Questions that Will Make This Year Better
Business Sales, Strategic Planning
Woo Hoo! It’s 2020! There’s something wonderful about being able to start afresh. To release the old and step into the new. In this Part 2 of my Strategic Planning for Entrepreneurs series, I’m going to be talking about what so many miss out on – reflection and assessment of the previous year.
But there’s one problem with all this releasing … that is letting go too quickly of situations that actually had something to teach us. I see far too many entrepreneurs not spending enough time noticing and reflecting on the lessons that each year brings us.
As much as we want to release disappointments, distractions, and missteps, there’s also much to learn from these experiences. And it isn’t just the negative – we also need to learn from the positive experiences.
Here are some suggestions on how to get started. I’ve also put some timing suggestions on here so you can combat the voice in your head that says, “I don’t have time for this.” If you’ve got 45 spare minutes this week – you can get this done – and it will be well worth it!
Monthly Review (20 minutes)
You are going to take a few minutes to review each month of the previous year in writing. Start by writing about last January. What trips did you take? What were the big events that happened that month? Were there any emotional highs or lows? What breakthrough insights happened that month? Then continue writing about each month. Write fast and don’t over-evaluate.
This isn’t about writing out everything that happened that month. It’s just writing the big picture of important events that happened that month. Take about 15 minutes to write the months and the events.
Then go back and circle the major insights or learnings from the year. When I did this exercise I had some major learnings: like in May when my heart opened up from an amazing coaching session. To more simple learnings: like in July when I received a cranial-sacral treatment that calmed my nervous system down for three weeks after! These are the type of learnings that I will use to create an even better plan for my next year.
Yearly Review (20 minutes)
Next, you’ll look at the previous year as a whole. Again, don’t spend too much time on each question – about 4 minutes each. Write fast and don’t think about it too much. I’ve given you some examples and further questions under each question, but feel free to answer these questions in the best way for you. There’s no right or wrong.
What parts of your business did you find the most joy from this year?
Did you love working with clients? Creating products? Writing? What parts did you find that you didn’t have to force yourself to sit down and do? What did you look forward to doing?
Did you forget to look at your plan in the latter half of the year? Did you avoid your numbers? Perhaps you avoided asking for help. Or having a tough conversation with your assistant?
What do you wish you had done more of in your business?
Could you have spoken more? Done more videos? Asked for more referrals from your clients? Done more sales conversations? Written more newsletters? Remember, don’t go crazy here – just write for a few minutes on the top ones that come to mind and move on. Trust that the most important ones will come up first.
What do you wish you had done differently in your business?
Perhaps you did a webinar but didn’t prepare enough for it. Maybe you did an event but you didn’t spend enough time marketing it. Perhaps you signed up for a course but didn’t take the time to go through the materials. Perhaps you weren’t consistent with sending newsletters or putting up videos.
What do you think you could do better next year?
Take a few minutes and read through your answers above. Then go ahead and write about what could be improved for the coming year. Again, don’t go too crazy with this one – the point is to come up with 3-5 solid changes that you want to make for your upcoming year.
4 New Actions (5 minutes)
Read through what you wrote, especially the answer to the question above. Now write 4 new actions, behaviors, beliefs or habits that you want to carry into the next 12 months.
What I love about this sort of analysis is that it’s not based on criticism or wishful thinking. It’s based on your reality – and this is such an important aspect of strategic planning for entrepreneurs.
Every year that I sit and answer these questions I’m blown away by the patterns and insights that the year has brought me. As I move into planning my next year, my resolutions and goals become so much more clear and realistic.
Enjoy your reflection and leave me a comment below or head on over to our Facebook group and tell us what you’ve noticed.
PS: Just in case you’ve missed it – I created a brand new 90-day planner for Entrepreneurs called the Breakthrough Planner. It takes all my systems and puts them into one amazing planner – check it out here.