve made, such as not having the capital to start your project. With all this, you’ll have a realistic starting point for planning.

3. Design a goal-focused plan

So now you’ve identified your goal and have a sense of context from your business assessment. Again, come back to The Seven Essential Systems and work out the needs within each one to hit your target. Depending on your goal, some of the systems will take more attention than others.

For Danielle, the podcast project needed its own promotional campaign, budget and team—including contractors. Here’s a sample list of questions that we addressed as she built her plan, which can be useful in generating your own questions:

  • Leadership
    • Are you clear on the vision?
    • How will this contribute to giving you more time for life outside of your business?
    • What’s your role in this project?
  • Marketing
    • What branding material do you need to create?
    • How much marketing will you need to do—or outsource?
    • Who is your most probable customer? How do they align with your ideal prospect?
  • Finance
    • What’s it going to cost to do this?
    • Who’s going to create and monitor the budget plan?
  • Management
    • Who’s going to be accountable for creating the project plan? What about the project team?
    • Who’s going to lead the initiative?
    • What steps do you need to put in place in order to find the right kind of person to run this?
  • Customer Fulfillment
    • What does customer fulfillment look like with this goal?
    • What’s the end result you’re aiming for, and how can you measure your success?
  • Lead Conversion
    • Do you know what it costs to convert one client?
    • What associated sales goal do you have for this, and how did you arrive at that?
  • Lead Generation
    • What lead generation channels best align with your audience?
    • Which channels are the most effective for this project, and why?
    • What are your messages truly communicating? Is that the message you want? Is that the message that will help you get closer to making your goal and dream a reality?

annual plan workbook

Conclusion: Implement your plan

By the time you complete the goal-planning process, you’ll have answered the hard questions, giving you the space and clarity to see everything needed to build an action plan and work toward your objective.

I know, even in the best of times, end-of-year distractions are many—and 2021 wasn’t easy to navigate. But your only chance to get the results you want for the new year is to take stock of your business now. It’s a task of the highest priority: to think about the dreams you hope to achieve, and translate them into goals you actually can.

Think of some dream goals you’d like to accomplish and work on your plan for each one. And if you want to take your planning to the next level, check out our new guide: Your Annual Plan 2022 or reach out to our team.

Adam Traub

Written by Adam Traub

Adam Traub is a senior member of the EMyth Coaching Team and an expert in the EMyth Approach. In his nearly 20 years with the company, his experience has included program development, coach training, customer satisfaction and success, and personally coaching hundreds of business owners through the joys and challenges of redesigning their businesses. Adam’s dedication to helping business owners and leaders comes from his own interest in culture and people dynamics, as well as personal experience working through the EMyth Program as a client, where he saw the possibility for all leaders to transform their companies, create a better culture, and achieve their vision.

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