Each week I have a day blocked out in my calendar for CEO day ... the chance for me to work ON my business, not just IN it! Sometimes, that day isn't spent how I want it to, sometimes I'm just dealing with team issues, an overloaded plate, bookkeeping issues, software issues, and the list goes on ... but by scheduling this day, every single week, it makes sure that I (using the Eisenhower matrix) don't just do the "do" on CEO day, but I actually get PLANNING! Without a PLAN (or a road map) we can't possibly know where we're headed ... and that's a chaotic way to run a business!
December rolls around so fast every year, so it's important to take the time to look at the year that's been, the year you want to have, and assess what’s worked, what hasn’t, and how it's all aligning with your BHAG(s)! (BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL(s)!!)
If you really want to build a successful business, and if you want to make 2023 your best year in business EVER, then you need a PLAN. Do yourself a, favour, use my version of the Eisonhower Matrix (click here for the Hello Media template created on Canva)
Making your to-do list is the first step toward getting work done, and prioritising what's important! Determining what to tackle first when you don’t have enough time to do everything in one day is really important, and with effective prioritising, you can absolutely improve your productivity, ensuring your most urgent tasks get done first, and the rest will soon fall into place once you've completed our template!
The Eisenhower Matrix has been a game changer for me personally, and I was introduced to it by Jenni of Elephant in the room consulting (we do our live-video-podcast together every Friday morning), and she calls it the do-first method. It's such a brilliant daily management tool that helps you work out what's urgent, and what's not, helping you establish a really efficient workflow. I've been using it for around 3 years now, and it's such a fantastic way of making sure I prioritise, delegate, and even DELETE what's been sitting on my to-do list and not getting done!
So to prepare for a cracking great year next year, first you need to set aside TIME. to plan, and take stock. You can start with just half an hour, to think about the following five questions I've put together, to make sure your NEXT year in business is your best! 2023 here we come!!
Working on these questions will help you to get clarity, adjust your focus and work out what decisions you need to make to make sure you're preparing yourself for an awesome next year.
(1) What's been GOOD and BAD for you professionally, emotionally and financially?
Looking at the months since January 2022, what has made you proud, and what has made you cringe? What months were most profitable, what months brought in the least revenue? What did you do differently during the better months, and what did you not do, during the least profitable months? It's easy to focus on what's been less-than-awesome, so it's really important to write down your successes. Start by aiming for 3, and you'll soon find there are many more (that perhaps you'd forgotten about?!). Small successes are important to acknowledge! Celebrate the little wins ... they're important!
Remember to consider what's been good and bad for you professionally, emotionally and financially.
(2) WHAT'S BEEN HARD and WHO are you hanging out with?
What has been a challenge for you this year? What has slowed down your progress in working towards your goals? Has it been the lack of planning? Getting caught up in the day-to-day grind, and not taking the time to work on the bigger picture? Are you ready to set aside a day a week for CEO day, like I do? Procrastination is a major issue for a lot of business owners. Completing your Eisenhower Matrix weekly (or daily!) can really help with procrastination and time-wasting. It will also help you to look at where you might need to get support, to delegate, or to outsource. Maybe it's time for your first VA, or an operations manager, or a social media management team? Maybe it's time to work with a coach to help you get direction, keep you on track, and support you in your growth and seeing clearly where you need to head and how you're going to get there. Perhaps you've been having difficult client/customer relationships?
Areas to look at:
- Your daily habits - what needs changing?
- Your level of skill - is it time to upskill in an area, or outsource?
- Mindset - are you focused on moving forward, or are you struggling with a scarcity mindset?
- Your body - are you moving enough during the day? I know I don't! Making sure you take a lunch break and get some fresh air is so important! Perhaps you need to think about a stand-up desk? Or look at when you're scheduling your appointments, so you finish earlier, or start later, or take a longer break or more breaks during the day? Looking after your body and having regular breaks will make a huge difference!
- The people you surround yourself with. Are you attending networking events? Are you part of a supportive network of fellow business people who support you, and help you grow? When you surround yourself with positive people who inspire you and understand you, it's so much easier to stay focused on your goals. They help you to stay energised and motivated, and you'll feel less stress.
Who are the five people you spend the most time with? Motivational speaker Jim Rohn says that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. I believe we also have to include ourselves in these five people, and then how about we revise it to; “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, including ourselves.” Who you spend time with influences the person you eventually become. Who you are with can elevate you as much as it can bring you down.
(3) HOW ARE YOU FEELING about your business?
How have your feelings about your business changed or evolved this year? Are you still passionate about what you do? Are you positive about the direction you're headed or the growth you've made? How you feel about what you do should directly affect the decisions you make about how to approach the next year. If you're feeling negative, disappointed, overwhelmed, confused, exhausted, let-down, or a myriad of other feelings, you'll need to find a new way to approach what you do, and perhaps surrounding yourself with people who will help you get back on track, is exactly what you need?
Around six years ago I realised that I had lost my love for my (then) business. Part of me still loved what I did, (I had an eCommerce business, where I designed eco toys and decor, manufactured fair trade, and sold through boutique stores throughout Australia, plus an online retail store, and a distributor in Korea). The ethos behind the business was still in alignment with my ideals, but creating more "stuff" had lost its sparkle. I was tired of travelling so much doing trade shows, and to get to my next goal, I needed to start doing trade shows overseas. I booked a session with a mentor, and in that first hour with her, I knew it was time to sell. I loved that I had clarity about where I needed to go and whether or not I wanted to go there. I didn't. So, I spent the next year preparing the business to sell, and that felt fantastic! Once on the market, it sold very quickly, and I rewarded myself with my first ever trip to Social Media Marketing World in San Diego, so I could get Hello Media (which was already operating part time) shifting gears so I could go full-steam-ahead and get the business sparkling. I have never looked back. While that eCommerce business was fabulous fun (and successful!) for many years and saw tremendous growth, I have loved being able to focus 100% on Hello Media's growth, employing a wonderful and ever-growing team, working with incredible clients who inspire me daily, and I LOVE celebrating their growth and wins, and watching the business evolve into what it is today.
So you see, taking stock of where you are, and how you FEEL about your business, is so important! Just because you've put everything into your business, doesn't mean you have to stay in it if you're feeling stuck. Maybe it's time to shake things up, or maybe it's time for a complete change. Whatever it is, make sure you put time aside to really think about it.
(4) Are you UPSKILLING?
Are you letting yourself (and your business) down in any areas? Do you have doubts about what you're doing or how you're doing some things? As small business owners, we can't be good at everything! So often when we start out we're a one-person-band wearing all the hats! Customer service, social media management, product or service creator or provider, bookkeeper, and the list goes on! Which of those areas do you need to upskill in, and which of those areas do you need to delegate? How can you boost your abilities and confidence in areas that you do enjoy, but perhaps feel a little out of your depth? Can you find an online course, or prioritse time to upskill and work with a coaching programme so you learn, get accountable, and grow in the direction you want to head? I believe every coach needs a coach, and every business owner needs a coach. Basically, everyone needs a coach! Business coaching is so worth the investment (time and financial!) Having someone who can help you with your business ups & downs is so rewarding. Being guided in how to run & grow your business effectively, advising you on how to solve specific business problems, will change the way you feel about your business.
Experience is the best teacher, and a small business coach who is both qualified and has experience, and is someone you resonate with (whatever stage of business you're at), will always play a significant role in the success of your business. Your coach will challenge your thinking, provide solutions, guide you, support you and be your biggest cheerleader, and walk with you on your path to success. If it's time to invest in a new online course, do it! If it's time to work with a business coach, do it! Investing in upskilling will be best the best thing you can do for your business in 2023!
(5) Are you networking with people who can help you reach your goals?
Do you make time to network? Both online and offline? Are you following up with the connections you're making? Make a list of the people you've met this year and get in touch with them before the end of the year! It can be as small as reaching out in a direct message on your socials, or sending an email.
Networking is the process of making connections and building relationships. These connections can provide you with advice and contacts, which can help you make informed business decisions. Networking shouldn't be about how how much I can get out of you, it should be about building mutually enjoyable relationships, where you can support each other, refer, and share.
If you haven't been putting time and effort into networking this year, how can you do it better next year?
Once you've worked through these five (big!) questions, it's now time to get busy PLANNING how the next year is going to be the big one! Find a coach who aligns with your goals, join a networking group where you connect with like-minded business owners, get clear on your strategy and vision, and set aside a day a week for CEO day ... make 2023 the year you kick goals, grow, and get passionate about your business and how you're making a difference to the world, your family, yourself or your community.
If you'd like to explore if I am the right fit for you as a coach, book a free discovery zoom! Maybe we're a great match ... you'll never know unless you try!
Click here to access our FREE Hello Media canva template of the Eisenhower Matrix, and start prioritising!