Strategic Planning Exercise: How To Grow Your Business in 2013

New year’s goals and resolutions get a bad reputation, but this strategic planning exercise is meant to be the antidote.

We all start out with a lot of excitement and energy for our goals, but many times they aren’t sustainable goals, or we quickly forget why we wanted to achieve them in the first place.

That’s why my approach to planning for the new year doesn’t revolve around quick hits of inspiration, but rather focuses on your strategic plan.

This strategic planning exercise takes a long-range view of what you want to accomplish and fills it out over time to ensure that you actually can accomplish everything you set out to do.

Strategic Planning Exercise

The Opposite Of Resolutions is This Strategic Planning Exercise

Instead of striving for resolutions that are impossible to maintain like…

  • writing every day
  • meditating every day
  • drink green smoothies and juices every day
  • record a video every day
  • go to networking events every week
  • stop going on Facebook
  • launch a new program every month
  • a run a marathon
  • blogging every day

These are all great habits but it doesn’t make sense to start them all at the same time on January 1st. In fact, that’s probably the most overwhelming and least productive way to install a new habit or achieve a goal.

Strategic planning exercise

I’m really loving the long-range approach to planning the year. I’m even buying a second wall calendar to start planning my 2014, because that’s just how far ahead I’ve started to think about my business.

How To Strategically Plan Your Next Year

First write down on a set of note cards (or post it notes) all of the big goals that you want to achieve you in the next couple of years.

That might mean writing your book, your screenplay, starting your YouTube channel, increasing the number of subscribers on your list, your goal weight, moving to the city, you get the idea.

Then I want you to organize and prioritize. I organize by the different types of to duties that these Post-it notes represent. For example, I have a category that is all about selling more products.

In that category I had things like update one of my products, write new copy for a new product, create a system that would allow me to sell the products on a regular basis, and then find a way to get affiliates onboard to help me promote those products.

I also had another category that was all about my move to New York.

Once I had these categories, I then prioritize the items. Then I looked at how these items would all fit onto my calendar. I recommend doing this with a huge wall calendar to physically see how much space you have or don’t have.

I also recommend putting in personal events and things that you know you are attending.

From there, you will need to make tough choices.

You might need to get rid of some of your Post-it notes because they just don’t fit, realistically.

No worries, because you can just put these Post-it notes into a box for the following year.

I had kept all of the Post-it notes that didn’t make the cut and I looked at them again this year. For me, they were no longer things that I really want to focus on, because my priorities and focus had shifted.

It might be worth noting that if it doesn’t make the cut, maybe it’s just not that important and you don’t need to spend time doing it.

What I did last year was to stick my posted notes on the wall of my hallway, so that every time I went to the washroom I would see them and be reminded of what my priorities were.

Make Time To Plan Now

This is the logical systematic approach to setting goals for next year, and this strategic planning exercise has served me well. I’m also a huge fan of setting an overarching intention or word for the year.

Stay tuned for next week where I’ll reveal my word for the year, and show you how to pick a word that will also help ground your goals for 2013!


  1. Lisa Rohtopia on December 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Great stategy, not pnly for unorganized peeps but also those who tend to put to much on their plate… not that I would know of any.. ahem.. :) Merry Christmas and a happy 2013!

    • Nathalie Lussier on December 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      Absolutely Lisa! I wouldn’t know anyone who puts too much on their plate either, a bunch of overachievers maybe… ;) Thanks and happy new year!!

  2. Jen Vertanen :: Biz Strategist on January 6, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Love this Nathalie! This is much like how I plan with my corporate clients. I especially love the callout that we tend to underestimate just how much can be accomplished in a year and that down the road, when re-visiting, those items pushed aside still don’t necessarily make the high-priority cut…

  3. Lara Dalch on January 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks, Nathalie. I’m a couple weeks behind with my 2013 planning. (I’ve been a little busy.) ;) Have some time blocked out on Friday/Saturday and am going to give this a try, especially the big wall calendar. I’m such a visual person, not sure why I didn’t think of that before. Thanks!

  4. Jayne on January 23, 2013 at 4:03 am

    This is a GREAT idea to plan the BIG picture and see it daily to keep you on track. Thank you!

  5. webly on February 16, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    This is one of the best advice I’ve gotten this year. As the year started I constantly felt that I was running around like a headless chicken, spending money on one educational product after another, losing money with bad coaches, and feeling more and more overwhelmed.
    I’ve been going through your free advice library and so far I have to say that all the advice resonate with how I am feeling now.
    I love love this post on planning BIG and to focus on 5 things and to do them extremely well. Right after watching your youtube video I started writting my BIG DREAMS on sticky notes and sticking them around my computer screen before sorting them to pick THE 5 tops.
    It’s good to dream BIG and it’s even better to be realistic and plan accordingly. Tomorrow off to staples I go to get not one but 2 big wall calendars for 2013 and 2014.