Business, Productivity

How to Create a 2021 Annual Plan (that you can actually stick to!)

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How to Create a 2021 Annual Plan (that you can actually stick to!) // Creative at Heart #quarterlyplanning #endofyear #printablecalendar #2020 #2021
How to Create a 2021 Annual Plan (that you can actually stick to!) // Creative at Heart #quarterlyplanning #endofyear #printablecalendar #2020 #2021

It’s the end of 2020 and it feels like everyone is talking about annual planning… myself included!! 😉 

For those of us who love a good plan, December + January bring about color-coded sticky notes, printable calendars, fresh new planners and a revitalized outlook on the year ahead. 

But if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that best made plans are wasted if we don’t have flexibility built in. 

^^ that’s why I’m actually not a huge fan of annual planning — I prefer quarterly. 

90 days is a MUCH more realistic timeframe for both your business and your heart. 

Things change. Life happens. Your biz moves in a new direction; you get a new idea; you need to take a break… There are so many reasons why making a concrete annual plan (with no flexibility) is a problem. 

Do I still believe you should review your year and vision cast for the next? YES. I love sitting down and reflecting back before looking forward. But when I look forward, I don’t look 365 days forward.

Here’s how to create a 2021 Annual Plan you can actually stick to – 

Step one: Review the current year. 

Before making ANY plans ahead, you need to evaluate what worked & what didn’t. 

Whether you hit your goals or not, you need to look back. It’s important to take time away from the current to-do’s on your plate & from the shoulda-coulda-woulda’s of the year. 

2020 is filled with INFORMATION – and looking back will give you space to UNCOVER it! 

When should you review your current year? 

  • Before setting goals for the next year! It’s important to make note of biz themes, wins & losses before jumping ahead to new goals. 
  • Ideally in December (but early January works too!). Don’t stress over WHEN as much as DOING it! 
  • Ideally block off 1 full work day to analyze your biz year! I have an entire End of Year process (34 questions!) that I complete in December before setting goals for the next year! Learn more about my process here!

 

Step two: Focus on a 2021 outline, not a concrete plan. 

Creating a quarterly plan is much more helpful in the long run because it gives you flexibility to roll with the punches, create new ideas and all in all embrace the freedom of entrepreneurship. BUT that doesn’t mean it’s not helpful to have a 2021 outline!!! 

At the end of every year, look to the year ahead and outline three things: your revenue, your offers and your dreams. 

 

 

Your Revenue

You’re running a profitable business, not a hobby💥  so looking at Projected Revenue for the year is important for the growth of your bottom line. 

Based on revenue from the current year, assess what your PROJECTED revenue for the next year will be. Once you have my yearly projected revenue, then break it down by quarters.

Here’s an example:

Phoebe is projected to make 60k in 2021. Because of her booking season(s) and launch (promotions) calendar, she is expecting:

Q1: 20k

Q2: 10k

Q3: 15k

Q4: 15k 

^^ this isn’t a concrete plan! It’s a numbers outline based on the past year, and is important for her to know so she can CREATE A QUARTERLY PLAN with those numbers in mind!! 

 

Your Offers

Once you’ve outlined revenue, take a detailed look at your offers. 

What are you offering in 2021? 

WHEN are you offering it? 

 

Create an outline that factors in your booking season(s) and launch / promotions calendar with EXISTING offers! This helps you see where you have wiggle room to create something new OR where you need to lead into what you’ve already created. 

 

Here’s an example:

Let’s use Phoebe again! She has 4 main offers in her business: wedding photography, coaching, an online course & mini sessions for families. In 2021, she wants to launch an online shop and a second online course. She outlines her 2021 existing offers with wedding photography happening all year long & her other offers intermingled based on booking session + her launch timeline: :

Q1: wedding photography + coaching

Q2: wedding photography + course

Q3: wedding photography + mini sessions

Q4: wedding photography 

 

Your Dreams

Your “dreams” are the big biz projects you want to make happen in the next year and think you’ll REALISTICALLY have time to do!! 

Based on Phoebe’s EXISTING offers (and her projected revenue) she can then pepper in her NEW offer ideas throughout the year when she feels she’ll have enough time to move forward with those goals.

 

Her 2021 outline may end up looking like this: 

Q1: wedding photography + coaching + launch online shop 

Q2: wedding photography + course

Q3: wedding photography + mini sessions 

Q4: wedding photography + launch second course 

 

Going from Projected Revenue to Offers to Dreams will give you a clearer path to making it happen (and growing your revenue while doing it!)! 

 

Step three: Creating a quarterly plan

You’ve reviewed the previous year, outline the next and now it’s time to make a realistic quarterly plan!! I’ve got an entire post here that outlines my Quarterly Planning process (and a masterclass training + templates here!). 

Quarterly Planning breaks down your 2021 outline into smaller, more manageable steps — giving you time + space to make them happen — PLUS flexibility to mix things up after the 90 day mark. 

 

 

Stepping into 2021, I have a Q1 Quarterly Plan, and will create my Q2 Quarterly Plan (and so on & so forth) when those specific quarters get closer.

I always chuckle when I see small biz owners create an ENTIRE year’s worth of plans BEFORE the year begins and want to challenge you to NOT get caught up in planning for plannings sake!! 

Be prepared, yes. But be flexible & adaptable with 90 day increments of time so you can see biz growth happen one quarter at a time!

 


 

Want your own printable calendar?! CLICK HERE to get yours today! 

Pin an image below for easy-access! 📌

 
 How to Create a 2021 Annual Plan (that you can actually stick to!)  // Creative at Heart #quarterlyplanning #endofyear #printablecalendar #2020 #2021
 

 

 

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