Planning 2021 for your French business

By Valérie Aston on 12 January 2021 · Viewed 695 times · Questions

January is the ideal moment to sit down and start planning for the year ahead. We all know how difficult it can be to make plans with the current pandemic, but it is key to set yourself some goals if you want to move forward.

I am fond of the 90-day planning, as you still set yourself some yearly goals, but you break them down in quarters. This gives you the opportunity to review and adjust your strategy according to changes happening in your environment.

Here are 4 steps to follow to plan 2021 for your French business. You can download a copy of my workbook “How to plan 2021 for your French business” to start this process. This plan works whether you are already in business or if you plan to launch a business in France in 2021.

Book some time in your diary to go through this workbook. Write down some ideas, think about it, then move on to the next section.

1 - Looking back at 2020

Start by looking at your successes, goals and activity in 2020. You can read my article on end-of-year-review to help you with this, or use the workbook for this.

Looking back at your French business in 2020:

  • What worked well for you in 2020?
  • Which are the 3 achievements you are most proud of?
  • What were your objectives?
  • Which ones didn’t come through and why?
  • What was your 2020 turnover, split between products/services?
  • Which things do you want to stop doing in 2020?
  • Which challenges do you see for 2021?

If you plan to launch a business in 2021, you can look at your career and steps taken in 2020.

2 - Vision and objectives

For this second step, you are going to set your vision and your intention for the new year. You will also set yourself 3 objectives.

  • What is your vision for your French business in 2021? Simon Sinek talks about your why.
  • What drives you in your activity? Which impact do you want to have?
  • Which are the 3 objectives that you want to achieve in 2021?
  • In which quarter of 2021 will you aim to reach each goal?

My workbook “Plan 2021 for your French business" also gives you some space to start breaking these goals into actionable steps, which will take you closer to your vision.

You can also take a couple of hours to make a vision board out of images and words cut out of magazines. Keep this vision board in your office or a private space which you will see every day.

3 - Planning 2021 & breaking down your goals

Looking at your 3 goals for this new year, start making a list of 10 actions that you could take to reach them. Try to make each action specific enough, using the SMART technique - Small Measurable Achievable Relevant and Time-Based.

Project yourself into the year by trying to plan these actions into a quarterly or yearly calendar (you can get a templates in my workbook). Looking at your workload, when do you think that you can start working on each of these actions. Spread them along the year, as you want to avoid feeling overwhelmed. In this case, you have to decide which will have the highest impact on your activity.

Whether you like to visualise and play around with ideas or whether you like to plan straight away on your computer, you can try one of these techniques:

  1. Take an A3 piece of paper and divide it into 4 squares, each representing a quarter of the year. Write down each of your 10 actions for your 3 goals on a sticky note. Place each note on your board in 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th quarter. Once you have placed all your sticky notes, does it seem feasible to do all this? Do you need to move some sticky notes to another quarter? You may even decide that some actions will wait until 2022 or that they are not key to your activity and drop them. Once you are happy with it, add it into a calendar to visualise your year (see my template in the workbook).
  2. Take a 12-month calendar in Canva or Word, or take my template in the workbook. Position the 30 actions over the 12 months. Spread the workload, so it seems feasible and matches your goals’ deadline.

Print your final yearly or quarterly view and in pin it in your office, so that you can keep reminding yourself what matters in your business and what you need to focus on.

4 - Reviewing and adjustments

Your plan gives you a direction, which reminds you of what you have to focus on. But it doesn’t mean that it is set in stones. When you review your goals every 90-days, it gives you an opportunity to see what you have already achieved and to adjust your plan based on your environment.

If you are a fan or the 90-days technique, you will also review your actions at the end of each month to see how you are getting on. Are you going in the right direction? Celebrate small wins. Do you need to refocus on the right goals?

Take your time to work on this plan. You might want to spread the steps over 3 to 4 days, so you have time to think through your ideas and ensure that it feels right. Download a copy of my workbook and let me know how you get on Instagram or Facebook.

Planning 2021 for your French business

Valerie Lemiere: Start Business in France

About the author: Valérie Aston

I've been helping people who want to start or already have a small business set up in France since 2009. After graduating from a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, I worked as a senior marketing consultant in the UK and France for various International companies. I worked as a conseillère en création d'entreprises (senior business advisor) for BGE here in France and run this independent business on a daily basis.