The last two weeks of December are a time to take stock of the year that is ending, and to look forward to a new year that is about to begin. I usually make a list of highlights and lowlights for the former, and a list of goals and resolutions for the latter. Sometimes I even partake in goal-setting retreats…
This year, I have lacked inspiration. 2020 is consumed with COVID-19, nothing else seems to matter. And planning for 2021 seems pointless as who knows what the world will look like in 2021…
In a moment of weakness, I asked my husband if we could just skip this favorite tradition of mine of making these lists and sharing them with each other between 12/31 and 1/1. He looked at me in surprise, and said “absolutely not.”
So I had to find tools to help me through my “blahs” and inspire and motivate me to think about 2020 constructively, and plan for 2021 productively.
Here is what I came up with.
To take stock of 2020
From Atomic Habits by James Clear, which I loved, I am using these three questions as a guide (and not allowing myself to put down “COVID-19” as the single word answer to that second question):
- What went well this year?
- What didn’t go so well this year?
- What did I learn?
From Living the Sutras by Kelly DiNardo, I am doing this exercise:
- List my big priorities
- Which do I have to do? Choose to do? Want to do?
- For which of these would I like to adjust the intensity of my efforts? (increase or decrease)?
And to start planning for 2021:
From John DiJulius, I am using the grid pictured above to start planning for the future.
This will help me plan for 2021 and maybe even think big towards 2031. This is how he explains the three columns (direct quotes):
“Column A: Do Now Sell Now – may seem obvious. However, when thoroughly examining all your current inventory of products and services, you can really get creative. For instance, when you package or bundle high margin offerings with low margin, increasing the overcall value and attractiveness to the customer, you can increase sales.
Column B: STOP DOING – is critical to your survival and usually a blessing most businesses wished they would have done much sooner. You can’t chase every opportunity and need to say “No” to everything that is out of your sweet spot (easy to do + profitable). Easy to do means it has been (or can be) systemized and it requires very little tweaking—a rinse and repeat model. This may mean eliminating products and services that aren’t easy to do and profitable. This may mean losing, some call it firing, a percentage of your customers who aren’t easy to work with, high maintenance, and are not profitable.
As Seth Godin said during his presentation at this years’ Customer Service Revolution, “Firing an unprofitable group of customers (with kindness and care) allows you to focus on your most profitable customers. You need to focus on customers with high lifetime value.” You can’t scale your operations or in some cases survive during these times by being all things to all people.
Column C: Do Now Sell Later – is where the magic happens. It is where the excitement starts, by figuring out how to totally disrupt yourself and the rest of your industry. What should you be developing now that will allow you to grow 10x faster, revolutionize your business model, and leave everyone else in your industry behind?”
With all this help, with all these tools, I have no excuse to forego this favorite tradition of mine…