This time of year is full of magic — the changing of seasons and welcoming of the Winter Solstice, snow beginning to fall, and twinkling lights and crackling fireplaces all make this time of year wonderful. This time of year is also when we start envisioning and committing to plans for the new year.
Whether it’s business plans, personal plans, or both, my preferred course of action is using these tips to help me decide what I want to bring to life and commit to action to make it happen. Without further windup, here’s my step-by-step plan to prepare your business for the new year with smart goals that your soul can’t wait to fulfill!
Reflection is the first step to prepare your business for the new year. I begin every new year plan by reviewing what has happened over the last 12 months. Without knowing where we’ve been and learning from the past, we can’t reasonably expect to create solid plans for the future, now can we? No, we cannot.
First, start with qualitative data. I’m sure you, like most of us, want your business to support your quality of life. And I bet you have some clear ideas what a good quality of life means to you! Check in with yourself and reflect on your goals for the last year. Ask yourself:
Now, let’s bring some quantitative data in. Look at your sales numbers, website analytics, email stats, ad accounts, and everywhere else you were active. And, this is important, don’t judge what you see. Just gather the information.
The goal here isn’t to beat ourselves up about what we perceive we “haven’t done” or what “didn’t work.” Rather, the goal is to collect data points to drive the strategy for next year’s plan with more insight and alignment.
Now that you’ve reviewed your goals and you have your numbers in front of you, the next step to prepare your business for the new year is to assign meaning to the data.
While I never like to say “what worked” and “what didn’t” in a blanket statement (because everyone’s idea of pass/fail is different), there are some questions you can ask yourself to help you discern what you want to bring with you into the new year as is, what you want to revise, and what you want to let go of.
Have you heard the 80/20 rule (AKA the Pareto principle)? 80% of your results come from 20% of the things you do. For example: 80% of your revenue comes from just 20% of your services. If you had 10 services (far too many, but that’s a post for another day!), the Pareto principle assumes that 2 of them would make up the bulk (or 80%) of your revenue.
Knowing that, and knowing both your numbers and what your soul wants, you can look at your data with your goals in mind and discern where you want to spend the most of your time as you’re building your plan for the new year.
For argument’s sake, let’s say 90% of your referrals came from email marketing, but you only spent 10% of your energy there, it’s safe to assume that you are getting a satisfactory return rate for your energy investment.
On the other hand, if you discovered that you’re spending 50% of your ad budget on Facebook yet every lead that’s come in from there has contributed nothing to your revenue, you could decide to let go of that ad stream or you could hire support to pivot your plan to increase the potential return on your time and energy investment.
Preparing your business for the new year wouldn’t be as much fun if you didn’t envision what you wanted and then commit, in a plan, how you intend to achieve your goals!
Since you’ve done the work to discover and discern what did and didn’t meet your expectations and what fills your soul while also filling your bank account, you can make a plan to do more of what work and that you love.
Pave the way for your desires to come to you by envisioning yourself doing what you love, working on what fulfills you, and having a steady stream of potential customers who can’t wait to work with you in that way.
Claim what you want right now and commit to doing what you need to do (based on your qualitative and quantitative data) to reach the people who need you the most with your business! When you follow these five steps, you’ll prepare your business for the new year with heart, soul, and a tangible strategy!