VOE – December – Plan For the New Year!

Tis the season to be jolly…where the traditional downtime in the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to do a little introspection about the year and to set forth a plan for the upcoming year.

Set aside a half or full day to do this by yourself or with your team of employees, virtual assistants or key contractors – either face-to-face or virtually.  And make sure you take precautions to minimize the interruptions.  You want to be working “on” your business and not “in” your day-to-day business activities when you do your planning!

Start off with taking a look at the numbers from the last year and if you have them, a few years prior.  Take a look at the trends in your gross income, net income, number of engagements, your portfolio of products and services, your client types, referral sources…and the list goes on, depending on your own unique business model.

Then step back and ask three key questions:

  1. Over the past year, what has worked well in your business?
  2. What didn’t work so well over the past year? And
  3. What are the critical issues or gaps between where you are now and where you want to be in the next one, two, or three years?

From this conversation, you’ll develop a handful of key results you want over the next year or so.  Just a handful.  No more than five.  Preferably three.  I’ve seen too many speakers get bogged down with a long list of goals that never get translated into action.  More than a handful just too overwhelming!

For each of your 3 to 5 goals, identify the key activities that need to happen to achieve that particular goal.  If you haven’t brought your team in, now is a good time to include them in the conversation.  And reach out to others in your chapter, your mastermind, people whose opinions your respect – to help you.  Again, no more than 3 or a max of 5 activities per goal.  Don’t make this into a big science project!  You might even find a “two-fer” activity – that’s one activity that supports two of your goals!  I love it when that happens because I know that’s a high leverage activity where I should really focus my efforts.

Then, set up a structure to support forward movement on your plan.  We all get sucked into the busy-ness of our days, checking the 467 emails, updating our status on facebook, and blogging about some significant issue.  So at the beginning of the week, ask yourself, “what’s the ONE thing I am going to do to move this goal forward?”  Then, at the end of the week, ask, “what did I DO to move this plan forward?”  I don’t know about you, but I strive to check one, two or maybe three of these strategic items off my to-do list.  So at the end of the week, I feel like I have actually accomplished something!  Before you know it, you’ll have made significant progress to achieving your goals – one step at a time!

The National Speakers Association operates in much the same way.  Each year, around Thanksgiving, your National Board comes together to reflect on the past year, refine the strategic plan and identify the key activities for the upcoming year.  We have a newly formed Strategic Planning Committee who is watching the numbers, the trends and critical issues facing our profession and our association.  They provide recommendations to the Board who then reviews and modifies our strategic plan going forward.  Last year and this year, we have five key goals:

First,  Create well-defined segmented programs and services for the working professional speaker, so that all members find educational value at NSA.

Second.  Enhance the overall NSA member experience, so that all members find value at NSA.

Third.  Strengthen the relationship with NSA Chapters to ensure our members have an exceptional experience at the local level that is consistent with the NSA brand.

Fourth. Demonstrate our commitment to the profession with meaningful research so that our members and external constituencies receive insightful information to be successful in the speaking profession.

Our fifth and final goal is to Create and implement a focused and segmented  marketing plan internally to our members and externally to the greater industry that hires speakers, so that our members and external constituencies know the value of NSA and NSA speakers.

For each goal, we have assigned a Board and Staff champion who ensures we continue to make forward progress – so that we can serve you, our members, even better.  Because NSA is all about providing exceptional value to you, our members, so you can be wildly successful in this business.  So have a FABULOUS holiday and don’t forget to take some time out to plan for that wildly successful future!

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