How to do a monthly business planning session
This monthly planning session exercise can help you reach more of your business goals and grow your business more quickly.
1. Grab a notebook and a pen or open a word document.
2. Find a quiet place and bring a beverage.
3. Follow these steps to plan your next month!
Listen to the audio:
Let’s do a monthly business planning session together!
Today we're going to do a monthly planning session for your business.
This is something that you can repeat every month, every quarter - even every week if you want to. Whatever works for you.
I invite you to follow along and complete each exercise.
Part One: Assess Last Month
The first part of this planning session is to do an assessment of the previous month and see what went well and what didn't.
1. Celebrate your wins
The first thing that I would like you to write down is a list of all of the things that went well last month.
As business owners, it's often really easy for us to overlook our wins and the things that went well, because we're so focused on the things that didn't go well or all of our deadlines. We don't take that time to really celebrate ourselves. I want you to really acknowledge the things that went well last month and celebrate those wins.
2. Identify areas of improvement
The next thing that I would like you to write down are the things that could have been improved. Don't think of these as the things that went badly or the things that you did wrong, just areas of improvement for your business.
3. Check in with your projects
The next part of this is to check in with all of your projects. This includes projects for or with clients and also within your own business.
For each project, ask yourself:
How are they coming along?
Are there projects that you've finished?
Are there new projects that you've started?
Are there things that got put on the back burner?
Are there things that are going to become more of a priority in the upcoming month?
Check in with all of them and see where they're at. This is going to help you to identify your priorities for the upcoming month.
4. Check in with your goals
Along the same lines, I invite you to check in with your goals from the previous month.
What did you achieve?
What did you have to set aside because of other priorities?
Again, this is going to help you figure out what you might need to focus on in the next month.
Now, when you are looking at goals that you did and didn't achieve, I invite you to do this without judgment. So if there are goals that you didn't get to, that doesn't say anything bad about you.
I guarantee that you didn't just sit around doing nothing last month. It probably means that other things came up that became more of a priority and you weren't able to do that thing you had originally intended. That's completely okay. Please don't feel bad about yourself if there are things you didn't achieve that you wanted to.
Part Two: Plan Next Month
Now that we have done this assessment of the month that just happened, we're going to do our planning for the upcoming month.
1. Do a goals brain dump
The first thing that I invite you to do is to write down a list of all of the things that you would like to achieve in this next month. Now, this is just a brain dump. Write down everything you can think of.
Don't think about what's more important or urgent. Don't think about what is reasonable to complete in a month. Just brain dump everything that you can think of.
2. Prioritize your goals
Once you have brain dumped absolutely everything, this is where we're going to prioritize.
I invite you to identify things on the list that are more urgent, that are a higher priority, what's most important to achieve in the upcoming month, what can wait, and what's a lower priority.
If you are a visual person, you can go through your list and start marking tasks. The sky is the limit here in terms of creativity. Here are some methods that I have tried:
Creating a color-coding system and using different colored highlighters to categorize each item
Using numbers or letters to identify higher urgency or higher priority items (ex. A or 1 items would be most urgent and important)
Using symbols, like putting an asterisk beside high priority items, circling or underlining items, etc.
If this feels too messy or disorganized to you, you could create a new document with different columns or different lists based on urgency and importance and add each item from your brain dump to the relevant list.
I have even seen graphs with items plotted on them based on urgency and importance.
Note: One thing I would recommend is that you don’t overthink your organization system or spend too much time organizing your brain dump. This can be a way of procrastinating on actually managing or doing these tasks.
3. Pick your main priority for the month
At this point, I recommend that you really do your best to narrow down your priority for the upcoming month to one to three things max.
Of course there are going to be other things that you want to achieve. But if you can really identify those top priorities, that's going to help you to tailor your daily and weekly tasks so that you know you're focused on those goals.
4. Create an action plan
Once you've picked your one to three things that are really your top priority for this month, now we're going to come up with an action plan to achieve those things.
Going through each priority one at a time, break them down into all the different steps and tasks that are required to achieve them.
It can be overwhelming when you're looking at the big picture all at once, but if you break it down into all the little steps and you look at them one at a time, it makes it much more achievable.
If you are the type of person who does well with time blocking or putting things in your calendar, feel free to take your calendar for the month and slot these different steps in throughout the four weeks to distribute the tasks.
Or if that's not how your brain works, if there's another distribution system or way of organizing your tasks that works for you, feel free to implement it. If you're a to-do list person, that's great. If you've got other organization methods, whatever works best for you.
Now we have our top priority for the month, we've got our action plan for the month, and we're ready to actually get started and start doing these things and making it happen!
Return to this planning session anytime you need it. 😀
I hope that you found this monthly planning session helpful! I hope that you actually did follow along and do some of this planning with me. If you have any questions, please let me know down in the comments or feel free to reach out.