How is your 2023 plan going so far?
Are the planner(s), nifty pens, stickers and washi tape you bought on sale a few months ago still in use?
Or did you opt out of mixing the dying art of scrapbooking with planning your year and go with with a digital planner or mix-and-match printables?
I’m sure by now you’ve fixed out that no matter what type of planner you chose, it has not single-handedly created your BEST YEAR EVER.
I’m not here to knock planners. If they work for you, plan up a storm — with or without the washi tape.
The issue I have with planners is they are a tool often marketed as a system. And because they are pitched as a system, consumers mistakenly believe there is one planner or planning system to rule them all.
Then you get to March 1 and find out that you are the same person you ever were, with the same things holding you (and your business) back.
Finding the right system is the first step in realistic business planning. The second step is finding the right tool to implement that system.
This article isn’t about Steps 1 or 2, though. Finding the perfect planner or planning the perfect year is not my area of expertise.
What I really want to talk to you about is Step Zero, the critical decision you must make BEFORE you start planning: Figuring out what is enough.
Realistic Business Planning Starts by Defining ‘Enough’
Enough revenue. Enough hours. Enough launches. Enough time off.
If you don’t start by knowing your enough, you will spend months over-working or under-working while believing the lie that you can make up any shortfalls by the end of the year.
This is why defining enough is the starting line of effective planning. Sadly, I don’t hold the secret to your truth here. We are not carbon copies of one another. Your enough and mine can never be the same.
What I can do, though, is help you to figure out your personal level of enough.
It starts with your big goal for the year, which likely involves wanting more time, money or energy. More money is a standard goal. Depending on your goal with time, you might want to work more or work less. Energy goals typically are achieved by spending time and money in ways that are life-giving vs. life-draining.
This exercise is important because it forces you to decide now what’s required to get you from here to where you want to be on Dec. 31, 2023. And three months into 2023, you’re not late. You can stop and do this right now.
Setting Realistic Revenue Goals
Let’s take a money goal, for instance: Imagine you want to earn $60,000 from your business in 2023.
Conventional methods would tell you to take that goal and divide it by 12 for a monthly earning goal of $5,000.
Conventional methods, though, overlook a big red flag here. What do you mean when you say you want to earn $60,000 next year? Do you want $60,000 in gross revenue or net profit?
Here’s how that difference plays out using a simple 50/30/20 financial split:
- Monthly Revenue – $5,000
- Your paycheck (50%) – $2,500
- Operating expenses (30%) – $1,500
- Taxes (20%) – $1,000
Now you see that your $60,000 in annual revenue actually adds $30,000 to your family’s bank account and supports $18,000 in operating expenses and $12,000 in taxes.
If those numbers look good to you, great! Go with the goal of $60,000 per year and plan your 2023 work life accordingly. But if they don’t, you need to make some changes. You either need to earn more revenue in the year or spend less on your business operations to increase the percentage of revenue that goes to your paycheck.
By determining how much revenue is enough for you, you also determine what you’ll do to earn it and how much time it’ll take.
This is how you plan for the year knowing what is enough for you when it comes to money earned, time spent working and energy level when it’s all said and done.
Need Help with Realistic Business Planning?
It’s hard to read the label from inside the jar, which means that no entrepreneur can fairly evaluate their business because they are too close to it. Setting ambitious goals that are realistic requires support. If you’re ready for that kind of help, here are two options:
- Learn a better way of setting goals — Everyday Effectiveness is an operational strategy company specializing in a specific style of business planning and accountability. CEO Gwen Bortner hosts a specific workshop to help female entrepreneurs align their goals with their values. Her next workshop is Tuesday, March 7, at 9 a.m. PT (Noon ET). As the fractional marketing and operations officer for Everyday Effectiveness, I get to produce the virtual event. Make sure to say hi to me in the chat if you choose to join us. The interactive workshop takes place over Zoom, and will not be recorded because watching people working through prompts on replay is as exciting as watching paint dry. This free training leads into Gwen’s quarterly planning program, which I also support. So come prepared for the pitch.
- Plan your community strategy with me — If this is the year you want to make your free and paid online communities a priority, our team can help. We offer online community strategy and consulting services for heart-centered experts, entrepreneurs and enterprises who want to lead thriving online communities that get results.