Whew! What a year! This year 2020 has been filled with ups and downs, wins and losses, for the nation as a whole and for the Black community in particular. While over 40% of Black business owners have closed their doors due to the pandemic, others have experienced unprecedented growth and advancement due to an increase in support for Black businesses and, in fewer cases, a shift to more profitable business models as needed to survive the pandemic. With the world shutting down, Black women have pushed through, as they always do, and some have found a success amid a pandemic.
Going into the New Year, this is an opportunity to rethink your business and be responsive to the changing economy. Of course, building a strategic plan, a master calendar, and a budget are typical end-of-year planning items. However, with the new normal still evolving and the 2021 global economy still uncertain, I also want to encourage every sistahpreneur to remember YOU. Dedicate some time to your own leadership development, health, and success as you plan your company goals and strategies for the new year. You can’t lead a team or a company successfully if you’re not self-managing, too. Now more than ever, it’s important to step back and check on YOU.
These tips offer ideas for how you can reset as a CEO and make sure your 2021 boss moves outshine your 2020 ones!
1. Celebrate, reflect, and set intentions
If you made through this year and your business survived, you are truly blessed. Take time to celebrate your resilience and reflect on what you’ve accomplished despite the hardships of this past year. Show gratitude to others, yourself, and your higher power. Gratitude is more than giving or receiving gifts; it is also essential to take time and simply acknowledge how many positive things have happened in your life. When life gets hard and business is overwhelming, gratitude is a quick and easy way to be mindful of the blessings too, and this can help you reset with positivity for the new year.
From that place of gratitude, now set intentions for how you will feel, how you will show up, and what kind of leader you will be in 2021. Give yourself time to think about who you are becoming and how you can continue transforming into who you want to be.
2. Create delegation plans for your team
If you’re a true goal digger, then you are probably working on your business plan for the upcoming year, if you haven’t finished it already! You probably also have a sense of what you want your company to accomplish. If you have not done this work, though, definitely join Sistahbiz or register for our Goal Digger retreat, where we’ll walk you through effective goal-setting processes.
If you have your company goals and strategies created already, then go a step further and delegate ownership of functions or strategic initiatives to team members. Stop carrying everything on your own! Decide if you can outsource the projects associated with a goal to a firm or freelancer, or consider whether you might want to hire a contractor or new employee. You can also create individual quarterly milestones for each team member that in turn are connected to company goals.
3. Set self-care goals
Forgetting to take a break is not hard to do when your to-do list is constantly growing, to say nothing of life’s day-to-day responsibilities too! Self-care allows for time to wind down and reflect. Being still and present in the moment may be different for everyone, but the practice itself is equally important for all.
Self-care may be as simple as remembering to eat breakfast or read a new chapter of a fun book, or it may be as glamorous as keeping up your appearance with spa days or taking a vacation. Whatever self-care looks like to you, make sure that it is a part of your New Year’s routine for yourself. Your company is only as good as those running it – including yourself!
Also, decide how you will make the most of mornings by designing a powerful morning routine. Think through what type of medical, dental, and therapy treatments or visits you will need in the new year. Plan your vacation days for the year and take time to dream up and set goals for new travel plans or excursions. Explore new exercise routines or hobby activities.
4. Design your CEO schedule
Being organized and having a plan will allow you to make sure your minutes and hours are in service of the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Having a realistic and well-designed schedule can not only help you reach your goals, but it can also help you create balance in your life. The roles we play as mothers, caretakers, volunteers, community leaders and business owners require a more strategic approach to time management. Without a great schedule, we find ourselves dropping balls and feeling like no one or nothing gets the time it needs for us to be successful.
Schedule time blocks for activities that will creep into your work hours unexpectedly if you don’t plan ahead for them. Decide up front that you’ll block time for the following:
- Doctor, dental, spa, and therapy appointments
- Vacation time and important family events
- Napping and down time, especially after big projects or event timelines. Power naps can rejuvenate you and give you that extra kick when you don’t even know you needed it!
- Errands like grocery shopping, car maintenance, bank runs, and personal matters
Here are some additional tips about activities to block time for, and why.
Block time for lunch. I know this sounds crazy, but the Zoom meeting-to-Zoom meeting cycle can be just as brutal as in-person meetings. Decide now that you deserve 30 un-compromised minutes or more to step away, get some sun, eat a meal, and yes, use the bathroom.
Block time for back office work too, especially if you’re a solo-preneur. In other words, don’t neglect the time you need in order to manage the books, human resources (HR), and business compliance-related work for your company. Also, block time for one-on-one meetings with your direct reports. It’s important to have dedicated time for supporting your team and checking in on their deliverables in a structured manner. Often when I see entrepreneurs struggling with their employees, this is usually because they are not holding themselves accountable to progress monitoring and support.
If you use a calendar system that others get access to in order to schedule their own appointments, then set up calendar rules so that meetings can’t be scheduled by clients or other stakeholders on days that you don’t want to take meetings or during times that are too close together. For example, it’s good to automate 15-30 minute buffers or set up travel time between meetings, so you have the time to prepare, reset, and show up to each one ready to shine.
Block time for your mornings to be what you need them to be. Make time for prayer, exercise, healthy eating, food prep, and review of your goals and meetings for the day.
If you’re a parent, decide what times and days belong to your kids. For example, my own son is in college now, and if I could go back in time, I would have found a way to set aside more uninterrupted time with him before he’s as busy living his own life as he is now. One of the best things about being an entrepreneur is that this allows you to make decisions about your time that you may not have been able to while working for others. So take advantage of it!
5. Develop your professional development plan
The business world is always changing, so avoid being left behind because you did not take the time to develop strong entrepreneurial skills and knowledge or to educate yourself on new advancements in your field. It is important, both for yourself and for your business, to carve out time to stay educated.
Looking forward to the new year, outline the skills or tools that you’ll need to develop in order to meet your goals or strengthen your areas of growth. Then decide what sorts of activities will help you sharpen those skills or acquire knowledge in those areas. Reading, conferences, an accelerator program, working with a coach, and taking a business course are all examples of professional development opportunities that you can plan to take advantage of. Be proactive and get signed up and ready for these activities now so that you’re investing in your leadership and entrepreneurial development.
If all of this planning for 2021 seems overwhelming, then take a deep breath and remember – just take it a day at a time. Work on one of each of these 5 areas every week from now until January, so you can end the year with the determination needed to move forward. Stay ready and use the end of this wild year of 2020 to reset with intention!
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