January 31, 2024

Strategic Planning and Gratitude

Happy New Year! I nearly missed my chance to send a January newsletter, but only because 2024 has started off with so much positive energy. I feel like I have been smiling and sprinting since the 1st and I haven’t been able to say that the last few years.

On New Year’s Day, my family and I flew into Lisbon, Portugal. I spent the flight reading the way forward by Yung Pueblo and there really isn’t anything better than an inspiring January 1st to set the tone for the year. My mind was reeling with possibilities and a fresh perspective on not only how to approach business, but also how to approach life.

I’m not a huge fan of New Year, New You, because I think we should be a little more centered in self-love and appreciation for the You we already are, but I am a big fan of strategic planning and gratitude. My word for this year is “deliberate.” I chose it because my plan this year is to be deliberate in everything I do. It’s so much easier to hit a target when you have one. My other focus is on consistency… I LOVE instant gratification, but what I find to be even more valuable is authentic pure solid growth and the best way to achieve that is to build a strategy and stick to it – even on the days that feel harder than others.

Before I get into my tips for a strategic mindset, I want to remind you that gratitude is really important in the process. There is someone or a group of people who have supported you at critical moments in your life and career. If you haven’t lately, this is your reminder to thank them. Pull out that trusty notecard that has been collecting dust and write them a good ole fashioned note, pop it in an envelope and mail it. If you don’t have time to mail it… fine, an email will do, but ask yourself when was the last time you called them on the phone or met up with them. The New Year is a great reminder of time passing and to always reconnect with people who are important.

Okay… on with the planning. Here are the questions I like to ask myself when I sit down to dream up a master plan that is meant to help me realize my grandest vision.

  1. What is your grandest vision? When your life is firing off on all cylinders, what is happening? Where are you living? Who are you living with? What are you doing? What are you wearing? Who are you spending your time with? How are you spending your time? Where are you traveling? What are you doing to stay healthy? What is your perfect day?
  2. What is your grandest vision for your business? What are you doing when you are standing in your absolute brilliance? What are you offering? What products or services are you sharing? Who are you sharing them with? What does your team look like? How are you positioned in your business? What is your biggest offering? What separates you from the rest?
  3. Dive deeper into your core offerings and your strategy for growth.
  4. List your target audiences. Don’t forget about your staff, vendors, and partners. This isn’t just about end users or customers. To build a strong foundation, you have to consider everyone who is involved.
  5. Once you list your target audiences, identify all the ways you can reach them.
  6. Next create a strategy for building out each of the modalities you will use to reach them. Is it social media, an internal or external newsletter, media relations, events, corporate social responsibility, partnerships, activations or promotions?
  7. Then, identify a budget and team to connect with those tasks.
  8. Categorize the most effective ones first and determine what you can take on now in terms of budget and manpower and then set milestones for scaling.
  9. Ask yourself who you know that might help you to tackle some of the most important audiences and/or make introductions to people who can support you quickly.
  10. Identify the partners you need to achieve your goals. You may need to weigh out the benefits of hiring in-house or outsourcing certain services. You can look at this as both a short-term and long-term strategy. For example, right now, it might make sense for you to outsource to an agency for your media relations and social media marketing because you will get a team of experienced people for as little as $5,000 per month vs. hiring in-house where that monthly rate will give you someone with entry-level experience in today’s workforce. Here are some key things to consider when you are interviewing vendors:
      • I always suggest you start by asking your colleagues and friends who are thriving in the area of services you are seeking.
      • You can research brands you see thriving in your area of need and then contact them to find out who they are working with.
      • Start by looking at their website and social media platforms: Do they appear to excel in the areas of services you are seeking? Do they have case studies? Do their values appear to align with your organization’s?
      • Schedule calls with at least three options to shop quotes. This is important because there are so many different sized companies and finding the right fit is key.
      • Prepare consistent questions to ask to ensure you are comparing apples to apples.
      • Request a proposal. You might have a requirement to make your request for proposal (RFP) process public. This will allow you to explore different options.
      • Ask for referrals and follow through with connecting to their referrals
      • Look for excellence throughout the process: Are they focused on budget or providing value? Do you feel like they totally understand your vision or are they trying to fit you into their automated process? Do you have professional chemistry? And most importantly, will you enjoy working with them?
  11. Get the fun started!
  12. See it through by setting a timeline with deliverable goals.
  13. Finally, CELEBRATE! Celebrate the big and little wins. And remember, it’s not a race, it’s a marathon.

We love this process! If you would like a consultation on what it’s like to work with us through this process, connect with us here. We would love to support you!