Yes – it's that time of year again, the lull between Christmas and New Year where everyone loses track of the days but those of us with big plans for the coming year take advantage of the lull and seriously consider and document our goals in detail! As per annual Green Umbrella traditions, I'm here to share with you the goals I'm setting for myself and the team for 2021.
The first step in putting this together was to rewind to last year and reflect on the goals I set back then. What can I mark off as done and dusted, what got lost along the way and what we're still working on. I'm quite pleased with where things are sitting – if you want to check in on what our goals looked like last year you can see that here.
So now I'm feeling pretty good about myself and what the team accomplished this year, the second step is to look at various stats and KPIs from 2020 and immerse myself in the data. Not the long list of 2020 related woes; but the cold, hard data-driven facts. The events of the year can be used as excuses for a variety of things in any business – however, in my business, I had zero control over a global pandemic and every ounce of control and responsibility for how we responded and can continue to respond to it.
Again, I'm encouraged by what I'm finding when I look into the data. Yes, I'm seeing the gaps in revenue and what could have been! But Wow… the GU team pulled together and you can 100% see the impact of everyone's efforts in the stats.
Step three is for me to empty my head of all the ideas, hopes, wishes, want to do's and must do's before I organise everything into a clear vision of what December 2021 looks like. (As well as where I intend to take the team over the next 12 months in order to make it happen and get there!)
Part of the reason for sharing my goals publicly is accountability. Last year I was worried about putting myself out there in this way – vulnerability is not a worry this year!
However, as many of my goals are related to business development and how we can grow our client base, revenue streams and essentially make more money… I am feeling a little concerned that I'll be judged by some of you. I love what I do and I am massively connected to my purpose and the value I intend to share – but I've got to make a profit at the same time and ensure my fantastic team are rewarded for their efforts. That's my disclaimer in case any of you think I'm just in it for the money. The reality is I've got big plans for us and I'm excited to share these goals with you.
OK, here goes…
Follow the leader…
If you're not working with a business coach or mentor – do it. I took the leap this year and invested in working 121 with someone rather than just reading books and listening to podcasts and wow… It's like my eyes have been well and truly opened. It's been fantastic – so in 2021 working 121 with a coach or mentor on a monthly basis is non-negotiable. However, I need to make sure every minute of that time is maximised. The sessions I've had have been awesome and at times I've been so blown away (and perhaps even exhausted – in a good way) that I've been overwhelmed. On reflection – I think that's down to how I've shown up. (The progress I've made has been phenomenal – imagine the difference it would make if I showed up present and correct?!?)
I will show up organised and with an agenda at every session, I will follow up and communicate progress between sessions and I will speak up when I lack clarity.
I strongly believe that whatever I'm doing to develop myself – I should be ensuring my team is also able to implement (in a way that suits them) so that they can also develop. Last year I promised I would give more 121 time and external resource to my team but this hasn't been adhered to while we've all worked remotely. So I'm carrying this forward and tweaking it slightly.
I will facilitate internal and external development support for Mark, Emily and Jane within the Green Umbrella 2021 budget and encourage them to take time out of the business to attend events and courses. (Minimum equivalent of one week per quarter.)
Have I told you I love my team?
Mark, Jane, Emily – if you're reading this I can't tell you how much I appreciate you on every level. There are too many things for me to list here but there really are countless examples of you going above and beyond – especially since March 2020. What's more, you've all been there for each other as much as you have for me… I sometimes worry I might be the weakest link in the team because it definitely isn't any of you!
The truth is – you need rewarding more for your efforts and so in 2021 we'll fix this and ensure you are reaping more of the benefits of our successes. However, I also want to ensure that the pressures and burdens we've all felt reduce. So let's look at how we grow, what we can outsource and continue to work in the way we have been.
By the end of 2021, we will have employed a junior designer to assist Mark and increased the use of virtual assistants and freelancers to assist Jane and Emily in their workload.
The team extends beyond that though, to our current freelancers and partners. The following question was posed to me a few months ago “How do we all win?” It made me really consider where the business was going and how the overall structure of ‘Team GU' needs to look in the future. How do I win? How do the team win? How do our friends win? How do our clients win?
I will create more opportunities for our freelancers and partners to grow and profit from working with us from the creation of incentives to providing opportunities to present and build their brands using our network.
I will build a dream team of service providers that together mean we can help our clients with all their marketing activities directly or indirectly but always with 100% confidence in service delivery.
Process, process, process…
I've been accused of being too rigid in the past when it comes to process but if I want this business to grow the way I have planned, documenting every process in the business is going to be essential for success. I've already mentioned how I want the team to grow – but it's not just about extra bodies – We need to think about skills and function. This goal is a little bit of a cheat as we've started to do this already, but in 2020 we're going to be more strategic with how we put this together.
I will delegate the documenting of all processes required in line with job descriptions for new roles. We will outsource specific tasks in the interim until we are able to grow headcount one role at a time.
I said last year I was going to dig deep into the data – and I did. However, we're going to have to repeat much of this work as the majority of our client base is working from home and key events in our calendar are set to remain virtual-only for the time being. Truth is, I love looking at the data almost as much as I love Gin… however, like Gin, I probably spend more time on consumption than I should! the data is important but it's something I need to delegate.
I will delegate the preparation of regular reports related to KPI's and marketing activity for the business and train the team on how I read and interpret the results to create actionable outcomes.
Let's make it rain!
As in money… not actual rain. Yep – sales strategy, let's talk about it.
So 2020 saw Print disappear from the world – with no one attending events or networking the usual reliable print jobs we do each year vanished overnight. Add to that the number of furloughs and redundancies, and you can also imagine the hit we felt on our training services! However – despite this we worked with what he had, diversified things, made some tough decisions and now it looks like the year is ending positively – phew!
It didn't end fantastically though, and I'm not going to let that hold me back! I crunched my numbers and did my forecasts and budgets, I had a plan for 2021 based on the current climate and feelings of woe. And then I remembered someone telling me I should “Think Bigger” so I've added another 30% to all of our targets. (Now you know why I said all those nice things about the team earlier – I really hope they show up for work on the 4th January!!!) I'm not going to give you a statement full of figures on this one – but I will be sharing it with my team.
I will share sales and revenue targets with the GU team with absolute clarity. Together, we will view these figures as non-negotiable and everyone will understand how they are able to directly impact those numbers and gain from the successes they bring us.
Innovation… that's so last year?
I had big plans for something really exciting when I wrote my goals last year. But it became a Covid-casualty and ended up on the back burner… It's still an exciting idea and highly feasible and something I have EVERY intention of making happen. However, by the time I get around to it I'm not sure how innovative it will be anymore. (I'd really like to pop a laughing emoji in there, but I just can't bring myself to do it.) Jokes aside, I'm really frustrated I haven't made my move on this top-secret project and this is when the negative talk starts.
The truth is, that in my world, you can easily swap the word innovative for the word shiny. I have a box full of shiny balls (innovative ideas) that could easily take all my attention away from priority tasks that will keep us in business. I'm determined not to start anything I can not finish and so, I get frustrated that I haven't made progress on some of this stuff. (And forgetting all the great stuff I have achieved instead of course!)
I will give myself a break and only juggle with one shiny idea at a time. When I am unable to implement things at the speed I want to without losing focus on priorities, I will not beat myself up. Working on my shiny ideas will be my reward for success.
Stop! Collaborate and listen…
If I think back to the very early 90s when I was bopping along to that Vanilla Ice tune I doubt very much I would have predicted I'd be using it as a subtitle in a blog! Then again, 5 years ago I wouldn't have thought I'd have the opportunity of collaborating with some of the people we're currently looking at working with next year. It's essential however that we (I) choose what opportunities we (again I) say yes to. It's flattering that there are so many opportunities ahead of us – but I need to keep our capacity in check so that we don't over-promise.
I love collaborating – and it's so exciting to be involved in things. However, I need to think about the capacity of our team as a whole and not just my involvement. (There's also the fact I'm cherry-picking from a much longer list of goals and even I only have 24 hours in a day!)
I will not commit to the delivery of more than four collaborative projects at any one time in 2021. The projects I engage with will have sufficient time allocated in my diary, with specific deadlines and outcomes to ensure 100% success.
No man (or product) gets left behind
In March 2020 parts of the business vanished and we quickly got the Green Umbrella training hub up and running. It was something we'd planned to do this year anyway – but all of a sudden it felt like a necessity. We did and… with so much else going on we haven't really given it the airtime it deserves.
I will relaunch the Green Umbrella Training Hub ensuring the addition of a minimum of one new short course per quarter and ensuring it is incorporated into our overall marketing plans.
In 2020 we also launched the Green Umbrella Online Print Store – I'm determined to ensure this doesn't fall off of our radar in the same way the training hub has! It's a fantastic way of making the print process easy for our clients and a part of the business I've always felt we should do more with. I'm looking forward to seeing Print make a return in 2021 and beyond.
2021… you're mine
Reading this back – it really is only giving you a taste of what I have in store for next year – there's so much more I'd share with you behind closed doors! In fact, I've just realised I've not included anything from my marketing goals in here – be prepared for more high-value content and more opportunities to get involved with the content we're delivering!
Each italic statement above ‘wraps up' some very specific, measurable, time-bound goals. They're all typed up and listed on a swanky spreadsheet and handwritten in my journal. Over the year I'll write them and re-write them word for word to ensure I fully commit and take responsibility for them. I'll break them down into individual tasks that will mean they all happen and this time next year… I'll be telling you how I've just had my BEST. YEAR. EVER… LIKE, EVER EVER.
I hope you get to make the same claims too – 2021 really is going to be awesome.