Mid-Year Planning Tips For The Self-Employed


Mid-Year Planning Tips For The Self-Employed

Making time for mid-year planning is essential for self-employed individuals and small business owners to continue progressing throughout the year and finish it out at the highest potential. It helps keep a business owner or entrepreneur on track with their goals and allows them to make the necessary adjustments needed to finish the year strong through reflection and intentional planning. Whether your micro business, small business, family business or freelance business is exceeding expectations in the first part of the year or isn’t quite where you intended to be, mid-year business planning can help get you where you desire to be by the year’s end. If you’re exceeding expectations, then seeking out new opportunities and challenges will be part of your mid-year plan. For those that need to get back on track, making adjustments, setting new goals reallocating resources will be a crucial part to your mid-year plan. No matter where you are at in your business journey this year, you can benefit from the following mid-year planning tips from The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE).

Mid-year Reflection:

Reflection is the first step of mid-year planning since knowing how your company has been performing in the first part of the year is key to planning how to finish up the year. Your mid-year review should include how your goals, budget, and year have been progressing in the first six months. Be sure to identify the obstacles that have stood in the way of completing goals and make notes on things that have had a positive impact on your company. The goal of updating your annual plan should be to eliminate obstacles and increase the actions that have given the most positive results. By properly identifying your company’s strengths and weaknesses through reflection, you can create a more efficient mid-year plan.

Updating your Annual Plan:

After thoroughly reflecting on the first part of the year, you can then begin to update your annual plan in the areas needed. When you first created your annual plan, you might have been in the process of starting a business or growing a business, and now have more insight than you did at the beginning of the year so you can pivot accordingly. Update your plan in a way that focuses on overcoming the obstacles that are standing in the way of your progress, while building off of the things that are creating positive momentum. As a micro business owner, small business owner or entrepreneur, it is important not to become too laser focused on finishing the second part of the year in a specific way and to make time for new opportunities and ideas to pursue. Use your mid-year plan simply for guidance and continue to make adjustments as needed.

Setting Goals for the Second Half of the Year:

When updating your annual plan, it is important to create new goals for the second part of the year, rework goals to finish the year strong, and drop goals that have not given you the expected results. Also, if goals are far enough along then you might want to mark them as achieved so you can focus on new challenges. When creating your mid-year plan, list out your goals and all the things you need to do to ensure you meet or exceed your goals by the end of the year. If some goals cannot reasonably be completed in the next six months, then break them down into segments that will be easier to complete. Remember to simply use your goals as a guide because it is crucial to leave time, resources, and energy for new opportunities, especially when you are building a business.

Properly Tracking Goals:

You should aim to properly track your goals throughout the year, but it is not too late to track them mid-year so you can pivot as necessary to achieve them. To properly track your goals, make sure that they are written out as quantitative goals where you can clearly measure them using metrics. Metrics can help tell you what direction you need to go in order to complete the goal by telling you what is working and what is not. When setting and reshaping your goals for the remainder of the year, determine the best metrics you can to use to evaluate your progress on each one.

Picking the Right Metrics to Track Goals:

When reviewing your goals, it is important to ensure that the metrics you are using to track them is giving you the answers you need. For example, if your goal was to increase your company’s social media engagement, simply reviewing how many followers you gained over the first part of the year is not efficient. You should also consider using software to track other social media data that pertains to engagement such as profile views, likes, comments, shares, and more. In order to finish the year strong, choose metrics that provide you with real-time data you need for each goal to guide you. The right metrics will tell you if you are exceeding goals, right on track, or coming up short so you can make adjustments.

Review your Budget:

Another important step when creating your mid-year plan is to review your budget and make changes as needed. Look at the areas where you invested your resources, time and money for the goals you set at the beginning of the year and if those turned out to be successful investments. If new priorities have moved to the top of your list, then realigning or adding more resources to your budget might be necessary. Investments that didn’t turn out as expected should be reduced or removed in your mid-year plan.

Estimated Tax Payments:

Estimated tax payments are due April 15, June 17, and September 16 this year, so should be calculated and scheduled accordingly. There are many digital tools available to small business owners to help you calculate taxes or you can use Form 1040-ES to figure estimated tax. To figure your estimated tax, you must figure your expected adjusted gross income, taxable income, taxes, deductions, and credits for the year. Be sure to pay them on each due date to avoid potential fees.

Planning for Important Dates:

Mid-year planning is all about ensuring that you stay intentional with your time, resources, and money. It is important to update your business calendar with important dates and deadlines for the remainder of the year. Also be sure to mark areas on the calendar that you expect to be busy or slow times of the year, so you know good times to schedule in new opportunities when they arise. Key things to mark on the calendar are fall quarterly reviews, holidays and breaks, conferences and events, deadlines, networking opportunities, estimated tax payment due dates, and anything else of value for your company.

Create a Content Calendar:

During the mid-point of the year is a great time to create a content calendar to update your content and make sure your company is on track with marketing initiatives. Look over your website and social media channels to make sure that all of the information is up-to-date and useful to your clients. Also, look over your website and social media sites’ data analytics to ensure that you are getting the traffic and engagement you desire, and add content strategies to your calendar accordingly. By creating a content calendar, you will ensure your company is making time to actively contribute to your company’s digital presence which is key to properly market your business in this era.

Final Thought:

Mid-year planning can help any entrepreneur or business owner finish the year stronger. By reflecting on the first part of the year and planning ahead for the months leading up to December, you can come up with the perfect strategy to meet all of your goals, while also taking advantage of new opportunities. Visualizing and writing down what you would like to accomplish during the remaining months of the year, gives you a better chance of achieving your goals. Be creative, positive and open-minded as you create your mid-year plan, and most importantly enjoy the upcoming months and all of the new opportunities that await.

Courtesy of NASE.org