How to use vision and planning to save time and get things done.
As a small business owner, having a clear vision of where you want to go is so powerful! It sets the scene for all that’s to come. To grow your business, you need to transform your vision into a plan.
When you execute your vision & plan, share it across your digital marketing platforms. By doing this, you create an amazing opportunity for your audience to connect. When engagement occurs, visibility and growth are inevitable.
Invest in these 4 simple business strategies, so you can reap the benefits for this year and beyond.
1. Reflection & Vision
The best place to start, when you want to move forward and grow, is to understand where you have been. Ask yourself:
- What worked well last year? Why did it succeed? Are any tweaks required to remain current and relevant moving forward?
2. What didn’t work? Assess how and why it didn’t work. Is it still aligned with your vision? Perhaps it requires a new approach or discarding?
3. Were strategies set for the last year which you were unable to meet for whatever reason? If they’re still relevant and current, plan them into your strategy for this year and beyond where necessary.
4. When did you last review your business plan? Remember that thing you wrote (with hope) when you first started your business? With the day-to-day running of your business, has it been neglected?
I recently reviewed mine, written in 2018. My business has consciously changed course somewhat. And it drifted a couple of degrees off course all by itself. It’s important to re-chart the course to its new desired destination.
Review and assess your:
- Mission and vision and values
- Ideal clients and their needs
- Branding, has it changed?
- SWAT and risks? Ask yourself is it still current and accurate?
If not revise it with the next 2-5 years in mind, not only the next year! Time flies, so it’s advisable for your business strategy to have short and long-range plans and milestones.
The best way to ensure you reach your business goal is to go through an important annual planning process. Assess lessons learned and changes in circumstances, like:
- New technology
- Digital marketing and communication platform changes ‘
- New products or services
- Market changes
- Environmental changes and impacts.
These all may lead to re-assessing your long-range plan.
Top Tip- Take the time annually, to measure your progress. Assess what you need to do in the coming year to remain relevant and on track. So set a date now in your calendar towards the end of the year, or end of the financial year, to take stock and assess.
You might be familiar with this Benjamin Franklin quote:
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”?
After all of the reflecting, re-assessing and re-aligning. The next step is to create a realistic and achievable plan. There are so many ways to plan. And an abundance of approaches and tools to assist you to stay focused and on track. Here are some suggestions:
- Set yourself an annual Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), (taken from Jim Collin’s book ‘Built to last’)
- What strengths do you need to achieve this BHAG? List 3-5 key strengths.
- What are your annual priorities?
Top Tip: List 3-5 priorities you will focus on this year to either leverage your current strengths and activities. Or develop new ones that align with and lead you towards your BHAG.
- Break down each of the above priorities into quarterly SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant & time-bound).
- Plan your digital marketing content quarterly. To assist you here is a free seasonal content planner to help you do just this.
Maintain clarity around your overarching vision. Be conscious of your business plan and break down the quarterly plan for each area of your business. Think:
- systems integrations
- and the actual implementation of efficient work practices.
It’s important to keep current with the latest technology, algorithms and systems. Remember that change is the only constant.
Top Tip: Using your seasonal content planner. Once your annual and quarterly themes are in place. Break it down to monthly, weekly and daily.
3. Be visible in a digital world
Digital platforms are the way of the future. But what does this mean for your company? Sure, more and more business is performed digitally annually.
To be visible in your business, you need to have a consistent presence, spanning over numerous platforms.
People need to know about your brand, your product or service and your unique value proposition so they can choose to buy from you.
There are many other reasons to be visible.
- The more your prospective customers see, hear, and read about you in various places. For example, web sites, Facebook posts, LinkedIn articles, podcasts, blog posts, etc. The more you’ll be seen as a subject matter expert.
- When you become more visible, potential clients or customers become curious and are likely to visit your website to find out more. If you have a well-placed opt-in, you’re likely to increase the visibility further, once they sign up to your list. Then you can stay in touch via newsletters and emails.
- Visibility allows you to stay in front of mind. When your customers ready to purchase the odds will be in your favour.
- Be genuinely you! If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, become the face of your business and allow people to get to know you. This might be via YouTube videos, Facebook lives, or simply posts on social media, but don’t forget the ‘YOU’ in your business.
As you can see, there’s a strong argument for why visibility is a vital component in your marketing strategy. Choose the activities you wish to do on a regular basis. Work out where your customers are and select one or two platforms and share content consistently. Only once they’re embedded, add more. These might include:
- Article marketing
- Social media (Facebook, WeChat, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google My Business etc..)
- Blogging & Guest blogging
- Guest podcasts or run your own
- Online Courses
- Attending events
This list could go on. Remember to re-purpose and cross-promote. With content marketing, allocate enough time to plan and implement a consistent strategy. It can be quite time-consuming but there are tools and systems available to assist.
I use Trello to plan out the weekly content. I use my A3 printable seasonal content planner stuck on the wall in my office so that I can reference it regularly. This allows me to remain consistent with my marketing activities. There are a bunch of other systems and tools which assist with consistency and SEO too. If you want to know more about visibility, have a read of Gaayathri Periasami’s article in the Entrepreneur Asia Pacific Magazine.
4. Value your time
Owning your own business has numerous perks, you can do what you love, with flexibility. You can be a decision-maker and see the tangible difference you make to your clients or customers, delivering your service or product. Following your passions can only ever be brilliant, right? Well… yes, so long as you get the right balance.
On the flip side, there are numerous stressors. As a business owner, the buck stops with you. You’re likely wearing multiple hats while putting in long hours, many unpaid. There is the worry of cashflow or feeling isolated or the uncertainty of which step to take next. There simply is never enough time to do it all.
Take YOU time
It’s important to acknowledge when you need a day off, to be proactive about your mental and physical health. Maybe it’s a quick yoga session, a night out, a cup of tea or a trip to the beach. Whatever it is, find something that recharges your batteries.
What is your time worth?
Another way to value ‘you time’ is to recognise how much you charge per hour. Let’s assume you earn $150 p/hr. If you’re spending time on recurring work, which isn’t essential for you to do, then consider outsourcing it to someone who earns less than your hourly rate. In this scenario, $50 or $140 p/hour is still a brilliant investment. If you utilise this additional time on your core business activities and relationship building, your business is sure to grow. So remember to value your time, it’s a smart business strategy. Do you know over 1/3 of small business outsource a portion of their work, and that statistic is growing!
Top Tip – Work time is valuable, but so is your downtime because the productivity of your work time is directly correlated to how much downtime you get and how much sleep you have. So remember to practice self-care.
Another clever way to take time for you is… when you plan your year, plan a holiday or two each year. Get it in the calendar, it gives you something to work towards and plan around.
By following these simple four steps, you’re set for a well-planned, visible year. With a crystal-clear vision of where you are and where you want to be. You can take valuable ‘you time’, outsource where needed, and watch your business grow .
Need help with your digital marketing? At Versatile VA, we provide professional outsourced marketing support for small businesses just like yours. If you’d like to find out more, visit our website or book in a complimentary discovery call. Don’t forget to download your free copy of our seasonal, printable content calendar.