Starting the Year Off Right: Planning For the First Three Months
It’s important to take advantage of the momentum and sense of purpose we all feel with the approaching New Year.
Many of you have already started laying the groundwork with resolutions for your businesses and personal lives.
However, do you remember going through this process last year? Did you follow through on the plans you made?
If you did, congratulations! If not, you’re certainly not alone.
There are three main reasons why New Year’s plans don’t always succeed:
- We try to take on too much at once
- We focus more on choosing goals than on creating the systems we need to help achieve those goals
- We don’t build in any accountability to see our vision through to reality
We all usually start the year out with the best intentions of staying focused on the big-picture goals of our businesses. However, it’s way too easy to get stuck in head-down mode with our projects unless we have a specific plan in place to do otherwise.
Don’t worry: We’re going to make that plan for you right now.
Start With the First 90 Days
It makes sense that most initial attempts to plan for the new year aim to do just that — plan for the entire year.
However, 12 months is a long time. Trying to plan for the whole year in one sitting usually results in overwhelm. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, your planning efforts might stall completely.
Instead of planning for the whole year, I recommend planning in 90-day increments. Three months is long enough to see real progress on big picture goals but short enough that planning won’t be too much.
[content_upgrade cu_id=”16505″]I’ve created a template that lists all the basic elements you need in your 90-day plan. You can download it here and fill it out.[content_upgrade_button]Click Here[/content_upgrade_button][/content_upgrade]
I also encourage designers to start by focusing on personal desires instead of business ones. We all know that when your business encourages your purpose, your life feels whole. You’ll find that once you get into the habit of using this 90-day goals framework, all goals will get much easier to achieve.
Your 90-day plan needs three components.
1. Vision and Values
You can’t achieve something you can’t see, or at least that you can’t visualize. I believe strongly that the process of visualization is an essential first step to making our dreams into our realities.
Look internally and reflect to come up with a vision for the upcoming year. Think big; you’ll get a chance to be more specific later.
Your yearly vision could have to do with refining your style, being happier with your client relationships, or stressing less about the finance side of your business.
You should be able to summarize your vision in a few lines, but if it helps, create a vision board to supplement your vision (designers are particularly visual thinkers, so this can help).
Sample Vision Statements:
- This year, I will redefine my design brand as ____.
- This year, I will only say “yes” to projects that make a real impact in the lives of the people I work with; while simultaneously enabling me to live my values.
- This year, I will inspire others to say “yes” to what they want for themselves; and I want to be inspired by those around me.
Now that you have your vision in mind, the next step is to anchor it with goals. Anything more than 3 goals is ambitious.
Goals are the concrete, measurable manifestations of your vision. Hard to reach, but not impossible. Uncomfortable, but not unattainable.
If your vision is a financially healthy business, a few goals might be to land a certain number of new clients or bill projects of a certain value each month.
If your vision to approach your work with joy, your goals might be to systematically address the parts of your work that are the most stressful and make them easier.
- Land one new XX project each quarter before the next quarter
- My focused work will honor outcome goals, delegating performance goals
- Scale revenue by xx% with existing service offerings
- Increase profit margin by xx% with existing products
- The transition from hourly billing to project-based billing and/or value-based billing
- Make XX/month from a new revenue stream
You may have heard the phrase “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” Those are wise words, indeed.
You won’t make meaningful progress toward your big-picture goals without scheduling time for those goals on your calendar. And, you need to take that scheduled time as seriously as you do other meetings.
I call this “CEO time.” Designers spend all day getting creative with their projects and implementing their creative goals. CEOs focus on big picture business strategy and growth.
As an interior designer, you’re in charge of both; but, you need to step out of your designer shoes and get into CEO mode at least once a week to make sure you’re making progress on your top-line goals.
[bctt tweet=”You’re the CEO of your design business. Start acting like it this year.” username=”idmasterclass”]
In this final part of your planning for the first 90 days of the year, you figure out what you’ll be doing each week to reach your goals.
It’s important to remember, you don’t have to be doing ” all the doing ” but you do need to orchestrate who will be doing the tactics aligned to your top-line goals.
Guess what? This part of your plan can and will change as you dive into making progress on your goals. The important thing is to continually check in on your progress and adapt as necessary.
We share to help interior designers create a business that’s both joyful and profitable. If you love this content, we would love your help in sharing it along. Thank you! xo
By now, you may have an idea of what you want to tackle during the first 90 days of the year.
[content_upgrade cu_id=”16505″]Download a template that lists all the basic elements of a 90-day plan and fill it out now.[content_upgrade_button]Click Here[/content_upgrade_button][/content_upgrade]
The final piece of the puzzle is putting a system in place to make sure that your weekly CEO time actually happens.
After all, our clients are always there holding us accountable for our design work. Since we work for ourselves, we’re the only ones there to answer for our CEO goals.
You can try to enlist the help of friends or other entrepreneurs to keep you accountable. But I also want to personally offer to help.
I’ve noticed that what most designers need to keep them on track is some simple check-ins from someone who understands exactly what they’re struggling with. And you get that and more with a Mastermind Group, a program I designed just for interior design business owners.
It’s a 6-month immersive program that takes a two-prong approach: it gives you the business framework you need to succeed, then it holds your hand to help you focus on what’s most important.
We connect remotely, which means you can be anywhere in the world.
I hope you enroll now and make this year the one where you achieve the lifestyle you’ve always wanted through your design business.