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How to Create a 5-Year Plan You’ll Actually Stick To [In 4 Steps]

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How to Create a 5-Year Plan You'll Actually Stick To [In 4 Steps]

One common question you’ll get asked in an interview is, “Where do you see yourself in five years?

When it’s coming from a hiring manager, we usually have an answer ready. When it comes to your personal life, do you have a five-year plan?

In the most stressful times in my life, planning brings me great joy and peace. But who says you have to wait for the stress to come? In this article, we’ll outline why you should create a five-year plan and how to build one you’ll follow through with.

Benefits of a 5-Year Plan

Whether professional or personal, a five-year plan can serve as a reset for your life. Who doesn’t like a fresh start?

After all, that’s why New Year’s resolutions are so popular. They give us something to look forward to. There’s also something to be said about writing out a detailed plan. It can be a great motivator to put something in motion.

Personally, I’ve said countless times that I want to be fluent in Spanish. However, it’s not until I write a detailed plan for how that it will become real. 

This brings us to our next point: clarity. Sometimes, a path seems scarier than it actually is because we don’t actually know what it looks like.

Creating a plan is like pointing a flashlight in a dark road. A more accurate description is that it turns that dark, twisty road into a clear path forward. Doesn’t mean there won’t be any bumps in the road but at least you’ll know exactly where you’ll land and how to get there.

Lastly, a five-year plan can serve as a reminder of what’s at stake. In your daily life, it can be easy to forget that every day, we’re shaping our future.

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The decisions we make today affect what our life will look like years from now. Having a visual reminder of this can keep you focused on your goals.

5-Year Plan Example

Using our downloadable five-year plan template, we were able to create a detailed five-year plan, broken down by year, process, success metric, benefit, and resources. 

five year plan example financial

How to Make a 5-Year Plan

1. Know your “why.”

This is singlehandedly the most important step in creating a plan.

A clear “why” is your North star. It’s what will guide you throughout your journey and motivate you to keep moving forward.

It can take a while to narrow this down. You’ll know you have the answer when it’s linked to a core value or belief. Otherwise, you have to keep digging.

One way to get to this is by just asking the question over and over again. For instance:

  • I want to learn American Sign Language. Why?
  • To become more connected to another culture. Why?
  • To broaden my perspective. Why?
  • To be a more understanding, tolerant, and inclusive person.

Now, we’ve taken something at surface level and brought it down to a personal, human level.

2. Consider every aspect of your life.

When creating a five-year plan, you want to review your life as a whole and plan accordingly.

It’s not enough to plan for your professional career and not your personal one. After all, one impacts the other.

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There are the core four that you should always have:

  • Career
  • Health (physical and mental)
  • Finances
  • Relationships

Depending on your goals, you can also add categories for religious or spiritual development, recreation, and service.

Don’t forget bucket-list items – have you been wanting to learn a new language? Or perhaps you want to visit every country in the world. Bucket list items are perfect for five-year plans because you can spread them out over a long period of time and have fun tracking your progress.

3. Make it S.M.A.R.T.

To give you the best chances of success, every goal should pass the SMART test. That means being:

  • Specific – The vaguer your goal, the harder it will be to reach.
  • Measurable – You must be able to quantify your goals because otherwise, how will you know you’ve reached it? This doesn’t always mean assigning a figure to it, it can also be a feeling.
  • Achievable – While it’s good to push yourself beyond your limits, your goal should be attainable and realistic based on where you stand currently.
  • Relevant – How does this goal fit within the bigger picture? Does it align with your personal values? What’s the impact on your life?
  • Time-bound It’s not enough to say it’s a five-year plan, you have to create a timeline and set milestones at specific points within your journey.

4. Start with the big ideas then narrow your focus.

When you’re first writing your five-year plan, start with the big idea from each category.

If you don’t know where to start, use this: “In five years, I want to be [fill in the blank].” This will help you figure out goals that you may not have vocalized before.

From there, break it down into bite-size pieces.

This means turning your ideas into action items that can be executed over a certain period of time, specifically from five years to monthly milestones.

Research will play a big role in this, as you will need to learn how to achieve some of your goals. For instance, say your five-year financial plan is to be debt-free.

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That’s the big idea but you need to dive deeper. How exactly will you achieve that? Your research will likely suggest setting a budget, paying off your most expensive loan first, consolidating your debts, and more.

Once you know the key action items, you can break them down by year, month, and even week.

This is a S.M.A.R.T. goal in action. The more specific you are, the better you will be at fulfilling your five-year plan.

If you want to add more structure to your life and play a more active role in shaping your future, consider creating a five-year plan. While things may not pan out exactly as you’ve expected, you’ll be surprised at how close you’ll get to what you wished for.

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MARKETING

8 Effective Ways to Ensure Ecommerce Business Success

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8 Effective Ways to Ensure Ecommerce Business Success

It is a known fact that the global consumers are favoring ecommerce, and the reasons for ecommerce business success are many. 

According to a Statista forecast, the retail ecommerce revenue in the US is expected to cross 1.3 trillion dollars by the end of 2025.

Image via Statista

While brick-and-mortar stores are gradually losing their dominance, the digital marketplace is blazing. More and more ecommerce brands, big and small, are coming up and gaining a foothold in this ever-expanding landscape.

If you are one such ecommerce business striving to taste success, you know how demanding and competitive things can be. And you only beat the fierce competition with aggressive ecommerce marketing strategies like digital advertising, content marketing, social media marketing, etc.

In this post, I will be sharing 8 key factors you need to focus on to ensure your ecommerce business success and sustainable business growth. 

Let’s get started.

8 Key Factors for Ecommerce Business Success in 2022

The future of ecommerce is bright and the small businesses that jump on the bandwagon early will reap great benefits. But what does it take to taste this success? 

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Here are the 8 key success factors for ecommerce businesses.

1. Target a Niche Audience 

The secret to ecommerce business success lies in understanding your target audience and focusing all your efforts on engaging them. Instead of trying to attract a broad audience on the search engines, select a niche audience specific to your small business, understand their pain points and interests, and position your brand to meet their needs. An SEO tool like Semrush or Ahrefs can help you with your research to build a strong marketing strategy based on real insights.

The goal is to make your product unique and market it to a relevant audience that is more likely to make a purchase. This strategy can increase customer loyalty and win repeat customers for your small business. Therein lies the secret to your ecommerce business success. 

2. Go Mobile-First 

The pandemic has accelerated our shift to ecommerce and given rise to m-commerce. Insider Intelligence estimates that by 2025, m-commerce sales will account for 44.2% of total ecommerce sales in the US.

So it’s clear that the success of your ecommerce business relies on the mobile-friendliness of your site. Having a mobile-friendly online store can help you deliver a seamless online shopping experience to customers on the go.

You can begin by running Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and building a progressive web application (PWA) for your online store. A responsive design for your website will help boost sales and pave the way for your ecommerce business success.

3. Choose the Right Distribution Channels 

Your audiences are active on different channels and if want your products to be visible to them, you need to choose the right distribution channels. 

If your business model focuses solely on your ecommerce website, you should broaden your perspective and consider other sales channels. There are several other options to sell your products like Amazon, eBay, social media, affiliate marketing, and so on. You can manage your sales process effectively with the help of sales CRM tools. These tools integrate your different sales channels and makes your sales process more efficient.

Conduct extensive research to figure out which of these channels are preferred by your target customers. Showcase your products in an attractive way to boost your ecommerce sales. This digital marketing strategy can contribute to your ecommerce business success.

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4. Create Unique Content

You heard that right. To ensure that your ecommerce brand stands out in the crowd, you should invest in high-quality and diverse content. 

Today internet users are flooded with content and to grab their attention you need to think out of the box and create content marketing strategies that truly grab their attention. Remember, video content is ruling the landscape delivering great results. You can use Premiere Pro Presets to create unique and impressive videos and stay ahead of the competition.

Gather insights from customer data analysis, see what your competitors are doing, and learn from your previous digital marketing campaigns to create a more targeted content marketing strategy for your small business. 

5. Continually Update Your Email Marketing List 

Marketers rely on email marketing to achieve diverse marketing goals. Emails can be used to generate leads, nurture them, build relationships with customers, ensure customer satisfaction and boost ecommerce sales.

But to leverage the power of email marketing, you need to be smart about your email lists and use the right email tools to manage them. There’s no point in sending a thousand emails when only a couple of hundreds of recipients are your target audience. 

That’s why segmenting your email lists and keeping them updated is crucial to your ecommerce business success. An effective way to manage your email lists is to ask for the recipients’ feedback on your emails and the information they prefer to receive.

By analyzing the responses, you can make more strategic decisions and ensure the success of your ecommerce business.

6. Deliver a Great Shopping Experience 

The expectation of customers in terms of customer experience has skyrocketed and that’s why you need to work towards improving customer satisfaction.

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Personalized communication could be one of the biggest game-changers, be it in recommending products, reminding them of abandoned carts, or introducing them to your latest offerings. Creating user story maps can go a long way in making your personalization efforts more effective.

Right from the moment customers land on your page to when they make a purchase, you should strive to create a smooth customer experience. You can also consider incorporating an AI-powered chatbot into your website to take your customer service to the next level.

To make your customers happy, offer them special deals and discounts. Such moves will surely boost your ecommerce business success.

7. Invest in Social Media Marketing

Social media, can be immensely effective in creating brand awareness, extending customer service, and generating leads for your ecommerce business. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube are all marketers’ favorites to reach out to niche audiences and drive traffic for their sites.

Having said that, it is a crowded market, and winning big on social media isn’t easy. As an ecommerce brand, you need to use social media analytics to create digital marketing campaigns that not only generate engagement but also fill your sales funnel with quality leads.

Ecommerce brands should also leverage social selling as it is growing into a prominent trend. This shoppable post by Macy’s allows its Facebook followers to buy what they like instantly. 

Image via Facebook

If invested strategically, selling on social media can act as a profitable sales channel for your business. 

8. Leverage Ecommerce Tools

Your team need not struggle to ensure the success of your ecommerce business. A variety of advanced ecommerce tools are at your disposal to optimize your efforts. 

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Some of the must-use tools for you are: 

  • Website tools – to design, set up, and manage your ecommerce site
  • Ecommerce marketing tools – to help strategize and execute your campaigns with ease 
  • Competitor analysis tools – to understand the gaps in your planning and improve it
  • Analytics tools – to help you gauge the performance of your digital marketing campaigns
  • Business tools – to help you manage daily operations, finances, logistics, inventory, and customer service 

Choose the ones that can boost the success of your ecommerce business. 

Final Thoughts

There you have it, a list of 8 key factors you need to work on to ensure the success of your ecommerce business. Gaining this success is hard work but it is worth it. 

If you want to fuel your business growth, I strongly recommend building your ecommerce marketing strategy to enhance customer experience and build your brand identity. Go ahead and give them a try to beat the competition and establish a successful ecommerce business.


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