As we approach the end of the year, NOW is the perfect time to take a look back at the last 12 months and take stock of what’s working and what’s not working in your business. Were you thrilled by your success or disappointed in your business? What were your greatest successes? What aspects of your business do you wish you were stronger in?
If you want to have an even better year in 2012, make it a priority to set aside some time for some strategic planning. This is a “best practice” for ALL successful entrepreneurs, and will work for you too, even if you’re not the “planning” sort. Before you get distracted by the upcoming season, take some time RIGHT NOW to outline what you are going to accomplish in the coming year.
Here’s a simple, three-step process developing your strategic plan:
- Set up goals for the New Year by evaluating the past year. Unless your business is brand new, you likely set some goals for 2011. It’s a great time to evaluate just how well you met those goals, or didn’t. The key in looking back to the past is in looking at it objectively. Now is not the time to beat up on yourself for missed opportunities or regret not taking steps that you should have. It’s important to review the past six to twelve months. Take stock of what is going well in your business and praise yourself for a job well done! This will give you the confidence and clarity you need to make necessary changes. Based on your achievements in the last year, what EXACTLY do you want to achieve in 2012?
- Look for gaps that can be filled in your marketing. As you review what DID work that will give you some insight into which strategies you want to pursue going forward. Remember you don’t have to do 92 different strategies to be successful. You only need to do a few things that work consistently. Marketing consistently is one of the biggest challenges solo service professionals face. In order to keep your pipeline full of new prospects, it’s absolutely essential that you take part in marketing activities on a daily basis, even if just for 30 minutes. If you’ve had this struggle, setting up a marketing system for your business should be priority number one for the coming year. Other goals can include creating systems for handling new client work, setting up a system for requesting referrals or taking steps to set up strategic partnerships.
- Map out a simple plan and get the help and support that you need. Once you’ve identified your goals for the coming year and have identified where you need to make changes, it’s time to create a plan for making those changes. What specific steps do you need to take in order to make those changes? Start by create a simple 90 day plan to get started so you can see exactly what needs to be done, and when. If you need help creating your plan, I recommend you join me for my upcoming Create Your Money Map training and I’ll walk you through the process step by step. If your changes require support or assistance from anyone else, it’s time to get that help in place. Hire a graphic designer to take care of that website update. Invest in time with a business coach to help you create a better business. Reach out to a virtual assistant to help you focus on the most important parts of your business.
By evaluating the past few months and creating a new plan based on your previous gaps, you can create a stronger, more profitable business. Don’t wait for January 1st to start making New Year’s resolutions. Now is the best time to make plans for the future so you can hit 2012 with a running start.
What does 2012 have in store for you? Do tell by sharing your initial thoughts about what you want to accomplish in 2012 below. I would love to be inspired by your aspirations!
- Congratulate yourself on your achievements in the last year. When you’re in the middle of projects, it’s sometimes hard to see how far you’ve come. Make a list of ways that your business has flourished this year. Use this list to set new benchmarks for next year.
- Look for gaps in your plans in the last year. What specific changes can you make in the next year in order to have a more successful business?
- Map out steps you’ll take over the next 90 days to prepare for the New Year and give your business a head start.
- Reach out to others who can help you achieve your goals.