Have you started planning your 2024 yet?
How your business looks, feels and thrives in 2024 can follow the same path as 2023… or it can be totally different. What direction are your dreams sending you in?
The important part is to PLAN.
By planning and strategising your way to your goals, you vastly increase your chances of success.
I look at one goal at a time, and break it down using the SMARTER framework (more on that below), creating annual, bi-annual, and quarterly targets and check-ins. I do that with each goal, and then map it out beautifully on my Trello board. Mine is arranged by month, so I can see at a glance where I want to be and how close I am to that goal.
When I plan for the coming year I look at my financial goals, how many hours I want to work, if I want to invest in any training, what products or services I want to develop, any resource I want to add to my business, my visibility efforts, and lots more.
If you have not started planning for next year yet, then don’t worry! It’s not too late to start.
What has worked well in 2023?
What has not worked well in 2023?
Have my business goals changed during the year?
Has my ideal client changed during the year?
Has the type of work I enjoy completing changed?
Have I reached/exceeded/not achieved my goal? Why is this?
What has been my biggest business lesson of 2023?
What would my dream business look like in 2024?
How many hours would I work each week?
What would my income from my dream 2024 business be?
What would I like to try out, if I knew there would be no reprisals if it didn’t work out?
Would I launch a new product or service?
3. SMARTER goals
Dreaming is a fantastic tool to help you explore what you would like your business to look like if there were no repercussions, but planning is where it gets real. Using a framework such as Doran’s SMARTER goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound, Evaluate and Reward) helps you focus on those dreams and create a workable plan. (Sometimes the second ‘R’ stands for Revise - I prefer a cheeky Reward for hitting the goal, and do my revision when I Evaluate)
What SPECIFICALLY is my goal? Get detailed with what you want to achieve.
How can I ensure my plan is MEASURABLE? Add specific values to your goals so it’s easy to later evaluate your progress.
How can I ensure my plan is ACHIEVABLE? Dreaming big is important, but being realistic with our goals is key. If our goals are unattainable, it can leave us feeling downhearted and unmotivated. Consider what you need to put in place in order to achieve your goals.
Are my goals RELEVANT? Do they support my business growth and development? Each goal should matter in the context of your business plan.
What TIME am I putting in place to achieve these goals? Set a deadline for achieving your goals. This creates a sense of urgency and helps you stay focused.
Regularly EVALUATE your progress towards your goals. Ask yourself if you are on track to achieve them. What needs to be changed? Evaluation ensures your goals remain relevant and achievable.
Look at how you can REWARD yourself when you achieve milestones in your business in 2024. Recognising and celebrating rewards (however big or small) can keep you focused and motivated in moving forward.
S: To have an income of £3000 per month
M: Build a roster of 8 clients, working at least 15 hours a month for each, at an hourly rate of at least £25.
A: I have the time available and I’ve invested in the support I need to get visible. I have three months of a financial cushion saved until I have my first client. I know where to access support if I have a confidence block.
R: My wider business plan is to become a successful VA, so
T: To have signed 1 client by April 2024, then 1 per month thereafter until I have a roster of 8.
E: To review visibility efforts monthly to assess effectiveness. Dedicate at least 3 months to each visibility method. Monthly business forecasting.
R: Each contract signed I will set aside £100 for future business investment. When I hit my target income of £3k, I’ll book a business strategy day.
With your SMARTER goals in place, you'll have a roadmap for the specific outcomes you want to achieve in 2024. These goals provide clarity and direction, making it easier to plan the steps needed to reach them.
4. Plan, plan, plan
Now that you have dreamed and have your plan for 2024, consider how you want to display it and hold yourself accountable. As I mentioned, I use Trello, with a master GOALS column, each card has a different goal mapped to the SMARTER framework, and then a column for each month with my targets and check-ins detailed.
How will you display your future plan?
Try to not let yourself get overwhelmed with planning ahead. Remember, this is YOUR business, and your plan does not have to be set in stone, but it serves as a map, keeping you on the path towards your vision and goals.
If you need some support with your planning, goal setting or visibility, then book a free strategy call with me - I'd be happy to help.