As we move closer to a new year, what will happen in the next few months remains unclear, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare and make plans to strengthen your landscaping business. Here are five tips for planning in uncertain times.
Reflect on the Past Year
While 2020 did not go as most people planned, looking back gives us an opportunity to better prepare for 2021. Before the new year, take time to reflect on your original goals for 2020 and how the year went. Then analyze where you’re at now. In some instances, you might be better off than you were at the beginning of the year, while in others you might have had to take a couple steps back.
Regardless of what happened, the first step to planning and preparing for the future is to take stock of your current situation.
Control Your Controllables
In uncertain times, it’s important to control what you can before trying to manage things you have less control over. For example, if your fuel spending is higher than you’d like, figure out why and determine a few ways you can reduce it. Try implementing a different service route so you’re driving less, monitor you and your crew’s driving to ensure you’re maximizing fuel efficiencies or consider if it’s time to upgrade your vehicle to a more fuel-efficient option.
Write down the things in your business or at your job that you can manage regardless of external factors, and create a plan to improve these things first.
Create Attainable and Stretch Goals
After building your list of controllable factors for your business, create a list of things you want to accomplish over the next year. Then, develop attainable and stretch goals for each of these items. For example, if you want to increase the number of jobs you have each month, give yourself two options for achieving that goal.
It may take longer, but small steps will get you to the same destination. Stretch goals give you something to shoot for, while having smaller, attainable goals will help keep you on the path forward if things change.
Track Your Progress
As the year rolls on, keep your goals at the forefront of your mind, and check in as frequently as possible to determine your progress. Regular check ins are the best way to stay on track and determine what you need to do more or less of in order to achieve your goals.
Most check ins don’t have to take up a lot of time. Each month, just make a note — even a mental note — of what you accomplished to know what you need to do the next month. However, setting aside time every few months to do a more thorough check in can be helpful too and will help you determine if you need to scale back your goals or if you can strive for that stretch goal.
Be Prepared to Pivot
So much can happen throughout a year, so being open to changing your plans will allow you to still make progress, even if it isn’t what you initially set out to do. If something out of your control happens, don't be so rigid in your goals that an entire year is derailed. Instead, manage expectations with the reality of your situation and make new goals as needed.
Looking for more tips on preparing for 2021? Check out our blog on how to hire during a labor shortage.