Inspiration Lab member Hayley Luckadoo is a money and marketing coach and motivational speaker who empowers entrepreneurs to let go of the things holding them back and take the steps toward bigger dreams and a better life. With her company, Luckadoo Media, Hayley spends most days in her very pink office, creating content and resources to educate and motivate entrepreneurs to change their lives by taking risks, dreaming bigger, and stepping into action to achieve their full potential. Below, Hayley shares guidance for small business owners looking to start the year strong and have a successful 2021.
The new year is here and it’s time to make preparations if you want your small business to have a strong 2021. Regardless of any outside circumstances, you have to plan for the year you want to have. The first month of a new year is a great time to prepare and make plans for what you want your business to achieve over the next 12 months. If you’re looking for where to start, follow these five steps to get your business on track for a successful 2021.
1. Evaluate the previous year.
If you’re going to plan for a successful year, you have to know what worked and didn’t work in previous years. 2020 was a hard year for everyone, but it’s still important to assess what worked and didn’t as best you can. Consider examining what you did well or could have done better in 2019 as well.
Look at the goals you set or wished you had set, any marketing, content, sales, and promotions you created, and ideas that worked really well or that you didn’t get to try. This is a good time to brainstorm new ideas or marketing strategies for the new year.
2. Set your goals and create a revenue plan.
Goal setting is just as important in your business as it is in your personal life. While it’s absolutely acceptable to pivot as necessary throughout the year, it’s crucial to the success of your business to start the year off knowing what you’re hoping to achieve. Begin with identifying your biggest goals. What are the three main things you want your business to accomplish in 2021? The focus here should be on setting realistic and tangible goals.
Once you know those, decide what you’ll seek to achieve first. Spending a whole year trying to accomplish three things at once will be more difficult than if you focus on one goal at a time. After you know what you’ll focus on first, break your large goal down into smaller ones, and set a monthly or even weekly task to help you work toward that accomplishment.
After you’ve done your goal setting and know what you want to achieve for the year, you can start putting together a revenue plan. Your revenue plan is essentially goal setting specifically for your revenue. You’ll want to include your total revenue goal for the year, break that down into months, and determine how much revenue you hope to gain from each revenue stream you have (every product, service, or offer).
3. Make updates and conduct market research.
Since you’re evaluating things that worked or didn’t work in your business in the past, it’s also a good time to check in with what your customers think, what they would like to see, and what would provide more value to them. Conduct market research, survey your customers, and make updates to things like your website and social media channels. The more up-to-date information you have readily available to customers about what you can provide them, the more likely you are to easily bring in clients to work with.
4. Create a marketing plan.
Just like your goal setting and revenue plans, you need to plan ahead for your marketing. Review plans you’ve already created and use that information to create a new marketing plan for the year. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to create all of your content and promotions for the year at the outset, but you need a general idea of what you plan to launch, promote, and create content for and when. Plan the tentative dates for those elements and then start to brainstorm the general content ideas and topics you’ll need and the deadlines for when you’ll need them completed.
Marketing and content creation are great areas to get a head start on. Once you’ve determined the content you’ll need, plan a batching day or week where you can focus solely on creating that content, mapping out social media, preparing ads, etc. Try batching a month of content and then work your way up to batching the quarter if you can. Batching your marketing in advance will make it easier if you need to make small adjustments, will keep you from feeling like you’re constantly stressing over current sales and promotions, and will help alleviate the stress of putting your business in front of customers.
5. Focus on what you can control.
The truth is that none of us know exactly how 2021 will go. It can be easy to get caught up in the “what ifs” and avoid setting goals or making plans for fear they won’t work or you’ll be blown off course. But if you want to have a successful business, you have to make plans for a successful business. Focus on the things you can actually control, and remind yourself you’re doing the best you can with what you have. You can make adjustments throughout the year as you need to and deal with situations as they come up.
If you can work on these five areas right at the start of the year, then you’re sure to feel less stressed and more ready to tackle any challenges in the months ahead. 2020 made us all look at business in a whole new way, and while we don’t know what 2021 will bring, planning and preparing as much as we can will help us maneuver through situations that arise so we can have a successful year.