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2023 Lazy Yearly Planning & Goal Setting

Yearly Planning, either you love it or you hate it. But no matter where you stand I'm sure you know that planning is an important and necessary task for any startup to go through.

When you first begin building a business, you may find it difficult to settle on yearly goals or reasonable targets. And that is okay. When you are just starting, you don't really know what is possible or what you can achieve because you don't have any historical data. If that is you, don't worry. I have your back. Today we are going to go through the "Lazy Planning Process" which only has 4 steps.

One of my favorite quotes is by Zig Ziggler. He said, "If you aim for nothing, you'll hit it every time." And for anyone who has been running themselves ragged trying to do "all the things" in business, I'm sure you can relate to this golden nugget.

You need to plan and execute accordingly so you can get better at planning and executing-- then eventually, you'll begin to really understand your business and what lever to pull that will really affect change to help you grow and prosper.

How to Plan when you Don't Have Historical Data

One of the most important action items when planning your yearly goals is to set your top Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These KPIs will determine the actions you take and will help you prioritize your goals.

When you're just starting out, you must first go through the process of deciding what are the top metrics in your business to watch. For early-stage startups, I suggest choosing no more than three core metrics. Within these three, you should have a mix of both, leading and lagging metrics.

For example:

  1. Email Subscribers (Leading)

  2. Demo/Sales Calls (Leading)

  3. Closed WON (Lagging)

If you're more advanced, then I would suggest tracking these 7 Essential Marketing Metrics for Startups.

Now, if you don't have historical data, then it's really helpful to do some research on benchmark performance metrics within your particular vertical. There is a wealth of knowledge on conversion rate benchmarks and lead costs. If you're just starting out, then I would start with how much revenue you need during the course of the year and then work backwards asking yourself these questions:

  • To achieve my revenue goals, how many sales do I need to close?

  • Based on the number of sales I need to close, how many sales calls do I need to have?

  • Based on how many sales calls I need to have, what quantity of leads (email addresses) do I need to collect that will give me the needed volume of calls?

When you answer these questions, you'll end with an understanding of lead volume. With that, the next thing you'll have to answer is, what marketing actions are you going to take to deliver the quantity of leads needed? Will you run ads? How about building your audience through partnerships?

This quick exercise will help you be laser-focused on what you need to do rolling into the next year and you'll begin to understand exactly where you need to allocate time or money.

4-Step Lazy Goal Planning

Once you've completed the bit of pre-work and have an understanding of the key metrics to track, then it's all about realigning with your vision and prioritizing your workload.

  • Reconnect with your big vision: During the course of our regular lives, pressing forward with the dailies it is so easy to forget exactly what you are working towards. Shiny Object syndrome is real and we may come to the end of the year realizing that we've been working in the wrong direction! It's so easy to get thrown off course. For any goal-planning session, it's really valuable to reconnect with your vision. That may look like taking the time to journal, on your own, to remember your big goals. Then reflect on the work you and your team are doing to confirm whether or not those tasks align with what you're trying to accomplish. From there, you must, must, must communicate your vision with your team. Our team has a much shorter-term vision of your company and it's your job as the founder to keep them focused and excited about what you are all building.

  • Review Benchmarks or your historical results: Back to Mr. Ziggler. We need to set targets and review them. If you haven't created a scorecard for your company, put that as the TOP goal on your list right now. It's impossible to improve the performance of anything without understanding what results you are getting now- today. If you don't have historical data, then start by pulling some industry benchmarks so you have something to aim for. Something beautiful happens when you review metrics. If targets aren't being hit, it is a wonderful segue to creative brainstorming. This process of reviewing what is working/not working and then brainstorming ways to improve is the only way to succeed in business. Success can be measured by the number of trials and errors you've been through on the journey to getting it right-- and knocking it out of the park.

  • Readjust or reaffirm your ideas: Now you've reviewed your metrics and the goals and tasks that have gotten you to where you are now. Hopefully, you can make some conclusions on what is working/not working and are filled with new ideas based on the discussion you've had with your team in the previous step. These ideas become the foundation for your goals moving forward. I like to brain dump everything with my team and then prioritize together-- taking in new ideas and perspectives from the team in the process. This helps get your team aligned and energized by the goals (rather than just parceling tasks to them).

  • Create and Assign S.M.A.R.T goals: Now you've decided on what goals to tackle in the next 90 days. It's time to write them in a concise way that clearly communicates what needs to get done and the expected results. A SMART goal is one that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and bound. Here is a quick guide to get you started. Be sure to add the tasks to your favorite project management tool so you can keep track of progress. BONUS: Create a Scope of Work SOW document to map out the action steps for your goal. You can snag a free template here.

And there you have it! It doesn't need to be so difficult. You just need to set aside the time to get it done and follow these 4 steps. Once you get used to the process it can be done in an hour if needed. Some people find it fun to create a whole "to do" around quarterly planning, and that can be fun. But if making it a big event prevents you from actually getting the work done, skip the bells and whistles for something much more "low-key."

If you're still not convinced of how easy this process can be, I've created something special just for you.

A special masterclass walking you through the step-by-step process for lazy goal planning. One you can use with your team. It's the perfect way to implement the habit of quarterly planning with your team, nothing more is needed than to update this quick document every 90 days with your team.

Take a listen!👇🏻


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Victoria is a Marketing Mentor to early-stage founders. She has built compelling brands around the globe and has worked as a marketing director across several verticals. She is passionate about helping women think BIGGER about their businesses and giving them the tools to grow. She'd love to connect on LinkedIn or email her at


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