What We’d Be Working on Right Now If I Were Your COO

Welcome to the 2020 Q4 Edition of, “What We’d Be Working on If I Were Your COO.” 

At the close of each quarter, I’ll guide you through the exact processes and reflections I work on with my COO clients throughout the year. You can expect actionable guidance, deep reflection, and ways to enhance your business systems to reach your goals. 

Curious about what we’ve covered in this series? Check out the 2021 Q1, 2021 Q2 and 2021 Q3 blogs.

Can you believe we’re already at the end of Q1 of 2021? It feels like just yesterday I was writing about wrapping up your 2020 and starting 2021 strong

December is the month for wrapping things up, reflecting on the past year, planning for the new year, spending quality time with the people we love the most, and doing what makes us happiest. This is as true in your personal life as it is in your professional life when you’re an entrepreneur!

As a COO, I help my CEOs prioritize these things and protect their time, so they can enjoy a successful and thriving business as much as they can enjoy the time they are able to take off over the holidays!

So, if you’re an entrepreneur and want to round out 2020 and head into 2021 ready to hit the ground running and start crushing your business goals, here’s what I’d have you focusing on this month if I were your COO.

2021 Goals and Planning

Ok, so this one is obvious! But it’s also easy to skip or glaze over as we try and wrap up client work and start planning our offers for the new year. Somehow “set goals” tends to get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list when we’re busy in all the “doing” that happens when running a successful business.

It can be tempting to just sit down for 5 minutes with a pen and paper and scribble down a list of goals as they pop in our head. And while that can definitely be a part of setting goals, simply doing it this way isn’t going to help you take your business to the next level.

Instead of rushing through it, or creating goals without a plan, I encourage you to take some time and really sit down and work through your goals and planning for next year. You know what they say…a goal without a plan is just a dream!

So, to set goals that will actually move the needle in your business, here’s my approach:

Start with a review of 2020. 

  1. Check out your numbers. I’m talking about real, tangible data. Look at your finances, your client retention numbers, your number of new clients, profitability, and price points. What are your numbers telling you? 
  2. Review your past goals. What goals did you hit, miss or change? 
  3. Think about what’s going well in your business. What projects or clients were your favorite? What did you love doing that you want to do more of? 
  4. Then think about what’s not going so well. What do you want to do less of? What are pain points or constant stumbling blocks you need to address?
  5. Considering what opportunities you have going into the new year. Is there room for improvement anywhere? Do you have a new service or product you’d like to offer? 
  6. And last but not least, do a gut check. How are things feeling for you? Does it still excite you? Do you feel aligned with what you’re offering and how you’re running your business?

Now that you know where you are and where you’ve been, you can get a better idea of where you want to go!

Use the insights for your 2020 review to set your goals for 2021! I like to think of goals in a few different ways.

  • Financial Goals: what numbers am I aiming to hit?
  • Success Goals: how am I defining success for myself this year? (It’s not all about the numbers!)
  • That One Big Ultimate Goal: what is my vision for myself and my business? What am I truly working towards? It may take years to get there, but what do I truly want and why am I truly doing this?

Then…reverse engineer your goals!

This is simply taking those goals and figuring out the exact steps you need to take to make them happen. Each step should be clear, actionable, and have a deadline to keep you moving forward. They should also be broken down small enough that you can get them done in a reasonable amount of time and check them off, not big and vague. So if instead of saying you “Grow my email list” you’ll want to break it down further and maybe start with “create a new lead magnet,” and then “promote lead magnet in 5 Facebook groups”…etc.

Your approach will look different for each one of your goals, but this planning is what makes them actionable and what helps you to actually achieve them! This is also where sometimes outside help in the form of a coach, consultant, or your trusted team can really come in handy. Different perspectives and accountability make all the difference when it comes to both planning realistically (but ambitiously) and executing!

Remember, what got you here, won’t get you there.

So, if for example, you have a big goal to double your sales in 2021, you’ll need a plan to get twice the results you saw this year! That may mean spending more time in lead gen, putting more money towards marketing, launching more often, or even outsourcing some tasks. 

There are so many different ways you can grow your business. The idea of this planning session is to get crystal clear on your goals and direction for the new year. That way you know exactly where you are going and can decide exactly how you’re going to get there. This will give you a clear roadmap and make it easy to see if you are on track to reach your goals (or not!) at any given time.

(PRO TIP: If any of your goals are tied to your time or production, doing a capacity calculation can make sure your goals are all in line, right sized and attainable! I have all my clients do capacity calculations each quarter or whenever they are adding services or changing pricing. It’s a great way to see exactly where you stand and what will need to go into hitting your numbers! I even created a tool to make this super quick and easy for my clients!)

Systems and Content Audit

I have each of my clients do an audit of both their systems and their important evergreen content once per quarter, but it’s always most important at the end of the year as you reset your vision and goals! So each December we schedule some time to go through all of it!

I do this for a two reasons:

  1. It’s easy to get overlooked – In this fast-paced, always on, world of online business, things are constantly changing. If we’re not going back and constantly reviewing our content and systems, they can become outdated so quickly, without us even noticing. You don’t want your website broadcasting services you no longer offer or your email system sending people to broken links! And if that does happen, you want to catch it quick!
  2. We are creatures of habit – It’s so easy to just keep doing things the way we’re used to doing them without thinking about it (even when it’s no longer the best way to do it!) By objectively looking at how we’re doing things on a regular basis, it’s easier to identify improvements that can be made or gaps that are occuring. But we don’t always see these opportunities if we don’t take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture.

It’s so important that our systems and content are not only working FOR us and where we are at in our business right now, but also for where we want to go. 

We need to be flexible and grow and adapt as our ideal clients do, as the systems we’re working within do, and as we ourselves do.

To make sure you’re business is current and running smoothly and working towards your goals and vision efficiently I suggest you review all your internal AND client facing systems and content:

  • Public facing platforms: website, social media, branding, etc.
  • Materials and collateral: templates, contracts, welcome packets, nurture sequences, etc.
  • Plans: content, marketing, sales, etc.
  • Software: CRM, PM, email, subscriptions, etc.
  • Systems and SOPs: onboarding, offboarding, training, etc.

Are they all current and up to date? Do they speak effectively to your ideal clients? Are they still relevant? Or are there better options out there?

Looking at each of these areas objectively will help streamline your business and make your messaging crystal clear! So you’ll not only land qualified leads quicker, you’ll convert them and be able to get to work much quicker too!

Setting Things on Autopilot for Time Off Over the Holidays

Let’s be honest, we all need some time off. Even if you love working and your business is your baby, burnout is REAL and as business owners, we are our most important asset. If we don’t take care of ourselves no one will. And if we don’t take care of ourselves, not only will we suffer, but our business will too.

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you probably already know that I’m a huge proponent for setting boundaries and protecting your time and energy. It is SO important. Especially this time of year. And especially after the challenges that we’ve faced in 2020. 

So, I’ll be encouraging all of my CEOs to take some time off. And If I were your COO, I’d be encouraging you to as well. 

I mean the unplugged, checked out, relaxing and recharging, quality time with loved ones type of time off. There will be OOO auto-responders and all the Voxer, Click-up, and Slack channels will go quiet for a little while. And I encourage you to do the same.

We spend so much of our time online. We can be tied to our laptops and phones. And while I LOVE technology and I love the flexibility it gives us and the way it empowers us to work whenever and wherever, it can also drain us and feel like an anchor. We feel like we always need to be reachable, we always need to respond quickly, and we better not be quiet for too long because we don’t want the algorithm to penalize us for it (that’s a whole post for another day!).

But we need time away. We need time to spend, face-to-face (when possible) with the ones we love. We need time without the distraction of that constant notifications dinging or buzzing and grabbing our attention away from the people right in front of us.

For our own well being, to make this all sustainable, to keep it enjoyable – please, take some time away.

I help my CEOs take this time off, with peace-of-mind knowing that their clients and their business will still be there and going strong when they get back, by setting up their business in a way that it can work for them even when they aren’t working.

Stepping away and taking time for yourself does not mean your business needs to grind to a halt. With technology these days, we can step away and still have our business working for us even when we’re not. With the right systems in place leads can still be captured and nurtured, things can still be scheduled, content can still be published, and progress can still be made. 

And what systems and automations can’t do, teams can. And when the two come together, that’s when the magic really happens!

So you can take your time off, and come back to a business that’s been running steadily and is ready to go!

Use these steps to finish 2020 strong and set yourself and your business up for success in 2021!

And if as you read this, you thought…”wow, I could really use a COO!” I have some good news on that front – I am now offering done-for-you COO services for overwhelmed creative entrepreneurs, just like you! 

I only have 2 spots available going into 2021 though, so if you’re interested and would like more information, apply today so we can chat and you can snag your spot!

  1. […] Can you believe we’re already at the end of Q1 of 2021? It feels like just yesterday I was writing about wrapping up your 2020 and starting 2021 strong!  […]

  2. […] about what we’ve covered so far? Check out the 2020 Q4 and 2021 Q1 […]

  3. […] about what we’ve covered so far? Check out the 2020 Q4, 2021 Q1 and 2021 Q2 […]

  4. […] about what we’ve covered in this series? Check out the 2020 Q4 blog as well as the 2021 Q1, 2021 Q2 & 2021 Q3 […]

Let's Connect!
Follow Me  @erincantwellco