I know, I know … how can we be thinking about the next 12 months when it’s the busiest time of the year for most of us? Well, now is the perfect time to be thinking about how to leverage your business for the coming year. It’s time to start thinking strategically about the year ahead.
Here’s a list of 10 steps you can take right now that will pay dividends in the next year:
- You are responsible for the direction of your business. Now is the time to revisit your life goals, your purpose, and your innermost driving force. Michael Gerber in his book The E-Myth Revisited calls this your Primary Aim. Your Primary Aim is about leading a life that is consistent with your core values and beliefs. With a solid Primary Aim, you will build a business that serves and supports your life. Does your Primary Aim still “ring true?” Are you satisfied that you are remaining faithful to your best self?
- If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there! Think about what your business will look like when it is fully developed. This is what we refer to as the Strategic Objective for your business. With a clearly defined Strategic Objective, everything your company and your employees do will move the company toward that vision. What strategies could you develop for the following year that will get you that much closer to your Strategic Objective?
- Look at the numbers. What are the statistics you can measure that will tell you if you are on track to achieve your Strategic Objective? We call these Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs for short. It’s critical to the health of your business that you fully understand and use these indicators. Which indicators do you want to focus on next year? Which indicators-if systemised-will help achieve next year’s goals?
- Meet with your accountant. Set up an appointment to review earnings and projected profit/loss for your business. Consider tax-minimising strategies like: an advance payment of next year’s bills, or equipment purchases. Will you pay year-end bonuses? What about IRD accounts?
- Budget, budget, budget. Budgeting requires you to think about your basic objectives, systems and resources on a regular basis. It keeps you current with what’s really going on. It’s critical that you establish a budget for next year. You could even plan quarterly budgets, to allow for a more detailed view of your revenues and spending.
- Cash is king. Cash is to your business what fuel is to your car-if you run out, you stop. Build a cash plan that will help meet your goals. Just like with the budget, you might want to identify quarterly cash plans to allow for a micro view.
- Work on your time management. Start to plan your strategic work for the year. Build a strategic calendar by booking appointments with the necessary people (including yourself-see #8) who will help you reach your new goals. Make an effort to book and confirm your meeting schedule through at least the first quarter of the coming year.
- Schedule strategic business development work. This may sound a lot like #7, but I’m trying to make a point here. You absolutely must schedule strategic time with yourself, if you want your business to survive and thrive. Are you a better strategic thinker in the mornings or in the afternoons? What days of the week are you more likely to get strategic work done? Be sure to allow yourself enough time for any “catch up” work.
- Create a to-do and a not-to-do list for your first working week of the next 12 months. Taking the first step is often the hardest. So why not start now with a to-do list for (as an example) Monday, February 1st through Friday, February 5th. Jump start that first week with a clear commitment to change.
- Set your goals for the next 12 months. After you have reviewed and completed the nine steps above, determine which goals you need to complete in the next year. How many sales do you need to reach your revenue goals? How many prospects do you need to talk to in order to make that many sales? How many advertisements do you need to do in order to get that many prospects? How many systems do you need in your business to reach your goals? Which ones? Prioritise your needs and your actions based on the Strategic Objective for your business. Make a personal commitment to reaching your goals and taking the necessary actions by scheduling what needs to be done and by when.
Remember; this is a golden opportunity to start fresh with a new 12 months. Make a commitment to yourself to make this year your best yet.
Why not get started right now by sharing with us the top three things you’re absolutely committed to do as you prepare for the upcoming Year?
And if you need help with accountability, if you want to be sure that the next year won’t become just another year of good intentions and little change, consider enrolling in one of our programmes. We want to help you succeed!