If you want to make the next 12 months more successful, more profitable, and more productive than the last 12 months, these ten strategies are for you.
By the way, this list isn’t just for a new calendar year – you can revisit this list at any time and create a real turning point in your business if you’re willing to reboot, reinvigorate, and reimagine your business success.
- List the three most important objectives for your business over the next year. These should be critical “big picture” accomplishments that will lead to profits and future achievement.
- For each objective listed above, identify your responsibility in achieving the objective. WHAT will you do? HOW will you do it? WHEN will you do it?
- Be crystal clear in separating strategies (how and why items) from tactics (what and when items) and use “Verb-noun-date” format to create specific action steps and put them on your calendar.
- Don’t think of the year as a whole. Break it down to monthly metrics and put quarterly goal-planning reviews on your calendar so you can adjust the dials on your plan, measure results, and take a strategic look at your marketing, sales, and business development activities every 90 days while keeping a close eye on results (profits, clients, projects, revenue) every 30 days.
- Don’t go it alone. Remember, lone wolves starve to death. Think of partners, allies, referral sources, influencers and joint venture partners who can help you leapfrog over obstacles and who are a great supplement and complement to your own products and services. Contact them and build (or grow) your relationship with them so you can collaborate more closely – starting right now.
- Write down a list of professional development goals for the next 12 months. What do you want to learn, do, or become as a business owner? Go to conferences? Gain additional certifications or professional designations? Speak more? Get more articles published? Be specific and put these activities on your calendar so you make sure they happen.
- Write down a list of personal goals for the next 12 months. What do you want to accomplish for yourself and how would you like to grow personally? Spend more time with your partner? Stay connected with your kids as they grow up and/or pursue their college or post-college adventures? Dig deeper into a special hobby or sport? Drop 10 pounds? Run a 5K? More golf? More vacation time? Where? When? With whom? Map it out to make it happen!
- Don’t get distracted. Shiny object syndrome has a powerful pull on most entrepreneurs and business owners. Stay focused on the big picture goals you set in Step 1 above – and then relentlessly ask yourself for every new idea, initiative or project, “Does this support one of my three goals? If so, how?” And don’t let yourself off the hook as easily as you might have done in the past. If it’s a no, it’s a no. Metaphorically speaking, stop opening up hot dog stands in the parking lot and redouble your efforts to make your gourmet restaurant thrive!
- Live out of your calendar, not your inbox. Plan your day – what MUST get done and WHEN? Chunk your day down into blocks and assign specific tasks to those blocks – Phone calls, emails, client tasks, whatever it is YOU want to do that will move you closer to your GOALS. Keep that calendar under your nose. All day. Make it your default screen. Hide, minimize or (gasp) close your email until “check email” pops up on your calendar.
- Breathe. Relax. You got this. Any time you’re creating an inflection point in your business, it can be scary. You’re letting go of the old – letting go of what no longer works or what no longer serves you well. And you’re embracing the new – the untried, the uncomfortable, perhaps even what seems risky. But the biggest risks of all are stagnation, arrogance, or complacency. Remember: a bend in the road is never a dead end… unless you fail to turn.
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