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Kaya's Easy 5 Step Strategic Planning Process

If the idea of strategic planning scares you or makes you want to crawl into a hole, use my 5 easy steps to begin the process and you will be on your way.
Written Dec 06, 2009, read 1459 times since then.


Here it is December again, and over here in Oregon, it is creeping towards winter solstice, the darkest day of the year.  This time of the year provides a perfect opportunity to go inward into the shadowed corners of your business, to review the year, and look at what needs to die, what needs to live and what new energies need to come into being next year.

For those of you who live in the northern hemisphere like me, it is a perfect time to align your cycles with those of nature.

This can sound a bit strange, but in fact if you look at your garden right now, this is exactly what is happening out there. I just cut down my dahlia stalks yesterday, and when I dug into the darkness of the soil I noticed that some of the bulbs have healthily multiplied, while others have died and withered.

I wouldn’t want to replant the dying bulbs because they are ready to turn into mulch. They’ve lived their life purpose, so to speak. It is much more productive, in the spring, to plant the healthy ones and also add a few new ones into the mix. Business is similar. Change and growth happens.

Ideally, my 5 step process should be done twice a year at the Solstices, which provide a perfect backdrop for your business planning sessions. 

If you live in the southern hemisphere, you are near to summer solstice; the longest day of the year. So for you, it’s not about going into the darkness, since you have sunshine until late at night, but as it is still the end of 2009,  there is an opportunity to do focused strategic planning for 2010. December, regardless of where you live, is an excellent time to evaluate, assess and make decisions for the next year.

Here is a 5-part process you can do to help you begin your new year strategic planning session. This process can be done on your own, but it will be even more powerful to do with your team, your mentor or mastermind group. It always feels good to share with others, and just the act of sharing and having a witness can feel empowering. When you share you can also get feedback and respond to questions that will enhance your focus.

Use a clean sheet of paper for each question and do a mind mapping by writing down everything you can think of. From there you can pull out the most potent points.

1. What were your successes for 2009?  What are you proud of accomplishing and why?

2. What obstacles did you need to overcome in yourself in order to reach those goals? How did those obstacles slow you up?

3. How did you manage to overcome them? What did you learn from that process and how can this awareness help you next year?

4. Where in your business did you put in a big effort without enough payoffs?  What needs to die or where do you need to let go and move on?

5.  What is your main new goal you want to accomplish for next year? Does it feel exciting and challenging and how will it help your business overall? What kind of support do you need to get started?


This easy process will bring up more questions and more ideas that you can take into your full planning sessions. Successful entrepreneurs take the time to work on their business. I hope this will be a helpful and empowering process. Let me know!

Learn more about the author, Kaya Singer.

Comment on this article

  • Reiki Master, Natural Healing, Cancer Support, Cancer Coach, Pet Cancer 
Portland, Oregon 
Rosemary Levesque
    Posted by Rosemary Levesque, Portland, Oregon | Dec 07, 2009

    Kaya, This is exactly what I'm thinking about. How appropriate for you to voice my thoughts. I'm especially excited about writing articles this year and am starting right now... not waiting for the new year. As for support... it's all around! Feedback on articles is a great support and biznik has that in place.

  • Hotel Operator, business developer, designer, environmental consultant 
Spring Green, Wisconsin 
Carolina Dursina
    Posted by Carolina Dursina, Spring Green, Wisconsin | Dec 07, 2009

    Very great writing, I do have to do that and for me the slower time is January and I'll work on my 2010 plan; however is good to start know writing down what I knwo about my 5 points!

    Thank you Kaya!

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | Dec 07, 2009

    Rosemary- I look forward to your articles and yes- lots of support is right here.

    Carolina - Like you I do my main planning in January, however this 5 point process is good to do in December as it gets the energy moving and sets the stage for the bigger session. Thanks for your comments.

  • Referral Source 
Tigard, Oregon 
Becky Tengwall
    Posted by Becky Tengwall, Tigard, Oregon | Dec 07, 2009

    Hi Kaya

    This is terrific! I always love reading your articles! This really hit home, since it's exactly what we do every single year. (That's why we do not have meetings the last 2 weeks of the year.) It gives us time to regroup, and plan out for the following year without all of the day-to-day distractions we normally encounter. This truly has helped us gain such success!

    Becky Tengwall

  • Graphic Designer 
Pueblo West, Colorado 
Lisa Hodanish
    Posted by Lisa Hodanish, Pueblo West, Colorado | Dec 10, 2009

    Hi Kaya,

    I like the idea of doing this twice a year. Just planning once a year seems too long. You can easily get off track and not realize the good stuff you were able to accomplish. I think it could go along with re-viewing your business plan every 6 months.

    I love how you bring nature into how you explain things. I've always liked that about you.

    Take care, Lisa

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | Dec 10, 2009

    Becky- Thanks for chiming in and for the reinforcement. December is such a good time to do this for most businesses - but especially your business where people are focused less on networking and more on working "on their business," so in that regard it's good modeling for you take take time off of meetings encourage everyone else to do evaluation as well.

    Lisa- thanks for your comments too. I'm glad you see the value of the 6- month re-view.

  • Advertising and Marketing Consultant. President of a non-commission Advertising and Marketing Agency in New Jersey 
Toms River, New Jersey 
Tom Forgione
    Posted by Tom Forgione, Toms River, New Jersey | Dec 10, 2009

    I agree. I was just speaking with a client about this about 1 hour ago. (In keeping with the gardening theme) The only way to enure you are always growing is to reflect on past efforts and be sure to prune out the wrong moves so no weeds will grow in the future.

  • Freelance Writer 
Ferndale, Washington 
Sandra Rees
    Posted by Sandra Rees, Ferndale, Washington | Dec 11, 2009

    It is important to review your past year. The successes and failures. Where you need to improve and what works. It is something we should all do.

    Thank you for your timely article. You are "spot on" with your suggestions. (And it sounds like you have a lovely garden, too!)

  • Virtual Professional/Business Consultant 
Vancouver, Washington 
Tia Ribary
    Posted by Tia Ribary, Vancouver, Washington | Dec 11, 2009

    Kaya, I like that what you wrote here isn't something I've read a million times before. It provides some new insight. And, I agree, it would be very powerful to do with a team or mastermind group! Perhaps I'll do it with mine.