Are you feeling the pressure to lay out your plans for 2024? I'm gonna share a secret with you -- I've discovered the magic of kicking off my planning in mid-January. And before I even get to that point, -- I prep.
You have no idea how much more effective planning in your business can be if you take the time to reflect on your journey so far before deciding where it goes next. Join me as I unpack the process and share how it can set the stage for a more balanced, fulfilling year ahead both professionally and personally.
In this episode, I share insights on how to ensure your values steer your business in the right direction, how my mission and vision are at the epicentre of my business, and how you too can create a roadmap that aligns your personal and professional goals.
Remember, planning isn't about checking boxes off a to-do list; it's about carving out the life you dream of. So, ditch the clichéd nonsense and take an intentional approach to embrace the new year.
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The Business Blasphemy Podcast is sponsored by Corporate Rehab® Strategic Consulting.
Corporate Rehab® is a fierce ally for ambitious ex-corporate moms who refuse to be restricted by outdated work (and social) norms. We challenge the status quo, empowering you to lead from your truth. Forget the empty hustle and build a legacy of success your way. The key? Our distinctive 4-part framework, The Audacity Factor™. It's not just a strategy, it’s a groundbreaking shift in how you approach your goals. Sarah, a seasoned strategist and advisor, not only helps you craft a path to long-lasting success where smart, deliberate actions replace the weary treadmill of hustle and grind — she walks beside you as you do.
Schedule a no stings "Let's Talk Business" call today and find out what small shifts you can make to work less and double your profitability....
Welcome to the Business Blast for Me podcast, where we question the sacred truths of the online business space and the reverence with which they're held. I'm your host, sarah Kahn speaker, strategic consultant and BS busting badass. Join me each week as we challenge the norms, trends and overall bullshit status quo of entrepreneurship to uncover what it really takes to build the business that you want to build in a way that honors you, your life and your vision for what's possible, and maybe piss off a few gurus along the way. So if you're ready to commit business class for me, let's do it. Hello, hello, blasphemers. You know this is the time of year when things start to get hectic Black Friday's upon us, thanksgiving, cyber Monday, and then the holiday holiday season is in full swing, with all of its shenanigans and obligations. I mean, can you believe we are already halfway through November? Like what the actual shit is happening? It gets crazy. We know that, on the one hand, you've got people demanding your attention and energy for stuff in your personal life and, on the other hand, you've got people demanding the same amount of attention and energy from the business side of things. Especially if you're serving clients, there will be a lot of space holding for them and helping them with year-end stuff in their business. Maybe they're doing a Black Friday special and that's starting to ramp up. Maybe they got a launch coming up, sort of as a final push towards the end of the year. So it does naturally feel very hectic and very busy and very heavy, and it's going to just continue to feel that way right through January. Now this time of year can also feel very naturally reflective, right A time to take stock, and I'm 100% on board with that. We naturally feel like slowing down, despite the hectic nature of this time of year, and that feeling really lends itself nicely to looking back over the year and asking some really important questions, because you're also going to see a lot of people pushing 2024 planning right. Plan your year now, get everything set up now. Hit the ground running in 2024. I used to be in that camp. I was fully convinced that if I planned everything out before the holidays in December, I'd be that much more ahead when the new year rolled around, and the truth is it never worked out that way, no matter how meticulous I was in my planning. Now, this was never truer than when I was a teacher. When I was teaching in college I would plan the January semester in December, right Before we went on break. I'd make copious notes to myself with footnotes and anecdotes and, like I would just make a ton of notes about what needed to change, what needed to be done differently, and how and why right. And I was always so proud of myself, I'd feel so good going into the break. And then January would roll around and it never failed. I'd sit down at my desk, look at all my plans, look at all my notes and swear to God it was like someone else had written them. I had forgotten context for so many things, even though I'd like written notes because over the years I'd learned right Like context was always my problem. So I'd give myself a lot of context and I'd look back at it and go the fuck was I talking about? I forgot why I made a lot of the choices that I did or made a lot of the suggestions that I did. And now this might be a me thing, but I know a lot of people who go into January and, honestly, no matter how well laid out the plan is, they feel like they're still in the fog of the holidays for quite a while after the New Year starts Now, I personally don't really feel, you know, ready to go until about mid-January. There have been some years where February was really the time where I felt like, okay, now I'm ready to start planning. So that is when I actually do my planning for the year. Look, there is no better or worse time to plan. There's no time of year that makes planning more or less effective. You can plan now or you can plan later. It's all about cadence. It's your cadence, how you work most effectively and your current capacity. Time is a construct, my friend. I joke all the time about how time is a flat circle and everything just kind of runs into everything else, but time truly is a construct. You can set your timeframe for planning up however you want. You can plan out month by month, you can do it in quarters, you can do it in thirds, you can plan it in weeks. For all I care, it doesn't matter. What matters is what works for you. And I promise you, I promise you, there is no one method or strategy, there is no one method or timeframe or process that is magical and that will suddenly have you feeling like you've got your shit together. So I don't plan before December 31st? I don't. There are people who do and they are very successful with it and good for them. I don't do it. The holidays are a tough enough time, even if you don't celebrate anything around that time, right? So, like I said, I do my planning in the new year, well into January, and I often offer on an annual basis a planning workshop that people attend, because there are a lot of people who do feel like me. But here's what I will do before the end of the year, I will prep for my planning and it's not like I used to do when I was teaching, making a bunch of notes and things like that for changes that I should make. It's more reflective work. So I'm going to share with you my annual planning prep work so that when I sit down in January, or sometimes even February, to plan for the coming year, I have a good, solid foundation on which to do it and I'm not trying to reach through the weird end of your fog, trying to remember what happened the year before. Right, I do two different exercises I reflect in my business, which I'm going to talk about today, and I reflect personally. Now, the personal reflection is something that's a little more time intensive and it doesn't really have much to do with the business side, even though they both kind of relate to each other. So I'm actually going to share that with you next month, in a couple of weeks, in an upcoming episode, but this week I want to focus on the business stuff. You can't plan if you aren't honest with yourself about the year that's just gone by, and this feels like the perfect time to also actually say you know that each year doesn't have to be about growth, right, like if you had a good year this year, you can actually plan to just maintain things. Next year, you can plan to keep doing what you're doing and continue to reap the rewards, because maintenance is a valid plan. So that's your first decision. Do you need to change things up or keep doing what you're doing because it's been working? Don't get sucked into the whole new year hype, because it's bullshit. So that's the first decision you have to make, and if you're not 100% sure, then all of these reflection questions which are coming will help you figure that out. Now I'm going to reiterate again. Maybe I'm saying this for the third time, that's okay. We are not making suggestions for next year. We are not planning for next year. We are reflecting and building a solid foundation so that when we sit down later to plan, we can do so much more effectively. So the first question is exactly that what worked this year and what didn't? What worked, what's been working, how did it feel? Was there anything you didn't particularly enjoy? Was there something you absolutely freaking loved and want to do more of it? Start making a list. You're not making plans around those things yet, right, just reflecting, taking stock, prepping. So just start making a list of what worked and what didn't, what you enjoyed and what you didn't. Let your brain see it on paper or on the screen and allow it to internalize what you come up with as a result. So for me, for example, I really, after working for years in the operations retainer space like implementation of operations, I really come to the decision that next year that's going to change. I don't want to do operations retainers next year. A lot of what I do is operationalizing growth, right. So I don't want to actually go in and take on long-term retainer clients. I'm going to do shorter engagements, I'm going to work with clients in a very different way, and that's a decision that I've made. How that's going to look. I have no idea. I have no idea how that's going to look, but that's what I know, that I don't want to do anymore. So that's part of what I'm talking about what worked, what didn't, what do you want to change up? What do you want to keep the same? The next thing you want to do is think about what you want to quit doing altogether. It kind of goes with the first question what's working, what's not working, what do you want to change, let go of, etc. But like, what do you want to 100% quit doing? And are there things you want to start doing? Maybe you tried something out and you're like you know, I really liked that. I would really enjoy doing more of that. Again, we're making a list. There's no shame, there's no judgment. So that's really the first big part of the reflection. Now we move on to the second phase, which is asking yourself what is it important for you to prioritize in your business and your life next year? So, for example, I want to prioritize speaking or opportunities and potential training opportunities in my own communities and in other people's communities. What I want to stop doing, like I said, is operations, retainer work. So now this is important to know, because when I start planning next year, if I don't want to do near retainer work, I need to make sure my offers reflect that. I need to go into my Facebook business page and my own website and I need to get rid of those things because if I'm not offering them, then they don't need to be in my ecosystem, right. I need to make sure that I'm coming out of spaces where that type of work is prioritized or needed, because part of planning is clearing the space you need to make for other things to happen. And following from that, if I want to prioritize speaking, then I need to make sure I'm in those spaces where those opportunities are available. So that, too, will inform my connection strategies for next year which groups I need to be a part of, which groups I'm ready to let go of and I'm not coming up with the actual strategies right now. I'm prepping. I know what information I will require and what moves I'll need to make. So when I sit down to plan, it's very intentional and focused, and if you were at my audacity training in October, you'll know that audacity requires focus, like laser focus. This will help you identify gaps in either your knowledge or your relationships and that helps you know what to include in your planning next year. I also want to make sure you know what a list what you want to prioritize in your life as well, not just your business. Maybe you have big things coming up next year, like weddings or travel plans or milestone birthdays or events. Maybe a kid's going to be going off to college, or maybe a kid starting school for the first time in the fall. All of these things should be on your radar when you plan, so make sure you list those out as well, and you want to be listing things like I want to take two weeks off in the summer, or I don't want to do X, y, z during this particular time period, so I can make space for this instead. All of that is important data. Write it down. So that's the reflective piece. Now comes the really important part of prepping reviewing your mission, your vision and your values. Now we do not do this enough, honestly. Okay, a lot of people will put together a mission, vision, value statement, document or whatever in either a coaching program or when they're starting their business, and you don't really go back and look at it. But really your mission, your vision and your values need to be in literally everything that you do. So let's break it down very quickly. Your mission is what you're trying to achieve with your business. It's the reason why your business exists. It's the why it's what you do. Your vision and this is where a lot of people get a little bit mixed up about what vision is. Some people are like what's your 10-year vision? What's your five-year vision? It's so hard for people to contextualize that, to really tangibly be able to say, in 10 years, this is what I want things to look like. I don't know about you, but I can't even plan what I want to have for lunch tomorrow. Okay, so for me to plan what my business is gonna look like in three years, five years, 10 years, that's a lot. I mean it works for corporations, really big businesses who have giant strategic plans and lots of people helping support the various functions. But when you're a solopreneur, your vision is not always gonna be that grand. It's a little more challenging. So when you're looking at what is your vision, I want you to understand from a smaller perspective. It really is just about what you aspire to make real through your business. So it's kind of like the what of your business. If your mission is your, why the vision is your, what it's, what can become possible if you're able to effectively execute your mission. So that's why the mission is so important. Right, it's not just lip service, it's not some fancy I-Help statement. It's like why are you in business and what is that going to make possible? It's aspirational. So, for example, for me, if my mission is to help women build BS free businesses that fuel their legacy, what does that allow to make real my vision is a future where women are the architects of change in their own lives and in their communities because they get the financial independence that leads to increased agency and the redefinition of what's possible for women everywhere. That's my vision Women as the architects of change in their own lives and communities. And if I'm executing my why, my mission effectively, which is helping women build BS, free businesses that really help support that legacy, then the vision becomes real. So what is your mission and what is your vision? You need to review those to make sure they still resonate. It's okay if they don't. You're allowed to tweak them as you continue to grow and gain clarity on what you do and why. But if you're looking at your mission and your vision and you're going what the fuck? I would highly recommend prioritizing working with a brand strategist or a consultant of some kind next year to help you gain clarity on that before you do any planning, because without clarity on those two things, you're really just flailing around and being busy. You have no clear purpose. But if you're looking at them and you're like, yep, this is good, this feels it still feels right Maybe a couple of tweaks here or there, but overall this still feels very much like why I got into business, perfect. Now look at your values. Are your values still your values? Do they still resonate? Do they still feel right? If not, what's changed? My core values have remained pretty static throughout the life of my business Audacious authenticity, fearless integrity, respectful candor and this year things have happened that have made me add a couple more values that are important to me because of the experiences I've had this year. I've added some of my beliefs to the value list because I'm clear on the kinds of people I wanna work with, I don't wanna work with and who I wanna make space for. So ask yourself whether your values still feel right and if they do, now you can examine whether you're embodying them in your business. What do I mean by that? How are your values, what you believe in, what you stand for? How are they showing up in how you deliver your offers, or even the kinds of things you offer? How are they showing up in your messaging and your content, in your relationships and collaborations? How are they showing up in how you spend money? All of this information in one place really sets the foundation for planning out the more practical things next year your offers, your marketing, how you'll make money and how you'll serve clients. Those are the outcomes. Too many people plan the other way around. They will sit down and they'll say, all right, what do I want to offer this year? And okay, I've come up with some really great offers that feel good, they sound good, they look good. Now I can decide how I'm gonna market them, and that's really kind of a backwards way to do it. You need to be really clear on what you want out of your business, what your mission is, what your vision is, what you're trying to accomplish, what's important to you, how you wanna live your life All of the things that I've gone over today. That's where you have to start, because that builds the foundation on which you're now going to design offers, design your marketing strategy, even decide who your ideal client is. Once that foundation is there, everything feels so much more stable and steady, and you deserve that. You deserve a business that feels aligned and full of ease Not easy, but full of ease. So do the prep work. Do the prep work and if you need help or a space to process, come hang out in the Business Class for me community. The link is always in the show notes and it's where you get access to me. So over the next few weeks I'd love for you to carve some time out and do that prep work Although obviously time frame is completely up to you and then what we'll do later on is actually sit down and plan for 2024. All right, my friends, as always, remember you can have success without the BS. I'll talk to you soon. That's it for this week. Thanks for listening to the Business Class for me podcast. We'll be back next week with a new episode, but in the meantime, help assist her out by subscribing and, if you're feeling extra sassy rating this podcast, and don't forget to share the podcast with others Head over to businessclassfamilipodcastcom to connect with us and learn more. Thanks for listening and remember you can have success without the BS.