How to Plan for the Unexpected in Your Business

Plan for BOTHnew opportunities & unexpected distractions to ease your stress!

Did you reach your business & personal goals this past year? Are you ending up where you expected, worse than you thought, or in a different but better place?

I hope that you can find some space to look back on your year and make some small course corrections for the new year.

I traveled over Thanksgiving 2014 (for 18 days to San Francisco, my favorite place!) This gave me some space to reflect back on what I expected and to do some planning for next year. I find that travel (plane, train or auto) gives me some space to think about my goals.

If your life is anything like my life, then your year will be full of both new opportunities and unexpected distractions. Lean into this and plan for it, and you’ll be able to navigate anything that comes your way!

Often I find that people’s overwhelm is a direct result of the unexpected—illness, opportunities  changes in business plan, family priorities.

For example, I had some unexpected medical challenges but also unexpected successes along the way. So what if you EXPECTED that it won’t be a straight path? Just because it’s a new year does not mean the pattern changes!

Plan for BOTH new opportunities & unexpected distractions to ease your stress!

The best way to plan is to break it down into byte sized steps. Yes, it’s great to think about where you’ll want to be at the end of the year, but if your goal is too big, you won’t get there. The unexpected will throw you off (besides a big goal being impossible to achieve all at once!)

Let’s say you want to make 6-figures this year. Instead of focusing on this end result, shift your focus to the smaller, do-able things that will result in your larger goal.

EXAMPLE: Make 6-figures in 2014

  • Attend 1 networking meeting a week, meeting and following up with 3 new contacts
  • Make contact with 7 people aready in your network
  • Book 7 conversations a week, with at least 3 as sales conversations
  • Send out 3 proposals a week
  • Track progress online (both from your computer & mobile device)
  • Etc, etc.

EXAMPLE: Lose 50 lbs in 2014

  • Go to the gym 4 times a week, increasing intensity gradually
  • Get healthy prepared meals for 5 meals / week
  • Prepare frozen meals to have for busy days
  • Use a shopping list of healthy staples
  • Track exercise and food online (both from your computer & mobile device)
  • Etc. Etc.

Both of these plans can easily adjust to reaching the goals quicker than expected OR unexpected life changes.


The bigger goal has been broken down into S.M.A.R.T. goals — Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-based — which allows for check point along the twisted path.

This will also lead you to opportunities that are a natural result of the steps forward you are taking. Most of my opportunities were not on my radar at all last January. However, they were the result of the strong foundation I’ve been creating for the last several years. So the big wins were not really out of the blue, it was the result of the strategic planning I had been doing and implementing all along.

Many of these will be opportunities that find YOU, especially if you combine this progress forward with your online brand. With your message online 24/7 AND small steps forward for 52-weeks of the year, you can’t help but make 2014 a great year!

For example, I did a social media workshop at the AGU Meeting (American Geophysical Union) for science, technology, education & math educators. This was the result of many byte sized steps with making connections in the STEM community and building the reach of The Sun Today, a solar & space weather community I co-founded.

As you are making your New Year’s Resolutions, make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. — you will dramatically increase your chances for success. Don’t worry, if you ever find your goals are too easy, then you can always kick them up a notch. But it’s much better to be successful than to fail from the start.

Even better, make your resolution checking your S.M.A.R.T. goals every 30-days & you’ll really accelerate your success!

Get started by downloading my FREE worksheet on S.M.A.R.T. goals »

PS - I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed by reading blog posts full of ideas, tactics and tools. Be honest...

  • How frustrated will you be trying to implement this on your own?
  • How much time will you waste if it's not your next best step?
  • Did you just take the time to read this but you won't make any changes?
  • Or are you ready to take a small next step to build your brand?
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Virtuallinda (Linda Schenk)

I work with service-based entrepreneurs to attract more ideal leads, 24/7. My practical and flexible approach will help you to “Simplify. Build. Profit. Repeat.” I offer a custom blend of 23+ years of expertise in marketing, websites, brand identity, strategy, tech solutions and more. My skills link together like LEGO Bricks to create a custom fit for you.

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