- Before you put 2020 behind you, it can help to reflect on all the challenges you and your business went through, then plan for the upcoming year.
- Business coach and personal branding strategist Maya Elious made a trip to Mexico to do this and shared the strategy she uses to set goals in three main areas of her $1-million company.
- She suggests taking your time — skipping the reflection could lead you into the new year repeating old habits.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
For business owners, 2020 brought extreme hardship or tremendous growths. Either way, surviving through to the end of the year was a feat of adaptability, innovation, and resilience.
Before you put the year behind you, it can help to reflect on all the challenges you and your business went through, then set goals for the upcoming year. Business coach and personal branding strategist Maya Elious made a trip to Mexico to do just that.
She took time off from her responsibilities as CEO of Built To Impact, her coaching and consulting company, to look back at 2020 and look ahead at 2021. She mapped out what went wrong, what went well, and how she can grow from those experiences. With a busy schedule, it helped to block off that time on her calendar to make sure she got it done.
“When you are intentional about what you specifically want to do with your time, then you show up for yourself more,” she told Insider.
She’s used this planning exercise, and teaching it to clients at her retreats, for the past two years. She said she’s seen results in meeting her revenue goals. In 2017 she made $107,000; two years later she made $331,000; and in 2020 she hit $1 million. Insider verified these numbers with financial statements Elious provided.
Elious broke down how she reflects on three key areas of her business and sets goals for the new year. The process takes time — she spent about two and a half hours — so don’t rush it. You also may want to come back to it later in the year and make tweaks
“You’re always going to come back to this to make sure that you are hitting your revenue goal and you are spending the right amount of time and money on the right things,” she said.
Reflect on 2020
The first part of Elious’ process is to reflect — and it’s important not to skip this part. “If you don’t learn the lesson, you are going to repeat the assignment,” she said.
Skipping the reflection could lead you into the new year repeating old habits. “There’s so much clarity when we can look back and see what happened,” she said. “You’re looking back at a wiser version of yourself.”
Take stock of all the things that worked this year, it could be big changes or little tweaks you made that led to more sales, higher traffic, more followers, or new opportunities.
Focusing first on what went well begins the exercise with gratitude so the next steps are a bit easier, Elious said. “It’s going to be easier to pivot your mindset into ‘what did I learn?’ when you first look at the quote-unquote failure from a place of gratitude.”
What didn’t work?
Next, evaluate what didn’t work well this year, whether it was business functions that didn’t pan out or your own mindset that got in the way.
In 2017, Elious operated her business as an agency and didn’t hit her $1 million revenue goal. When she realized how much she hated having an agency, she shifted into an events and coaching business. She said her company wouldn’t have grown as quickly if she hadn’t made that change.
“A lot of times we just look at something not working as failure or as a loss, but not really understanding that there’s a learning lesson to it and that we can pivot from that moment and really turn it into a win,” she said.
What did you learn from those challenges?
Now the last questions can inform your greatest takeaways from the past year. Ask yourself what you learned from the highs and lows. Maybe it was pivoting to digital offerings, cutting down on inventory, or increasing your prices. Maybe 2020 challenged your leadership, pushed you to hire smarter and to improve your management skills.
“When you recognize what you learned, then you can now start creating different habits to go into your next season,” Elious said.
Despite her fear of committing to a 12-month program, the past year taught her that she could do it. At the end of her six-month program, her clients still wanted to work with her. “My learning lesson was that I can actually commit to clients for that length of time and I have the ability to provide value,” she said. Going forward, she plans to offer 12-month programs.
Set your goals for 2021
Now that you’ve reflected on the past year, you’ll have a better idea of what you need to achieve in the coming year. Elious examines three main areas of her business to set her new year goals.
First, she writes down her annual revenue goal for 2021, then breaks it down by month. This will help to inform what she needs to accomplish in the next three steps.
List out your current and future products, offers, or services, including the price points. Then figure out how many of each you need to sell to hit your monthly and annual revenue goals. If your revenue goal is more than $500,000, Elious recommends tracking weekly as well.
For example, an aesthetician would need to calculate how many facials, waxes, and lashes they would need to do each month to hit their revenue goal.
Next, list the marketing platforms that are most effective for your business. Figure out how you’ll meet your sales goals and convert customers with these marketing channels.
Sticking with the aesthetician example, how are you making sure your business is seen by people who want waxes? How are you marketing your facials so that people will want them?
“If you need to be doing more waxes because people are not coming in for waxes, then that means there’s something off with your marketing,” Elious said.
And if your plan isn’t working a few months in, you can always go back and revise it. “There’s no point in spending marketing dollars on something that people are not excited about or they’re not buying,” she said.
The final step is to look at the inner workings of your business to better understand the logistics of meeting your revenue goals. This might include partnering with a new supplier or vendor; or maybe you’ll need to hire new employees to have the capacity to fulfill higher volumes.
For example, if you’re booking ten waxes per day, who is performing those? Are you the only person running your business operations or do you have a team supporting you so you can prioritize other areas?
“When you have all of those things in play, you can generate the money that you need to, and then also be mindful of the amount of time that you’re putting in your business,” Elious said.
Even if you don’t hit all your goals by the end of the year, Elious said it’s another opportunity for growth. “Shifting for the better, not shifting because I’m inadequate or because I’m not good enough,” she said.
“When you give yourself that permission upfront, you’re pivoting towards a better destination.”