Small Business

Is Your Business All Set For 2019?

Have you figured out the goals you need to hit to achieve an awesome year? Have you planned and scheduled in campaigns and tactics? Do you feel confident with your strategy? Or, have long term goals fallen to the wayside as you just try to figure out how to get through the next few weeks?

If you’re in the latter camp, today’s small business column is for you. For her last column of 2018, we asked Fiona Killackey, founder of My Daily Business Coach and the author of a Get It Done: Your Guide to an Awesome Year (launched this week!) for some quick tips on goal setting (and getting!) for 2019.

Fiona Killackey

Photo – Annette O’Brien.

Fiona Killackey of My Daily Business Coach. Photo – Annette O’Brien.

Fiona has just released her first eBook, Get It Done: Your Guide to an Awesome YearPhoto – Annette O’Brien.

A workshop with My Daily Business Coach x Natasha Morgan. Photo – Danny Wootton.


Fiona Killackey
21st of December 2018

Michelle Obama famously said, ‘If you don’t take control over your time and your life, other people will gobble it up’. Truth. Another unfortunate fact is that in Australia at least, 60% of businesses will fail in their first three years. The most common reasons? A lack of money followed by a lack of solid planning. Somewhere between the excitement of launching and the genuine fatigue that can come with following through, we lose our sense of control and confidence, spiralling into a state of stress and confusion.

Since launching my consulting business at the end of 2015, I have worked with hundreds of business owners across Australia, the US, UK and NZ as a consultant, coach and teacher. In this time I have witnessed one trait that separates those who have succeeded in building strong businesses from those who struggle to do so: clarity.

Getting clear on who you are, what builds (and kills) your vibe, why you started (and continue to run) your business, which elements make you love your business and what you most want to achieve is crucial in being able to not only experience a great year in business, but actually enjoy the journey too. As a small business owner, when you feel confident and in control, you share that positive mindset with everyone around you — friends, partners, children and, of course, your clients and customers.

The most important result of goal setting is clarity — clarity over who you are, who you serve, where you’re headed and why. I’m all for vision boards and one-word-for-the-year exercises, but I believe practical tips, frameworks and small, consistent actions are what really makes the difference between thinking about what you want to achieve, and actually achieving it.

Cassie Lucas of Firecracker Event scaled her business up, moving to a new HQ in 2018. Photo – Emily Weaving for The Design Files.

Photo – Annette O’Brien.

We also turned to our legendary bookkeeper Line at Counting Clouds for key info around tax time! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

At its most basic, goal setting can be divided into five core areas, each of which builds on the last to provide a quality plan of action that will benefit both you and your business:

All About You

The first step is to figure out your needs, strengths, weaknesses and skill gaps. While SO much time is spent on your audience, very little is spent on the person at the helm. In this stage you want to be answering the following questions:

– Why did you start your business?

– Are you still as committed? More so? Less so?

– What frustrates you about your business? How might you remove or reduce this in 2019?

– What do you value and are these values reflected in the way your business runs?

– What’s your personality type and what are the areas of strength you need to be pushing more, or the areas of weakness you could potentially upskill in or outsource?

– Which parts of your personality may have held your business back in the past?

All About Them

The next stage is to really dive deep into your audience’s needs and wants. How does your business alleviate their frustrations and improve their life? In this stage you want to be answering the following questions:

– Who are you really speaking with? Do you know them as real people, not just demographics on paper?

– Can you visualise them, i.e., which podcasts they listen to, which celebrities they follow, films that impacted them, mottos they live by? If stuck, check out this mood board as a guide.

– Do you know where they hang out online and offline? Are you regularly connecting with them there?

– Do you understand their mindset and how it changes as they move through The Buyer Cycle (see below) and become more familiar with your brand?

– Do you know their biggest frustrations with your industry and are you alleviating these through your content, customer service and product development?

The Year That Was

You can’t confidently plan for the future, without first revisiting your history. One of the most important stages when goal planning is to reflect on the year just gone. In this stage you want to be answering the following questions:

– What worked? What made you proud of your business? What came naturally?

– What sucked? Which tactics were stressful?

– What skills did you acquire (or fail to acquire)?

– Who supported you?

– Did you work predominantly on urgent or important things?

– What were the key lessons of the year?

– What do you never want to experience again in your business?

The Year That Will Be

This is the stage most people are familiar with, but without doing the three steps prior, it can often turn into a vague collection of ideas, rather than data and experience-driven goals. In this stage you want to be answering the following questions:

– What does an awesome year mean to you?

– If you had to specify each awesome ‘thing’ could you use the formula from X to Y by when to really get specific? (i.e. from $45k end of 2018 to $90k end of 2019)

– What does this look like on a basic 12-month plan?

– What does this look like on a daily, weekly and monthly basis?

– What can you cull?

– Who can support you in achieving these goals?

– What do you need to automate, delegate or eliminate?

– Which marketing channels will you use to connect with people?

– How will you measure their impact on your goals?

– Who or what will keep you accountable?

Tools & People To Help

No business is an island. We all need support to scale sustainably. It’s one thing to plan an awesome year for 2019, quite another to execute and achieve it. Some of the best tools for helping you transform ideas into reality are:

Mindmeister – a great digital platform to brain dump all your ideas and map out scenarios for 2019

Asana – a great tool for listing out your smaller steps for each goal along with deadlines

Use Sixty – a great tool for hiring expert help within hours to assist in website, email, project management or admin set up or development

Facebook Groups – these can be great to network, find accountability partners or even use as a search engine for customer research

Pinterest – an excellent tool for visual business owners to map out audience profiles, campaign ideas and branding concepts

Slack – a useful tool for keeping conversations, emails and documents in one spot to refer to throughout planning and executing a great year.

– 3x wall hanging monthly whiteboards – Great for showing you a quarter at a time i.e. January, February and March. When one-month finishes, simply move the other two along and add in the next month (i.e. the January board becomes April). Easy to visualise your availability and key priorities over the next quarter. And, being a whiteboard, it’s far easier to update than printed calendars.

If you found this story useful, you may wish to check out Fiona’s first eBook, Get It Done: Your Guide to an Awesome Year here.

Fiona Killackey is a business consultant and mentor at My Daily Business Coach. You can sign up to her weekly email here.

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