A New Year is upon us, and with it come opportunities for change and growth in ourselves and our businesses. The past year has been challenging in many ways, with economic upheaval as a dominant theme in the national news, and many small business owners struggling to stay afloat.
Whatever way we have come out of the past year, the arrival of the New Year asks that each of us take a look at our successes and failures, strive for improvement, and embrace opportunity out of adversity. It doesn't take much, really, to make the next year a great one. Following a few simple action steps can set your business in a positive direction.
1. Set reasonable goals. Sure, with the New Year comes the desire to be ambitious, hit the ground running, execute big ideas and make sweeping changes in ourselves and our businesses. However, a few short months after we resolve to "succeed beyond our wildest dreams", we become overwhelmed by pressure, and peter out. Give yourself a gift this year by setting achievable goals that you have a fighting chance to accomplish. Each smaller goal you reach this year will boost your confidence, and take you one step closer to your larger aspirations.
2. Reevaluate the past year. Give yourself and your business an honest month-by-month assessment. Did you follow your business and marketing plans? What goals did you reach? Where did you fall short? What did you enjoy most? What do you never want to do again? Put all the details on paper to refer to as you...
3. Adjust your marketing and business plans. Based on what you have learned from your assessments, what changes will you incorporate into your business and marketing plans? If you found yourself being blindsided by glitches or missing last-minute opportunities last year, you may want to consider evaluating and updating your plans on a monthly or weekly basis. This will give you more control over your ability to jump on opportunities when they arise, or avoid problems before they happen.
4. Schedule everything (vacations, biz workshops/events). Taking a few hours now to fill your calendar with milestones and important events brings the big picture into focus, helps you budget your time with less stress, and helps curtail procrastination. It also ensures that the time you devote to yourself, your family, and your personal development is not an afterthought.
5. Bring on a team to make this the best year ever. If you want to grow your business, you really owe it to yourself to hire talent - VAs, copywriters, web designers, IT folks - on a contract basis. Hiring contractors is an affordable way to expand your businesses offerings, and at the same time, focus on the big picture while delegating the details.
As we wrap up the "old year", taking a little time to follow these steps can ensure that in the coming year, you're paving the way to a brighter, less stressful, and more prosperous future.
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