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It’s time to plan

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Disruption creates problems and what a year of disruption 2020 has turned out to be, in every way imaginable!

I believe it is always important to take time in business to reflect on things – where you are going; what has worked and what has not; what you want less of, more of and to keep in your business. I once read that people spend more time planning their two week summer holiday than they spend planning their life or business. I sincerely hope that is untrue, however, consider this: without self-reflection and planning how do you know what you have achieved in the year? How can you learn the valuable lessons from what has not worked and take those forward, to achieve success in future years?

One of my business mentors has a really great way of thinking about the business year and planning it out. He talks about the year in terms of the four seasons and suggests we follow the seasons of nature. I have been doing this for several years now and it works very well for my business.

Winter season is a time to ‘roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty’ doing all the jobs in your business that you really don’t want to do. Fixing broken systems; putting policies and processes in place; working on business finances. Ask yourself these 3 questions: i) what are we building in winter? ii) what are we fixing in winter? iii) what problems are we overcoming this winter? It’s an intense time, working ON the business and being inward focussed. This requires exacting, detail driven energy throughout the winter to achieve everything on your list. It is about working hard, ON your business whilst maintaining that detail driven energy.

By the time spring comes you will be able to change energy to be outward focussed and to play, create, trial and test things. This season brings new growth, longer days, and lighter mornings. Now is the time to be creative, to recruit, to trial things built in winter, to launch marketing plans and to commit to your business strategy. Your energy levels will automatically go up, so have fun, and allow your creativity to flow.

When you reach summer, things should already be chaotic in your business with lots of growth, expansion, sales & marketing activities happening, across the team. This is the time to drive your business forward with consistently high energy, focussing on your customers and community and creating your audience. Push yourself as hard as possible whilst also keeping healthy and balanced. Think how bountiful nature is in this season. We, as entrepreneurs and business owners, need to mimic that.

In the middle of all this activity note down the things which require fixing or are broken or need putting in place. These should be saved to be worked on in the next winter period.

Autumn hails the season of reflection. Slow down and chill out after the madness of spring and summer. Catch up with the filing and listen to what your business has to say. To gain clarity for the coming year, continue figuring out what needs to be fixed and repaired and add it to your list of winter jobs. Autumn is a time for slowing down and for strategic thinking. Find the time and make the time. Research things and get really clear with a vision and solid strategies which will help you achieve your goals in the following year. Spend some time reflecting on what you achieved this year and how it needs to change for next year. What are your 1 year, 3 year and 5 year goals? Through spending this reflective time in Autumn you, and the team, can recharge and replenish yourselves ready to start afresh in winter with renewed vigour and a clear vision for the following year.

Disruption creates problems and those new problems require new solutions and new products and services. If ever there was a year to start business planning, this is it! Through disruption, 2020 has thrown up many opportunities. Go on, be strategic and plan for your new future.

Sheila Holt

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