It doesn’t make sense that I am so shocked that it is December and the holidays are quickly approaching.
I mean, December comes at the same time every year, doesn’t it?

The #1 sign it’s Christmas in my life? Lists.
December means that my usual habit of making lists is exponentially multiplied.
There are lists for everything – lists upon lists – things to do, gifts to buy, foods to bake, communities to serve, parties to plan and attend. There will be lists found strewn around my desk, through my purse and briefcase, in the car and on my nightstand.

It’s funny because I don’t consider myself to be a “planner”, but isn’t that what I’m doing by making lists?
The reality is my lists are just me planning my day, or mapping my shopping strategy, or itemizing my responsibilities.
I’m setting goals, designing objectives to achieve them, and measuring the success of the plan by the number of things accomplished in the time allotted.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are much the same way.
They don’t consider themselves planners either. When the words “business” or “marketing” are paired with PLAN there is often an uncomfortable silence. Or a flushed face. Or a long explanation of why there isn’t anything formally written down.

Planning sounds intimidating and time-intensive– like in order to make a plan useful it has to include an eloquent mission statement and every possible opportunity must be painstakingly detailed – and that the only ones responsible for its creation, tracking, and measurement are the business owner themselves.

Planning isn’t what they specialize in.

Although that’s true, in most cases, there is some sort of a plan in place. It may be high level. It may be hypothetical. It may be disguised as a “to-do” list. And they might be the only one that knows about it. But it is, at its core, a plan.

And a plan is vital to the success of any business.

How do you take the daily “to-dos” and turn them into something that can drive a business for an entire year? How does an entrepreneur make a marketing plan that inspires instead of discourages, that is achievable but still challenges those involved?

Isn’t this the perfect time of year to make plans?
Plans to grow, to improve, to connect, to inspire.
Plans that provide structure and guidance when things are hectic and it is impossible to see the ultimate goal.

Then, instead of being shocked it is January (AGAIN!), the peace of the season carries forward into a New Year exploding with possibilities.

As well as some very organized lists.