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Planning Ahead for Next Year

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Photo source: iwona_kellie

A few weeks ago, I blogged about taking time off and how difficult that can be for anyone -- especially small business owners and work-from-home entrepreneurs.

However at the end of every calendar year, I always like to take some time off -- not only to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, but also to reflect on the past year, set new goals, and plan for the year ahead. I think that without these specific goals in mind -- and on paper -- I am much less likely to thrive, succeed, and grow as a business and as a person.

So as another year comes to an end, I encourage you to take some time to think about some of the goals and plan you have for your own business. Here are a few tips to get started!

1. Look Back at the Past Year.

  • What worked really well?
  • What didn't work?
  • What area, product, or service generated the most income?
  • What generated the least income?
  • What do you for sure want to keep doing next year?
  • What could you do without?
  • Do you need to make any staffing changes?
  • Is there something you wish you would have done but didn't do?

By first looking back over the last year {and other previous years} you can quickly and easily get a better sense of what worked and what didn't. Based on your findings you'll either want to continue to focus your efforts on what is already working, or try to tweak what didn't work as well.

I'd also encourage you to go over this list with an objective person -- or someone who is not closely involved with your business. They might be able to see something you're missing, find a gap or hole in your plan, offer suggestions that you didn't think of, and tell you if your plan might be a little too lofty! I have found the opinions of "outsiders" to be invaluable as I work to grow my business. Some of my most profitable ideas were not my own!

2. Look Ahead to Next Year.

  • What are your main goals and objectives for the year ahead?
  • Do you want to increase sales or would you rather work less and simply maintain sales?
  • What new and exciting things do you want to do?
  • Will you make any significant branding or logo changes?
  • What about your social media and web presence?
  • Do you have any plans for expansion?
  • What new products or services will you launch?
  • What will you do to keep your brand fresh and new?

The list of questions you could ask yourself is virtually endless, however it's important to set these goals and plan ahead, because you are SO much more likely to meet you goals if they are well thought-out and written down ahead of time... which leads me to my next point!

3. Make A Written List.

I'm so completely convinced that ALL goals should be written down and displayed in a prominent location so that you see them often. I've seen it work time and time again in my own life, in my husband's life, and in my clients' lives -- so there is no changing my mind!

Once you have a general plan and some well thought-out goals for next year, please WRITE THEM DOWN!

Keep them at your desk, on your computer, in your email, or even on a bulletin board so you look at them all the time. It's amazing how you will start to sub-consciously make decisions that will help you reach your goals just because you see them so many times each day!

4. Adjust As Necessary.

Just because you make goals NOW, doesn't mean that those goals and plans can't ever change until next year. If you get a huge client and have way too much work, you might have to hire more employees now instead of later... that's a good thing! On the other hand, you may experience illness, or personal reasons why you can't work as much and therefore have to scale back a bit and change your goals.
There are so many different variables that could {and probably will} alter your plans, but that's normal. As long as you have goals and plans that you're working towards, a simple change or adjustment shouldn't be that big of a deal.

Goals and plans should NOT stress you out, but rather serve as tools to motivate and encourage you to keep moving forward {which is the goal of most businesses!!} Get excited about planning for the year ahead and start thinking about all the different ways you can grow and change to help your business become even more profitable!

What are your business goals for the year ahead?

Comments

Jeff j ibrahim December 27, 2012

I love this,thank you thank you thank you so much.

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