17hats Ambassadors

Ambassador Share: How will small business owners move into 2022?

The last couple of years have been, um, a little different, right? However, even with all the changes we’ve endured, we’ve seen small businesses survive and even thrive this year. I sat down with a few 17hats Ambassadors to see what they learned from the past year and how they will move forward in 2022.

Amanda: So it’s the end of the year, the big question is, where does your business go from here? Even though society  may be going mostly back to normal in 2022, I think the past two years have taught us that we should plan for the unexpected. What will you do to reflect and learn from the past year? 

Will Wolher: I like to start by taking a look at both the business and personal sides of my life. I feel that personal things are directly related and contribute to my business. Especially habits, behavior, etc. I usually take some time to reflect on each area. I think about what areas I did well in, need improvements, and are in progress and need more time.”

Laurie Johnson: This is a strategy that I use with myself and my clients. I host a “Year-End Wins & Wishes” event where attendees reflect on their accomplishments from the past year. Our brain takes care of reminding us of our failures, and it’s important that we acknowledge and celebrate our successes.

Our brain takes care of reminding us of our failures, and it’s important that we acknowledge and celebrate our successes.

Tara Cochran: I carve out an entire day to do an “audit” of the past year. I go through all of my goals or expectations for the year and then compare those to reality. As a former auditor, of course, I love to dive deep into the quantitative side of my business. This encompasses metrics like finances, client booking, and social media data. Once I’ve reviewed how the year went through that lens, then I shift gears into the more qualitative items. A big part of this is doing a comparison to how my year (ideally) embodied my business core values and my personal word of the year. To wrap everything up, I do a review of my brand and see what I’d like to shift going into the next year.

Amanda: All of these are great methods for reflecting on and learning  from the past year , How do you determine the success of 2021?

Will: While I am continually growing and learning, the idea of success can be different every year depending on the goals I planned out. There are markers for specific goals that I use as ways to see progress, like sales numbers, number of products sold especially since I don’t feel there will ever be an “arrival” for success.

Amanda: I really like that philosophy, Will. Success is progress, right? Laurie, how do you determine if you reach your goals?

Laurie: If I reach 90% of my yearly income goal, I call it a success. Business is a numbers game, and I’m all about tracking the numbers. And while numbers alone don’t always equal success, the truth is, you cannot measure success if you are not measuring!

You cannot measure success
if you are not measuring!

Laurie Johnson

For those goals that are less tangible, I use a ranking system, where “8” is my ideal number. The number 8 signals that I’m pretty satisfied, yet still have something to achieve in that particular area. Life gets stale without goals.

Amanda: Do you do anything special to celebrate your goals and success?

Tara: To celebrate my accomplishments, I do a review of my business wishlist and I’ll treat myself to something on the list! This list are items that are not necessary in a lean business, but can make the process a little smoother or more enjoyable! Last year I upgraded my monitor and bought a new Pantone book.

Will: Nothing too extravagant because I know once I reach a certain point there is more to learn and grow from. Having rewards, like meals or purchases, for reaching some milestones is how I have been celebrating. 

Laurie: I like to kick it up a notch! My celebrations usually include a nice vacation destination, family, friends, food and dancing.

Amanda: Now, let’s get into planning for next year. How do you get started planning for the year ahead and how do you prioritize your to-dos?

Will: I start by taking specific areas that I want to focus on or need to work on and writing them down. I am very visual and tactile so love the process of writing things out. I break things down into the smallest steps to make it easier to manage and accomplish. Sometimes I schedule it out if it is a time-sensitive goal or task so all the little tasks lead up to the full project being completed.

Laurie: My client’s “Year-End Wins & Wishes” event includes a goal setting for the upcoming year. When we’re setting goals, I look at the areas I’ve ranked the lowest. It’s never too late to turn a “3” area of life into a “5” or “6” or (hopefully) an “8”.

Amanda: Those are great tips for goal setting! How do you re-energize yourself for the new year?

Laurie: I remain committed to looking back at the lessons I’ve learned, the progress I’ve made, the people I’ve helped, and the fun I’ve had. It keeps your mind working, it keeps you young and it keeps you moving forward. 

Amanda: Couldn’t agree more! Planning for the future can be time consuming, but worthwhile. How do you make time for 2022 planning?

Will: December, and into January, is my planning time where I don’t schedule many clients and make time to go through everything.

Amanda: Thank you so much for sharing all of these helpful insights about moving into the new year. Do you have any other pieces of advice to share about planning? 

Will: Take some time throughout the year to check in where you are so you can tweak your goals if necessary. Following a rigid plan can sometimes be too constrained and can cause you to be too hard on yourself for not achieving. There may need to be some flexibility, like moving a goal further out or changing direction. It’s a fluid thing and ongoing.

Tara: Remember your business and brand are always evolving! Don’t be afraid to scrap projects, to-dos or other items that aren’t serving you and your business anymore.

Laurie: It’s so easy to always be focused on the future and the next goal without taking time to reflect and take stock of the past. Life is best when balanced.

Amanda: Thank you all again so much for dedicating your time to being a 17hats Ambassador. We look forward to sharing more amazing business education with our members and readers. 
And for our readers, if you are interested in jump starting 2022, download our 2022 Planning Guide below.
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