It’s finally here. A new year and a great opportunity for a new start for your business. Hopefully, you took some time during the slow holiday period to review your office setup, to clean out and reorganize your business files, and get your business accounting in order to prepare for your upcoming tax filing in the spring.
Now, this first week of January, before your workflow gets really busy with all of your current and new clients and upcoming projects, is the best time for you to complete your business planning—the framework with which you will work on and accomplish all of your business goals. Take at least half of one day in the next week to “Review and Refine”:
- Review and refine the vision you designed for your business. Is your vision in writing? Does it reflect who you are, what you do, and how your services can benefit your clients? Is it clear, succinct, and just 1-3 sentences? Do you have it memorized?
- Review and refine your business and marketing plans. In a future post in this space, we will provide you with more details about writing business and marketing plans, but at this point, if you haven’t already done so, you can formulate a one-page business plan that outlines your overall business goals, your overall financial plan for every quarter of this year, and your overall marketing plan and strategy. This one-page business plan can, at this point, be an outline for your full business plan. You can also make a tentative outline of the marketing activities you will put into place every quarter. Depending on your business, your marketing activities may change with the seasons or any future plans you have for launching new products or services.
- Review and refine your business goals. In your business vision statement, you stated an overall picture of what you want your business to be. Your goals support your vision statement, but they must be much more specific. It is said that a goal without a date is just a dream. For your goals to work for you, they must be “SMART”: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, and Time-based. In a future post, we will go into more detail about SMART goals, but during your “Review and Refine” session, first outline in writing the 5-10 major goals you want to achieve this calendar year.
- Review and refine the actionable tasks and metrics that match your goals. Each goal from #3 should have at least 3-5 tasks that will help you to reach the goal. Each actionable task should also have a way to measure the task and ultimately measure how well you achieved the goal.
- Review and refine the first four steps above. Make sure that your vision, your business plan outline, your marketing plan outline, and your goals and actionable tasks are reasonable and realistic for your business and your work-style.
Get that cup of coffee or tea, find a quiet time and place, and write the foundation for your business success for the new year! You’ve probably heard the phrase: “Plan your work and work your plan!” It’s true. Taking the time to plan first ensure that your work will be productive and match your vision and your goals.