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Annual Planning: Preparing for a successful year ahead!

It’s that time of year. We’re all busy trying to finish our current projects while preparing for a successful year ahead.

I was recently in Lambertville, New Jersey for the 2nd of 4 sessions in a Grad Program led by Michael and Amy Port. This highly-intensive program is designed for high achievers who are ready to uplevel further in the areas of speaking and performance.

You see, I believe in the importance of always upleveling. I won’t allow myself to get comfortable for long before I’m ready to take on my next challenge.

Here’s what happened.

My trip started last Wednesday when I flew out to San Diego. I gave a 90-minute presentation at Mirasee’s annual event. It was there that I stretched outside of my comfort zone and shared very innovative, high-level content that’s been swirling around in my mind for the past year.

My educational focus has always been pretty tactical in nature. I’d advise people to put an optin box in a certain location on their website or what Facebook posts to share. And while there is a lot of value in that, and I’ll continue to share those things, I’m being called to also share more conceptual and creative strategies that will lead to greater long-term success.

The Mirasee talk was extremely well received. I walked out of the room feeling validated to share these more creative ideas. I’ll do so with my weekly tip videos (subscribe to my YouTube channel here to get notified when new videos are available), through “pop-up events” (one-time only events I’ll host at random, that will only be offered for a very short window of time before they disappear forever), and more public speaking (both online and offline).

I know you have a lot of options in terms of who to give your time to, but I can re-commit to you that if you stay on this path of following me, I will continue to put my very best foot forward for you and make it worth your time. I greatly value your trust and will continue to work hard never to let you down.

Annual Planning Deep Dive

During my all day travel from CA to NJ, I sat at my computer and took myself through a deep dive annual planning session. Here’s what I did (and encourage you to do too):

  • First, I revisited and refined my Customer Journey. There is little more important than this first step so you have a very clear vision on how followers and prospects enter your organization, then what you want them to do next, next, and next. New to this concept? Watch my training video here.
  • Second, I took out a new piece of paper and made three columns at the top. One column had the heading “Operations,” one had “Sales” and one had “Marketing.” I then listed my focus points in each column.
    • For example, in the Marketing column, I listed ONLY the areas of marketing I wanted to have a strong focus on next year. For me, these include: Video, SEO, Blogging, Social media, Email list, Metrics, Getting interviewed on podcasts, Speaking, Strategic partners, Word of mouth. Sure, there are lots of other ways I could market, but if I try to do it all I’ll stretch myself too thin. Note, Facebook Advertising wasn’t on my list. 🙂
    • In my Operations and Sales columns, I listed only the focus points here again. For sales that meant anything from videos that explained our services, or optin offer email funnels, or sales call format and more. For operations, I focused on anything from team culture to customer experience, to training both our clients and team, and more.
    • I mostly listed the things that were already in place with only a “few” new ideas to implement. As you grow your business it’s just as important to revisit old content and offerings, and then update/refine them, as it is to push new offerings.
  • Next, I pulled out a new sheet of paper and I made a fresh new Content Plan for the year. This content plan gives me focus on which tip videos to produce in the year ahead, which optin offers to create, and the topics I can create pop-up events or workshops around. New to the Content Plan exercise? Watch my training video here.
  • And the only other thing I had time for on the flight was a list of other areas of life I wanted to focus on. For example, you might list out “conferences I might attend” or “books I want to read” or “experiences I want to have with my kids” or “fun date night ideas with my spouse” or “self-care practices”. If you don’t write it out, you will likely just think you’ll get to it, and likely won’t.

I know some groups are big on defining “one word” or defining 90-day sprint goals and so forth. Bottom line: Do you.

Planning is important this time of year so you have direction. I know how scary it can be when you’re not sure what to do next, or what you want. It’s only through exploring and writing that one idea will lead to another. There is no wrong path. Just start and see what unfolds.

I wish you a magical holiday season and couldn’t be any more grateful for you!


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