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3 Things to Do Before You Start Your Strategic Plan for the Year

Though many people focus solely on business goals in their strategic plan for the year, there are 3 important topics I recommend keeping in mind before you get started.

1/ Is it time to revisit your vision?

Given that it’s January and goals are front and center in many people’s minds, it’s a great time to revisit your vision for your business as well as your personal life. Does the vision that you created previously still ring true?

I’d like to share a client story with you to illustrate what can happen when we don’t give ourselves the time and space to re-examine our vision to determine if it’s still in alignment with what we’re truly wanting. Oftentimes, as people get more experienced in their business there’s a certain point where they aren’t ready to think about succession planning or getting a junior advisor – and this is exactly what happened with this client.

I started working with this client when she was 67. At the time, she thought she would work 7 more years, and wanted to use our time together to enhance branding, marketing, and her overall business plan so that she could later sell her practice for the highest price. A few years later, she had her 70th birthday and went on a vacation to celebrate. When she came back from her trip, however, she told me she was ready to retire! So rather than focusing our energy on business development for her already very successful practice, we focused on clearly defining her practice (ideal clients, the culture, and the communities that she served), tier structure, and later discussing the process of determining who would be a good fit to buy her practice.

What she realized was that she had been working from an older version of her vision, assuming that what she had wanted in the past was still true. Succession planning had been nowhere near her mindset. When she had time away from her work, however, she realized that this older version of her vision no longer rang true. I’m happy to say that when I spoke to her a year later, the transition to the new owners was complete and she was ecstatic with her decision and the sense of freedom she was experiencing in retirement.

Now I invite you to ask yourself: could your vision be outdated? When was the last time you truly took time out to think through any changes that you would like to experience or see unfold for your business and your life overall?

2/ What challenges did you have in the previous year?

In addition to revisiting your vision, I also recommend revisiting any challenges that you experienced during the previous year. What went well, and what didn’t go as planned? What worked and what didn’t?

For example: Did you have a desire to generate a certain number of ideal clients from your existing clients, however weren’t able to find a way that was comfortable for you to actually have the conversation and ask? (For more on referral attraction, read this post.)

Furthermore, is there anything going on that you’ve been meaning to create a solution for and but haven’t gotten around to it yet? As you’re producing results and things are working, it’s easy to think – “I should do that!” and then forget to implement it, then remember again, and forget about it again… One solution could be to delegate that item to ensure it finally gets done.

3/ Look for weaknesses in your branding

Finally, look at your branding. Are there any weaknesses in your brand that you’d like to strengthen? One example might be improving your website and social media campaign (or lack thereof), or making sure that all of your marketing channels share a consistent tone and message. Outside of traditional marketing, does the look and feel of your office align with your brand? Your team can also add or detract from your brand, such as a receptionist that needs to be replaced with someone with a better attitude to be the voice of your company.

Not having a well-defined target market is another potential weakness that means you’ll be marketing everywhere, to everyone, hoping that your ideal clients show up instead of to a defined niche (for more on why that’s so important, read this previous post).

Maybe you know you’d like to work exclusively with women going through transition, however you might be afraid to “own” that niche for fear that you won’t attract enough business in that niche to narrow your focus. So instead, you speak generally about your practice and the fact that you want to work with women going through transition might be one of your best kept secrets!

If you’ve noticed a weakness in your branding, or would like help in any of the above areas, I would love to speak with you. Email me today: susan@susandanzig.com

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