By Kathy Ennis, Founder of Little Piggy
You’ve worked really hard this year to start or grow your business: finding customers; keeping customers coming back for more; developing new products or services etc. etc. Hopefully you will get some much-needed business down-time over the festive season.But when January comes around will you be ready to pick-up where you left off?
With the New Year comes the need for you to get your business-brain back in gear, which isn’t always easy if you’ve got that ‘cotton-wool-head’ that invariably takes over after the holiday period – especially if you switched off completely for a couple of weeks and didn’t schedule any ‘business-time’ in. So, here are six things you can do before the end of 2016 to ensure that on 2nd January 2017 you are ready to jump start your new business year:
- Reflect on Your Successes in 2016
This is a lovely way to spend some time towards the end of the year; thinking about all those things that went well. What was your biggest success, and why? What worked; why did it work? What did you do, how did you do it and can you replicate it next year?
Also, take the opportunity to list those people who helped you achieve your successes during the year – your support network, your team, your customers – and send them a personalised ‘thank you’ to show how much you appreciate them.
- Reflect on Your Failures in 2016
Your failures are so much more valuable than your successes. They teach you things your successes never will. So, once you have you list of successes, ask yourself a similar set of? questions about your failures. What was your biggest failure? Why did it fail? Did the whole thing fail or just part of it? What did you learn about how to make it work next time?
- Record Your Reflections
You’re probably so busy running your business that you’re not taking too much time to reflect. Bad idea. Your reasons for doing something in your business, the outcomes – the good, the bad and the ugly – are incredibly valuable.
At this point of the year, sit down and list all the things you have achieved in your business during the past year: perhaps you have a new website; maybe you’ve you’re your first public presentation; did you design and new product or create a new service?
Write everything down on paper, on an iPad, or even in a tool like Evernote. Don’t lose them because when you do the same exercise next year you’ll be astounded at how far you have come.
- Set Your Objectives and Targets for 2017
Use the content of your Review, Reflect and Record process to set realistic objectives and achievable targets for your business in 2017. Hey presto! You have a plan
Remember, objectives are the overarching aims for the year: more customers, increased turnover. Your targets are the measurable indicators of your success, so the objective of more customers becomes 10 more customers and increased turnover could be a 20% increase in turnover.
An objective without a measurable target is a wish!
- Create Your Action Plan for 2017
Planning is not time-consuming; it’s essential. It won’t take you away from your business; it’s an integral activity in your business. Planning is a fundamental part of your job as a business owner.
Once you’ve identified your objectives and targets, it’s time to create an action plan. This is the list of things you need to do to make sure you achieve your objectives and targets.
- Break Your Action Plan Down into Small, Achievable, Daily Activities
Use your action plan to break your activities down into smaller, achievable ‘To Do’ lists. If you ever start work in the morning without a clearly defined, achievable list of activities you have to complete that day it is unlikely you are planning properly.
Follow these six steps before the end of 2016 and you will move seamlessly into a more organised – and profitable – 2017.
Business Mentor and Trainer