Are you getting excited about all the new things you have planned for the new year? It's the perfect time to put the 'no' in NO-vember and look at the things you can say no to in your business in order to create space for what's next.
With the new year fast approaching, you very likely have some big goals and projects you are excited about. Maybe you are adding something new to your business, like writing or releasing a book, publishing a podcast or YouTube channel, expanding your team, or maybe you are adding new offers like in-person retreats or masterminds, or even reimagining your current offer suite.
Whether it's a new year, new quarter, or even new week, we are often excited by the new things we are going to be focused on.
But we can quickly become overcommitted, overworked, and overwhelmed. As a result, we either fall behind on our goals and feel discouraged or we end up working way too much in order to achieve them.
This happens because we often don't take the time to create the space for the new things we want to pursue in our business. One of the things I am frequently quoted as saying is that "the most important thing you can create in your business is space."
It is so easy as visionaries to get enamored with the new and to overlook the space and focus we need to successfully take something new on. We need to be really intentional with our time so we set ourselves up for success and scale within the capacity we have.
There are 3 things to focus on when you want to create space for something new:
- Identifying and saying no to the things that aren't working
- Making the tough tradeoffs when you have to say no to something that is working
- Top causes of time creep that lead to unexpected overworking
Tune into Episode 97 of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast or keep reading below.
Identifying What Isn't Working in Your Business
There are numerous techniques you are can leverage to identify what isn't working in your business. One of my favorite techniques to leverage is the CHuCK Technique since it will help you get clear on what things you want to Cut, Hold, Change, and Keep in your business, from your offers to your activities, considering return on investment, alignment, fulfillment, and investment - things you do today with the expectation that they will pay off in the future.
Things that aren't working are the easiest to say no to, so start there.
But what if everything is working well in your business and you still need to create space for something new?
How to Know What to Say No to When Something Is Working in Your Business
The reality is that you only have so much capacity in a day, week, month, quarter, year. Sometimes when you look at all the things you want to focus on to take your business where it needs to go next, you will have to make the tough trade-offs and say no to something you are currently doing. Even if it is working well.
It can be hard enough to say no to what isn't working - it's especially challenging to say no to what is. But this is what it takes to continuously level up your business.
So what do you say no to?
The very first step is to look at everything you are currently doing and ensure it is aligned with the next level evolution of your business. You'll often find that there are things that aren't.
Those are the first to go.
An example in my business is that I let go of my weekly lean coffees. I have done these trainings and Q&A sessions every single week for years - I have delivered over 100 sessions of advanced level content to my private Facebook community. I love doing them. My community has historically loved when I do them and often carves out time to watch the replays. So why did I let them go?
I needed to create space for some new focus areas next year, and when I look at the direction of where my focus is going combined with more and more of my community minimizing the amount of time they spend on social media, it made sense to say no to our weekly lean coffee.
That also gave me the opportunity to start doing more in-depth trainings and workshops every month instead. So I now offer an advanced 60-minute workshop every 2nd Tuesday of the month and I give the option to watch it live in the Facebook group or to join via Zoom.
So what is that for you in your business?
A pro tip if you are still faced with things you have to cut and are struggling to say no to anything is to start in reverse order. So instead of deciding what to cut, decide what is the very most important thing to commit to. Then decide what's next most important, and so on. The things at the bottom of that list need to go, or you need to find capacity elsewhere.
This could mean expanding your team. It could also mean looking at how you can simplify, systematize, and streamline the things you are focused on which you want to always be doing in your business. That alone will often get you back the capacity you need.
As tough as it can be, you are likely going to have to choose to say no to something that's working and something that's valuable in order to create space for something that's even more valuable.
The first step is determining how much space you need to create and it's often more than you might initially think.
Top Causes of Time Creep That Cause Overwork
You've likely heard of the term scope creep before, especially if you work with clients privately or offer services. It's when the scope of a project or commitment expands beyond what was committed to, sometimes due to poor planning or sometimes due to unexpected issues or opportunities. Something that is equally as important is time creep which is when something takes much more time than you expected.
There are some common root causes of this - we are going to focus on 2 of them.
- Not considering the before and after
- Not thinking holistically about the impact on other activities
When you think about the thing you are most excited about going into next year, be sure you think of all the things you need to do before you can begin that project - what I call the enablers. Do you need to hire someone - on your team or a freelancer or consultant? Do you need to research tools? Do you need to make technology investments or changes? etc.
Then think about what comes after you finish your project. Let's say it's the launch of a new offer - are you accounting for all the time it's going to take to deliver on that offer and maintain and optimize it?
People often miss either the before or the after, often both.
But there is also the impact to your other activities. How does your marketing and launch roadmaps change once you add the new offer? What new content is needed for social media? Who is going to handle customer support?
When I launched my Lean Out Your Business podcast, not only did I need to free up quite a bit of time to produce it in my own calendar, but I also had to free up time for my team, and we had to assess the impact to all of our marketing efforts. Our newsletters changed, our social media strategy changed, or content management plan changed. They all changed for the better, but there was still a change that completely transformed the way we approach and deliver content in the business. So it's not just carving out some time to ideate, record, and publish a podcast episode, there is a lot more to it.
All good stuff, but it can lead to overwork and overwhelm if you don't strategically plan for everything holistically.
This is an exciting time of the year as we close out one year and get ready for all the excitement and opportunity the new year brings. Create the space for all of the things you want to focus on in the new year so you can confidently achieve your goals without overwork and overwhelm.
If you'd like someone to provide an outside-in perspective and help you develop your strategic plan for the new year including getting clear on what you will be letting go of to create space for what's new, book a VIP Strategy Day to spend the full day together laser focused on your business. Learn more here or schedule a call to learn more.
by Crista Grasso
Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale. Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business. She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast. She is also the founder and CVO of the Profitable Planner Co and Criscara Jewelry.