How to build the perfect to-do list to grow your business in 2020

Business
Woman business owner writes a to-do list in notepad/journal/planner with a pen for 2020. She also has a coffee and a croissant

January is the time for new beginnings, refreshing, clearing out, goal setting. But, we’re steering away from resolutions. Resolutions are great but they’re easy to procrastinate. “I’ll start next month”. “I just didn’t get time this week”. So, we’re framing our suggestions for your to-do lists: daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. 

By putting a method in place to accomplish your resolutions will mean you’re far more likely to achieve them. Saying you’ll start exercising three times a week is a great resolution, but booking out time in your to-do list and calendar to do it (and then actually ticking it off!) is a great solution - only solutions will lead to results.

Daily business actions for your to-do list

If you do something every workday this year, excluding leave and public holidays, you will have done it 261 times. You’ll have achieved a lot and will be a lot better at it after 261 runs.

Interact with your customers and employees

It can be easy to get swept up in the day to day of business and forget to interact with the people keeping your business going. Communicating with your customers is essential to building a loved brand. Not only will you build better relationships between your customers, you and your brand, but you’ll also learn a lot. The best feedback you’ll get will come from your customers and having strong feedback streams will allow you to improve your performance.

Interacting with your employees will also provide you with a great window to feedback whether it be about your products, services, and customer experience or about how you run your business, your company culture, and life as an employee. Besides feedback, you’ll be able to be more involved in projects across the company. Your input and interest will be valued by teams and you’ll be able to better direct progress in accordance with your plans. Not to mention it will keep your employees happy and motivated.

Check-in with your numbers

Steering your business is a difficult job. Taking the helm, planning the route and keeping the ship heading forward is a lot to handle. There’s no rule book, no user manual and certainly no map. Data is your telltale here. So, daily check-ins with your numbers will help you pick up trends, signs, and hazards. Fires can spring up from anywhere, so having oversight is crucial to success.

Your financials, especially, need special care. Good, steady cash flow is essential to keeping your business on track and growing. Futrli Flow gives you daily updates on your cash, customers, suppliers, invoices, and bills.

Social media

Whether this is for your business, or for your personal branding, reach out on social media daily. Some days this can be a post, some days it’ll be making a few connections and following a few accounts, other days it can be messaging people in the industry, or commenting on a handful of posts. Everything you do helps build recognition and attachment to your brand, as well as building awareness with new faces.

And, it’s free! It takes time but dedicating half an hour every day is more than enough to build a steadily increasing following.

Weekly

Set specific goals

The golden rule is to break tasks down into smaller tasks, right? Most projects will run over weeks and months so breaking your overarching goals down into weekly batches will allow for better productivity and focus on these campaigns. And with a timeline of work, broken down into smaller components, a well-planned, proactive approach can be taken. This will make your teams feel more comfortable and better equipped to approach their tasks.

Check-in with your team heads

Once you’ve set your specific goals at the start of the week, check in with your team leads at the end of the week. How did the week go? Did any problems come up? Capturing problems and successes in a timely manner allows for the right actions to be taken quickly. It can be easy to become disconnected from your team. If an employee needs congratulating, you should know. If a blocker has come up during the week, you should know. 

Of course, these are things you should aim to hear about as soon as they happen. But, booking in a weekly check-in will ensure that nothing goes amiss. This also gives you a chance to review and measure the success of the goals you set at the beginning of the week.

Keep up to date with the industry

When you’re busy every day, it can be easy to get caught in your own bubble. Of course, you need to focus on your business, but keeping an ear out in your industry can give you great insights and pointers about the direction your business should be heading in, or where your priorities should sit.

Monthly

Network

Networking. We’ve written lots of content on the benefits of networking. Extend your networking circle, learn new things, get inspired and share your own knowledge. Don’t underestimate the power of reaching out to the industry. It’ll benefit your business, giving you more exposure and chance for opportunities.

Review your financials

We recommend looking at your financials every day, with a good, in-depth review at the end of every month. What should you look at once a month?

  • Review your expenses - disused subscriptions, for example, will add up and can be difficult to keep track of when your team grows.
  • Review your bills - keep an eye on when your insurances and policies need updating and remember to see if you’re getting good value. Are similar services available with a better deal?
  • How did this month’s income stack up against last months, or this time last year? Do you know why it was less/more? Does this match up with your forecast? It’s important to know where your business is and what factors are currently affecting it.

Manage inventory

Likewise with your financials, assess how your inventory served you this month. Too much? Too little? Assessing the factors that impact your stock will allow you to optimize your purchasing going forward. Having too much stock leads your cash flow tied up and can cause you problems if the stock isn’t moving. Having too little stock will limit your ability to capitalize on unexpected opportunities.

Yearly

Reflect

It’s time to reflect and look back on the year. What went well? What could have gone better? Taking time to reflect on the ups and downs of the year will help you plan and prepare for the next one. The only issue with making mistakes is not learning from them.

It’s equally important to ask, what have you and your team achieved? The end of the year is a time of celebrations and although it’s important to try and celebrate achievements and milestones as they happen, it’s good to look at the year as a whole too.

Plan

The end of a year, be it calendar or financial, is the perfect time to evaluate and plan for the year ahead. Once you’ve done your reflections and analysis, plan out your year coming. Setting goals for the year ahead will help you map out a plan to keep your business growing and moving forward, with a driven focus.

How to plan out a year for your business:

  • List the events, partnerships and milestones you know are coming up and work backward to plan out when smaller deadlines will need to be complete.
  • Set your end of year goals, these could be anything, from revenue targets to customer numbers, social media followers to employee count. And again, work these back to see what steps would need to be taken in order to hit these goals.
  • Go through this process with individual teams, taking them through the logistics and discussing options for achieving your goals, and then go through an overview of the action plan with your whole team.
  • Make a go plan for each month, listing the priorities for each team by the end of the year, and broken down into each month, this will determine your weekly focusses.
  • Make a hiring plan. If you’re planning on expanding, your team will need to grow too. Knowing your goals and focusses for each month, decide when would be ideal to hire each position and put the preparations in place to get your new employees on board, whether this is briefing your HR team, or reaching out to agencies.
  • Consider investments that will need to be made throughout the year to meet your goals. Hiring budget? New office? Increase in stock?
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