Welcome to the 2021 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.
I’m catching you at an odd time. It’s not quite the primetime holiday season anymore (although, don’t tell my husband #christmasforever.) But, it’s not quite New Year’s either. We’re in this sort of December limbo. The kids are out of school, auto-response messages pop on and off as people dabble between “working” and checking-out for the season, schedules are wonky, and everything feels a bit dreamlike.
We’re straddling 2021 and 2022.
That’s why this time of year can feel so strained, stretched, and confusing. It’s hard to know where to focus your attention, time, and energy.
I believe the space in between is precious and offers us so much potential as we work to transition from the past year into the new year with grace, wisdom, and aligned enthusiasm. We can leverage this time as an opportunity to step into the new year with our best foot forward and your 2022 planning complete.
If I were your COO, right now I would be asking you to carve out time during your December Limbo for five things as Q4 officially comes to a close and you begin your 2022 planning… Let’s call them the “Five R’s”: reflection, review, reverse engineering, refinement, and restoration. In this post, I hope to coach you through the process so that you can feel closure about the past year, and be ready to reap the full potential of the year ahead!
“I have great respect for the past. If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.” – Maya Angelou
This quote captures how I approach this unique season. As entrepreneurs, we tend to be so quick to rush into the New Year. We’re all running on fumes and momentum as we race from the holiday season, full steam ahead into January 1st.
But before you rush off to the next shiny thing, I encourage you to slow down and allow yourself to not only reflect but CELEBRATE all that you have achieved and all the people you’ve positively impacted in the last 365 days.
A few weeks ago I shared a post all about this topic. So this is a reminder (with oh so much grace) to take time for reflection if you haven’t yet. Specifically, I urge you to celebrate and reflect BEFORE you set any new goals or resolutions as part of your 2022 planning. You can read the whole blog on this topic >>where I offer in-depth journaling prompts to guide this process<< by clicking here (but don’t forget to come back here when you’re done!).
In the meantime, here’s the Spark Notes…
I truly feel that prioritizing the celebration will allow you to step into the new year with positivity, pride, and confidence. You’ll feel connected to your values and the “why” that pushes you to keep striving for the business of your dreams.
Now that you’ve celebrated all of your many successes, both big and small, it’s time to get granular. Here’s my perfect recipe for a balanced, informative, and productive end-of-year review:
Grab a mug of your favorite warm beverage, curl up, and snuggle in close. It’s time to get COZY with your numbers, facts, and figures for a good old-fashioned end-of-year review. It may not be glamorous, but it’s essential for any business to thrive. Ignoring the data, won’t make it go away. It’s time to confront your numbers head-on, for better or worse, so you can make informed, smart decisions moving into your 2022 planning.
Now that you have the facts and figures handy, it’s time to check in with yourself. Numbers aside, how are you feeling? These are the most important questions to ask yourself as you move towards setting and planning your business goals in the new year.
Review your past and on-going goals. What goals did you hit, miss, or change? How do you feel about these goals today? Do they still feel aligned with your core values, or has something shifted? Reflecting on your past goals helps you realign and can also help you track how far you’ve come and how your business has evolved. Pretty neat!
Now, you’re prepared to move into the goal-setting stage of your New Year’s Business Goals. Let’s dive in!
With a solid foundation, you are ready to start your 2022 planning with defined, set, and clear goals for the new year!
Brainstorming, choosing, and setting goals can feel vague or even daunting without the right structure. I believe all entrepreneurs should focus on these three goal categories.
What numbers are you hoping to hit? Get aligned with this goal and consider how it will impact your lifestyle, your business, your family, and your mission. Get really clear about how much you aim to earn and how you’ll feel when you get there.
Success is different for everyone. Take some time to consider what success means to you (hint: look back at the milestones and stepping stones you highlighted in the reflection process. This will serve as a guiding compass as you discover how YOU define success). For some people, money is a form of success. For others, success is defined by time freedom, or the impact they’re able to have on their community.
What is the vision you have for yourself and your business? What are you truly working towards? It may take years to get there, but what do you want, and why are you committed to doing this? For example, my ultimate goal is to be present in my kids’ lives for all their big and small moments and to have the freedom to make memories with them by the beach every summer.
With your goals clearly set before you, you can start your 2022 planning to reach the success you’re claiming for next year!
The reason most goals or New Year’s Resolutions fail is that they aren’t S.M.A.R.T. and they don’t include the steps required to get there.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. With your financial, success, and ultimate goals in front of you, ask yourself:
Once you’ve created S.M.A.R.T. goals, it’s time to reverse engineer a plan.
Take your goal. Perhaps your goal is to grow your email list to 100 subscribers by March of 2022. Now, work backward and think about all of the small steps you’ll take to meet that goal.
If this is your goal within 3 months, you might choose to…
Once you have these steps clearly mapped out, it will be easy to see what your next best step should be as you chip away at your goal.
One of my favorite expressions in business is, “what got you here won’t get you there.” While the strategies and systems you’re currently using HAVE gotten you this far, they may be limited.
A lot of the things that seem to be holding you back, might actually be connected to the way you’re doing things day in and day out. I think it’s essential that business owners take a step back to assess how they’re doing things daily and why. That’s why all of my CEOs complete a systems and content audit to ensure everything in place is working FOR them, not against them. This is an essential part of your 2022 planning for your business.
We are creatures of habit. It’s natural to get into a groove and keep chugging along, doing things the way we’ve always done them.
But if you aren’t taking a step back from the status quo, your business may become outdated right before your eyes. It’s important to assess the systems and content you have in place, as part of your 2022 planning, so that you can assess if they are or are not serving your current needs.
When we just let things run in the background without maintenance we also risk sharing outdated material with our audience. We use “evergreen” content and take it literally. The concept of “set it and forget it” sounds nice in theory, but if we completely forget it, we may realize we have old messaging, offers, or processes floating around, confusing or misleading our ideal customers.
The Systems and Content Audits ALL of my CEOs update annually:
Once you’ve tended to each of these pieces, you’ll step into the new year feeling confident, polished, and professional.
COO Tip: Often, we feel limited by time or energy. We only have so many hours in a day after all! If we are fighting against time, it can feel impossible to reach our big business goals. If your goals are related to time, I highly recommend completing a time audit. This is a great step to take to better understand where your time is going so that you can be more intentional about your time. It will help you see if there are things you can systemize or automate behind the scenes. In addition, it is a great piece of insight to help you decide if it’s the right time to outsource certain projects or hire a new team member.
The last and perhaps most important thing – I urge all of my clients to prioritize rest during this time of year and carve out unplugged time away from their businesses!
Help yourself: Put automations in place so you can truly unplug and rest this holiday season.
Then, take some time to truly be away. I believe that rest is productive. When you take time off, you create space for…
Together, these benefits will help you prevent burnout. Once January hits, you’ll be inspired, excited, and energized to tackle all those big projects you have in mind for your business!
With this solid goal-setting and 2022 planning in hand, you have all the tools you need to step into the New Year with energy, pride, clarity, focus, and a plan. I can’t wait to cheer you on in 2022 as you accomplish those goals you set out to achieve, serve your clients well, and create a business and a life you’ve always dreamed of.
As we move into January, my priority is supporting you as you chip away at your goals. I believe the best way to do this is to build a strong foundation based on rhythms in business. That’s why I’ve committed to a 2-month blog series all about the different types of rhythms you need to create a smooth, scalable, and successful business.
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