Year End Planning & Steps to Make the New Year Your Best in Business

Episode 20


About The Show

Year-End Planning for your business is one of the greatest things you can do to ensure your success.

Learn how to maximise your results this week as I share with you the process I use to set goals in my business.

This year I am taking a different approach to planning by setting my goals over my Christmas Break, rather than in the New Year when back at work.

What You'll Learn!

  • The first step is to get yourself in the right environment when setting your goals
  • What equipment to have on hand when doing your planning
  • The benefits of mind mapping and how Jason uses Mindmeister for his planning
  • Identifying the critical elements of your life that matter to you eg family, health, faith, travel, education
  • The two-step process for each critical element – what you are grateful for and what do you want to achieve in the following year.
  • Why we don’t focus on what we haven’t achieved
  • The questions to ask when creating SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely
  • Identifying what you need to stop doing and what obstacles are in the way of achieving your SMART goals
  • Setting quarterly milestones to measure process
  • Sharing your goals and milestone with a business coach, accountability partner or mastermind group
  • Example of a Mindmeister Planning Template

Links Mentioned

Mindmeister is my go to tool for cloud based mind mapping.  The ultimate way to get your thoughts and ideas out of your head and into action.

Join other business owners in our Free Facebook Community all sharing their trials, ideas and wins in business. It's a fantastic community of driven and supportive entrepreneurs.



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Full Episode Transcript

You’re on episode 20 of the ‘Business Made Easy’ podcast, let’s do this Mia.
You’re on the ‘Business Made Easy’ podcast, where we make business easy.
Here’s your host, Jason Skinner.
Well Ho Ho Ho and welcome to the ‘Business Made Easy’ podcast, where we
make business easy. Jason your host here, no it’s not Santa Claus but I did
want to greet you in a festive way because it is Christmas after all and this is
our Christmas episode of the podcast. So, Merry Christmas to you all. I hope
all your Christmas plans are coming together nicely, I k
you’re interested in being part of that Facebook group, you can do that over
at www.businessmadeeasypodcast.com/facebookgroup.
You’re more than welcome to join our free community, over there. But we’ve
been talking about, what it is we’re going to do for up until the end of the year
and everyone has a different approach to it. And I’m going to take a different
approach myself this year, and I wanted to share that with you today
because, normally I would do my strategic planning or my business planning
and goals, set my goals and New Year’s goals at the start of the year. And it’s
quite common for people to get to New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day and set
their New Year’s resolutions and the things that they want to achieve, for the
year ahead – 2018. But what I found with that is, is that by the time you get
around to finalising that and getting it all in place, you’ve nearly lost a month
of the New Year.
And I really don’t like that, I think and I’m going to try something different
this year. I’m going to make 2, I do want 2018 to be my best year that I’ve had.
So I want to set myself up for that and so what I thought I’d share with you
today, is my new approach to two thousand and setting goals for the New
Year and see whether or not there’s some benefit for you in there as well. Or
whether or not you may already be doing this that I’m talking about. Please,
I’d love to have your feedback if you are doing it or if you’ve got any other
different ways because I know everyone approaches goal setting and
planning in a different way.
But I thought I’d take the time today and go through the way that I do it and
what I am going to do ahead of the New Year. There’s two schools of thought,
some people take the approach that it’s great to finish the year, finish work
for the year, have a rest and then worry about your goals and setting the
strategies etcetera for the New Year after you return from holidays. And
that’s certainly one way and I’m sure works for people, and that’s the way I’ve
always certainly done it. However, what I have found is that I don’t really rest
over the Christmas period anyway and so I really want to make sure that I’m
not wasting the time either. I’d probably rather set specific times during the
year that I’m going to take my rest times so that I get the maximum benefit
out of them. So, because you don’t really want to waste time, that’s probably
my first point is that I’m going to set my goals over the Christmas period
ready to hit the New Year. Hit the ground running in the New Year,
everything already organised so I know when I get back. Bang! That’s what
I’m going to do.
So I thought I’d take you through how I’m going to do that and share that with
you. And again, please drop me a line at
[email protected] if you’ve got other ideas how you do
it. I’d love to hear those as well and we can share those or share them over on
Facebook that’s www.businessmadeeasypodcast.com/facebookgroup and
love to have a discussion over there with you on that.
So typically, as I say, I haven’t always done this in the past. I’ve always done
this after New Year’s Eve has passed so, but the way that I approach it is this.
The very first thing we want to do is make sure that we get into an
appropriate environment to set our goals. Because we’re going to be thinking
about top-level strategy, we’re going to be thinking about vision and
direction and, so we’re going to need clarity. We want clear thought, we don’t
want to be hungover from the night before. We don’t want noise and
distraction around us, we don’t want emails and mobile phones or any of that
stuff. No social media, definitely. We want to find an appropriate time and an
appropriate place to do this high-level activity.
By appropriate place, I mean a comfortable place, a motivating environment.
For me, a motivating environment is at my desk but having my eighties music
playing, no one talking to me, everything shut down except my mind mapping
software. Which I’ll talk about shortly but I’m quite happy in that space to sit
and think and plan, provided I’ve got that music going. Yes, I’m an eighties
tragic but music for me is a massive motivator, it just gets me pumped. That’s
a motivating situation and place for me.
Again, I said you want to be free from distraction, not extraction. Free from
distraction, so talk to your loved ones, talk to anyone that’s in the house that,
or wherever you’re going to go and just say, “Look, I just need this time to
have to myself, to get some planning done.” So they understand and know
that you’re okay but just to leave you alone. Some people might even enjoy
having their spouse or loved one, actually in on the process as well. You can
make it a joint planning process, that’s always good as well. It really comes
down to how you best work best but make sure it is in your, it’s going to put
you in your high-level thinking area. Not just your mediocre naval gazing
area, you really want to be pumped to do this so that’s what we’re talking
about here. Make sure you’ve got that comfortable environment.
In that environment, you want to have, ideally a whiteboard, if you can. If not
a whiteboard, some sort of flipchart or some sort of big pad of paper that you
can scrawl and draw on and just write ideas out with. I find that really, really
good to do. I personally, like to use mind mapping software for myself. I use a
program called ‘MindMeister’ and ‘MindMeister’ is a web-based or
cloud-based mind mapping software. I’ll put a link over in the show notes for
you. It is an affiliate link, in full disclosure but it is, it’s not going to cost you
any extra to click that link. But ‘MindMeister’ is a mind mapping tool that I
use to map out all the elements that I want to cover in my strategy. So I can
see it all on one screen and be cloud-based, I can see it anywhere so if I need
to update it for any reason. I might set a goal, set some sort of plan, if I need
to modify that or add to it, I can quite easily. The trouble with paper is that it’s
not really flexible, it’s a bit analogue. You can’t update it as nicely as you can
with a piece of software. And it’s not expensive to use this software either,
it’s quite good so check that out. It’s ‘MindMeister’ and as I say, I’ll have a link
in the show notes for you.
But once we’ve got our environment right, I then want to identify on my, I do
it on my mind map. Again, I will have it in the show notes for you but I identify
the critical areas of my life that are important to me at the present time.
They’re the areas of my life that I want to be working in as much as possible,
during the year. They’re the why, what drives you, why you get out of bed
every day, what you do every day. They will vary from person to person as to
what they will involve or what they will cover. But for instance, to give you an
example of what I’m talking about here. You might have one of your critical
elements, so we’ll call these the ‘critical elements’.
One of the critical elements that you might be working on is your family.
Family is important, my family is vitally important to me. My wife is vitally
important to me. I want to make sure that that’s an area of my life that I don’t
neglect. Health is another critical element. Your health, if you haven’t got
your health, you haven’t, you can’t do anything. If you’re stuck in a hospital
bed, you can hardly get out there and achieve the things that you necessarily
want to achieve. So you’ve gotta look after your health and that’s an
important area.
Other areas that might be important to people, your faith. Your travel, how
you, travel is an important one because you may travel. I know for myself
personally, travel is important from the point of view that you grow so much
when you travel. I know I grow and expand my thinking and mind so much
when I travel so it’s an important element of my life. Education is also
important, education might be important to you too. Whatever those
elements are, you list those down and they’re going to be your starting point.
Because what we’re going to have is two parts to this, we’re going to have
what we have achieved in those elements in the last year and what we’re
grateful in each of those elements in the past year. And we’re also then going
to have another of it, the things that we want to achieve in the New Year in
each of those areas.
This is important and I’ll explain this as we go along, what it might be, to give
you an example. Of the first critical element, one of the critical elements that
I just spoke about, let’s say it’s family. When you’re looking at the past year,
write down all the things you’re grateful for about your family that you’ve
worked on, that have happened. You might not have even been involved but
you’re grateful for, show gratitude for that those, that situation within your
family, in your family unit. What are you grateful for with your health? And
what have you worked on during your health that you have achieved? So
talking about achievements and positive elements on each of those critical
Once we do that, so we sit down and we work those out and I would try and
come up with a minimum of five things. Why I said a limit of five things is
because sometimes you might get to three things and go, “Oh yeah, that’s
about it.” And then move on. Think about five things, set some sort of, if
there’s more than that, that’s great. But try and get a minimum of five. Think
about it deeply, think, and that’s why you have to, in a motivating and quiet
place. Think deeply about this and really what it is that you are grateful for
and what you have achieved. And that sets your mindset up than to look at
what you want to achieve in each of those elements in the next year.
So that’s the next bit we want to do is, sit down and write down all the things
that we want to achieve in the New Year in each of those critical elements.
For instance, you might have a particular business goal, what do you want
your business to look like in the New Year? By the end of 2018, which is
coming up, the year that we’re coming up in to. What do you want your
business to look like? What do you want your health to be at the end of the
year? What goals do you want to achieve in that critical element? So from
there, and be brutally honest. Make sure that you stretch yourself and you
are, and I’ll take you through goal setting in a second, but make sure that you
have a good, clear vision of what it is that you want to achieve in each of
those areas.
In terms of family, it might be you want to have a better relationship with a
particular person in your family. You feel you’ve been a bit neglectful so you
want to have an improved relationship, what would that look like?In terms of
travel, where do you want to go? How often do you want to travel? What
locations and all that can go under travel. You get the gist of that, so we now
after you’ve done that, have two arms to each critical element. We have a
‘what we are grateful for’ and ‘what we achieved in the last year’ and then we
have ‘what we want to achieve in the New Year’, what’s the goal?
Now you’ll note that I haven’t put in here what didn’t I achieve, and the
reason why I don’t like to put what I didn’t achieve is that I think it sets the
wrong mindset. And by default, if we haven’t achieved something in one of
those areas then, and it’s still important to us, it will make its way onto the list
for the New Year. For example, if within my health I set a goal to be a certain
weight. Which I didn’t achieve, but let’s say I set a goal to be a certain weight.
It will be on my New Year’s goal to get to that weight. If it’s not important to
me, then it won’t. So, you get, we’re focusing on a positive mindset rather
than just focusing on what we haven’t achieved and getting negative about
that. Let’s focus on, okay bang! Let’s focus on the New Year, what are we
going to achieve in the New Year in these elements?
Once we have those goals set, we want to look at, and I like to apply the
SMART goal principles to this. Now, the SMART goal system basically stands
for Specific = S Specific, Measurable goals. Sorry, specific goals. M is
Measurable goals. We want A is our Achievable goals, R = are they Relevant
and T are they Time-bound? So do we have some time constraints a
what we want to achieve. We then apply this SMART goal philosophy to
them, now this SMART goal philosophy has been around for a while.
It is a really effective way to do it because it makes sure the goals that you
set are specific to your strategy that you’re trying to achieve. Is it
measurable, so we can measure our progress with each of these goals? Is it
achievable, i.e. are we setting the bar too high or is it not high or are we? Well,
that’s just impossible, if I set a goal then I want to be, if I want to fly to the
moon, it’s not really going to be achievable in a short period of time. Bad
analogy but you get my point.
Relevant to your end vision, is it relevant to what you want to ultimately be
doing? Is there relevance in what you’re doing? Time-bound, what is the time
frame? By putting a time frame around a goal, it creates a sense of urgency
and a sense of accountability that we need to work to. So, they’re the things
that we want to, and I’ll put details of this in the show notes for you as well.
But, they’re the things we want to now apply to these goals. Are they SMART
goals that we’ve brainstormed and listed down?If they’re not SMART goals if
they don’t fit this criterion, is there a way we can get them to? So can we
change them so that we can actually fit them into that criteria?
So that’s what we want to do for each of the goals that we set in the, for the
2018 year. Are they SMART goals that we’re looking to achieve? And making
sure that they are. What, once I have those SMART goals down. The thing I
like to look at then is, and only after I’ve done all the positive stuff, I like to
look at things then and have a bit of a clean out. So I then look at, I look at my
goals, my final goal list that I have and I say to myself, “Well, do I now have,
obviously I’m going to need more time to do certain things. I’m going to need,
If I want to achieve this goal, I’m going to need to do. I’m going to need more
time in the day here.”
I then have a bit of a spring clean of things that I need to stop doing. And I go
through and have a good list of what things can I delegate? What things can I
outsource to someone else to do? What things can I stop doing that just
aren’t necessary, they’re just a waste of time? What, and this can even come
down to relationships. Where am I spending time on relationships that aren’t
really complimenting and achieving my goals? Because we all only have the
same 24 hours in a day. We don’t want to have negative people using up
those hours within the day. I think it’s Jim Rohn, quoted that, “You become
the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” And it’s so true,
we want to be, not ladder climbing but we certainly want to be making sure
that the people in our lives that we are hanging around, aren’t holding us back
and detracting from that.
That could, not necessarily not meaning not spending time with those people,
but maybe having a chat with them about, “Hey, this is causing disharmony.”
We want to have a good spring clean of friends, of tasks, of activities that
we’re doing that don’t compliment our new goals and new strategy that
we’ve set for the New Year. Because it’s no good, it’s no point going into the
New Year with baggage and trying to deal with it then. You really want to
have a good, this is part of the reason why I’m really thinking that starting this
planning process before the start of the New Year is a great idea because
you’re set, you’ve already done a lot of the processing and the strategising
and analysis. I do think it is really beneficial to set that.
Once I look at, getting all the, what negative things and what things I’m going
to stop doing. I then want to look at what obstacles may I come across along
the way. And I try and think of this in terms of, what are the big things that
could stop me from, if you think of, if we were prepared to deal with the
worse of obstacles that occur, could occur from stopping us achieving this
goal. Then it becomes easier to deal with the small things as they come along
because, geez if you could deal with, if you were prepared to deal with that
and it was only this, then it is a lot easier.
I want to set, look at what potential obstacles and how can I mitigate those
obstacles? How can I work around those obstacles and prevent them from
happening? You may not be able to avoid them entirely but you may be able
to come up with a strategy or a way to remove or minimize the impact of
those obstacles. A good way to do this is to set regular milestones, so put in
place some quarterly checkpoints. So every three months, sit down, if you’re
using the mind map ‘MindMeister’ program, sit down and review that on a
quarterly basis and say, “Okay, how’s this tracking? Am I on track to achieving
this, is this where I wanted to be?”
You can break your goals down into quarterly, “So, by this time I want to be
here. By this time I want to be here.” And really set clear parameters, so you
can measure your progress with those, with each of your goals. Which is a
great way to do it too. And I’ll give you an example, I know, so if you wanted
to travel to say, France in September of next year. Break that goal of
travelling to France down into some critical components. So the first
component might be to, by the end of March have my destinations, all my
destinations worked out and ready to book. So, in between April and June
might be to be doing all the bookings and making sure all that’s planned,
ready to go. You get the gist, so set, break it down into small bite-sized
chunks for those bigger goals so it doesn’t seem like such a daunting task.
Quarterly is a great way to monitor it because it’s sort of big enough to
achieve something but not too far ahead to not achieve it. So, I do like the
concept of setting those quarterly parameters and accountabilities that help
you keep on track. The other thing you can look at is getting an accountability
partner, like a coach or a, someone to keep you accountable on your goals.
Clearly, once you’ve set them all and you’ve identified that they’re important
and you might feel like you just need that person to check in on you.
Communicate those goals to an accountability partner that could help you to
stay on track with those. So they check in with you on that quarterly, they
may even catch up with you monthly. “How you’re going with this? You said
you were going to do this, where’s that at?” Business coaching is great for
that aspect if it’s business goals that you’re struggling with. Drop me a line if
you need a hand with that, I can certainly help you with any of that
accountability work that you may need help with.
Mastermind groups are another way that you can help avoid obstacles and
failing to implement. I call that FTI = Failure To Implement and it’s basically,
yeah a mastermind group is a great way to get together with colleagues who
are all sharing goals and swapping goals and keeping each other accountable.
A mastermind group is a great way to do that as well.
But whatever it is that works for you, some people don’t like a group
scenario, some people like one on one, some people are happy just on their
own. But I, and breaking it down into that quarterly exercise, but I will
certainly make sure that you look at doing that. And as I said, a great tool to
do this is to use a mind mapping tool. Because I said, it is all on one screen and
you can have it on multiple screens, but certainly, it’s with you wherever you
are. You can look it up, you can make adjustments as you need to and it’s
dynamic as opposed to being analogue like on paper.
The other way that you could do it too, is actually to map it all out on paper
and then once you’ve got clarity around it then have it all put into the mind
map. But I just find it easier and more efficient to just put it into the mind map
from day one, it’s very, very easy to get to do. And what I’ll do is, I will put an
example of what I’m talking about in the show notes. So you’re welcome to go
over there and download that and you’ll see there’s a bit of a template that
you can use to get a feel for what I’m talking about and go from there. If you
want to grab a copy of that mind mapping software, you can do that by going
to www.businessmadeeasypodcast.com/mindmap and if you click that link,
that’ll take you to the ‘MindMeister’ software and you can certainly go and
grab a copy of that. And just remember it is an affiliate link, it doesn’t cost you
anything extra, in terms of clicking that link but certainly, it is, in
transparency an affiliate link.
Finally, if you haven’t joined our Facebook group, please feel free to do so
over at www.businessmadeeasypodcast.com/facebookgroup . You can, one
of the benefits of setting your goals for the year and aiming high and striving
for success, is that there is a community over there that will support you and
will keep you accountable and provide assistance and help as well, anywhere
that you, in any way that you need it, from a business prospective. So yeah,
feel free to go over there if you haven’t already joined and get part of the
community and share your goals over there. I’d love to see what you, what
your plans are for the New Year. Feel free to share them and as I say, it is a
supportive group, so we’d love to see what you’re up to over there.
Well, I’ll just, actually just before I go, I’ll just recap for you, just to get
absolute clarity and make sure that we help you as best as possible. So the
first thing you’re going to do in terms of setting your goals is to find an
appropriate, suitable environment that is free from distraction and in a
motivating format for you and location. So that you’re inspired and pumped
ready to think hard and when you do think, do think hard. Stretch yourself,
don’t just take, “Oh yeah, I was going to do this last year. I’ll just do it this
year.” Just stretch yourself because you’ll be surprised what you can achieve
when you do aim the bar high.
Then you’re going to think about the critical elements that are important to
you, your family, your health, the business. Whatever it is, come up with some
critical elements that are important to you, in your life and what they mean to
you. Your why, this is why you get out of bed every day and do what you do.
So list those elements down. From there, we’re going to go through each of
those elements and look back over the past year as to what it is that we are
most grateful for, what we did achieve in those areas and we are proud of in
those areas. Things that we are really happy about in those areas and as I say,
Once we have that, we’re then going to look at what we want to achieve this
coming year in those areas. What goals do we want to set? What
relationships do we want to improve? What learning do we want to do? What
travel do we want to do? We want to set those goals as well. And then once
we have set those goals, we want to look and apply the SMART methodology.
That is Specific goals, are they Measurable goals? Are they Achievable goals?
Are they Relevant to your end vision and are they Time-bound? Do we have a
time parameter around achieving them?
So that’s the next element and then once we do that, we want to look at
cleansing out anything that’s not going to help us to move towards those
goals. So if there’s stuff that we’re doing that’s not going to help us, it’s not
relevant to us achieving those goals and we’ve got to cut that. So that we can
create capacity to grow and we can stretch ourselves and that could include
adjusting friendships. Instead of hanging out with friends or whatever you’re
doing at a particular time, it might mean going to the gym that extra time. Or
whatever it is that you’ve got to swap around to achieve those goals that is
important. We want to look at where can we create capacity and what’s
going to, where can we get rid of baggage that’s going to hold us back?
And then finally, we want to look at what obstacles, milestones and
checkpoints we can put in place. So identify any potential obstacles, identify
milestones and key performance indicators that are going to keep us on track
and we can measure. Remember if you can measure something, you can
manage it. It’s just a really important point in business and life and yeah,
setting those benchmarks around that. Get accountability partners, get
mastermind groups, get Facebook community groups whatever it is that you
need to help you stay on track with that. And you’ll make 2018 a smashing,
achievable year.
So that’s the way I approach goal setting and strategy for the year. As I said,
there are many variations, everyone does things a little bit differently but I
think that’s really worked well for me in the past. And the only difference I’m
going to do this year is actually do it ahead of January, rather than wait till
mid-January or later to actually implement and get that in place. So I think
that’ll make a big difference and I hope that makes a difference for you too.
If you’ve got feedback or you’ve got questions around today’s episode, I did
cover a lot of ground there, then please feel free to drop me a line at
[email protected] and I will happily answer your
question. Or as I say, join the Facebook group over there at
www.businessmadeeasypodcast.com/facebookgroup and we can help you
over there.
Well, that’s all I wanted to cover today, I will put links to everything in the
show notes. I’ll put any worksheets I can in the show notes and templates for
you as well, so feel free to go over there and grab those. They’ll be at
www.businessmadeeasypodcast.com/episode20 that will all be there, as well
as a transcription of today’s show and any relevant links, as I say.
So that’s all I had time for, I hope you have a very, very Merry Christmas and
a Happy and safe New Year. I do want to thank you for staying with me
during the podcast. It’s been a great journey and I really love bringing this to
you each week. I’m really appreciative of you taking the time to listen and I do
know you have a choice, there are lots of things to listen to and watch and see
out there. So I do appreciate you taking the time to be with me, I value you
and value you listening in. And, as for Mia, thank you, Mia, I wish you a happy
Christmas as well and have a great Christmas and New Year guys. Here’s to
your success. Take us away, Mia.
Merry Christmas everybody, Merry Christmas to you too Jason and see you
all in the New Year. You’ve been listening to the ‘Business Made Easy’
podcast, where we make business easy.

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