• Jazzie M.

7 Ways To Start Your 2021 Business Planning

Here are 7 ways to get started with business planning for 2021

As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day — and neither is business planning. There are steps to take, but with detail and care, you can create a strategic plan for 2021.

  1. Start by reviewing 2020 performance.

  2. Don’t try to plan everything for the whole year.

  3. Review your ideal customer profile.

  4. Consider the competitive landscape.

  5. Build your financial plans.

  6. Prioritize your opportunities.

  7. Use bricks and blocks style planning.

Let’s get started!

1. Start by reviewing 2020 performance

Maybe 2020 didn’t go quite the way you had planned — did it for anyone? — but that’s no reason to ignore it. In fact, the resilience that you developed in your business holds some powerful lessons that can make 2021 and beyond even stronger.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward. Only looking back.” — Steve Jobs

The most common place to start with an annual review is to look at your financial performance.

  • Did you make as much money as you planned?

  • Did you spend more (or less) than you planned?

As you answer these broad questions, you may need to dig deeper into what you did that earned more money, or where you over (or under) spent.

This isn’t about passing judgment on those decisions — it’s about looking at them through fresh eyes to help you make good decisions for next year.

After you’ve done the quantitative analysis, it’s time to get more into the qualitative stuff. You know, how you felt about the year and what your gut is telling you.

Answer these questions:

  • What went well?

  • What did you accomplish?

  • What did you learn about your business?

  • What did you learn about your customers?

  • What didn’t go well?

  • What was your biggest challenge?

  • What would you change?

After you’ve looked at 2020 performance, then you can start your 2021 business planning.

2. Don’t try to plan everything for the whole year

When you start thinking about annual planning, you probably want to plan everything. It feels like it’s going to make everything easier.

But one of the biggest takeaways from 2020 is that plans need to be flexible.

While you’re business planning for 2021, give yourself a bit of a break. Don’t try to plan every campaign and every piece of content that you’re going to create for the whole year.

Instead, use broad strokes for your plans. The landscape of your business may look very different nine months from now.

Here are two things you can plan:

Firm dates

  • Holiday launches and sales. Even if the details of what you’re offering change, holiday dates don’t. Black Friday will still be the day after Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day will always be Jan. 1. You can confidently plan around these dates for any industry, from service to ecommerce.