The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on one’s life and business. While we’re all anxious to start off the New Year on the right foot, don’t skip a vital part of the business planning process. Take time to look back before you look ahead.
Take Time to Reflect
Reflect on your accomplishments during the past year. Did you grow your revenue? Add new customers? Turn sporadic customers into loyal clients? Hit key milestones? Reach your goals?
Look back at things that didn’t go as planned. Did you lose a major client? Have a customer dispute payment? Run into a nightmare project? Spend too much time on non-revenue activities?
Measure the progress of your goals. First of all, did you set goals? Did you reach them in the allotted time frame? What helped you achieve them or hindered your progress? Upon further review, you may need to alter your goals or set more appropriate goals in the first place.
Related Reading: Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions
Look Ahead to 2017
Where do you want your business to go? Did you have success with a new product or service this year that you’d like to feature? Do you want to focus on delighting your current clients to deepen those relationships and grow with them? Are you looking to bring on new customers and expand your business? Is a merger or acquisition in your sights?
In order to achieve your business dreams, you need to create a road map. This is where setting SMART goals comes into play.
Your goals should be:
Inc. Magazine has a worthy read on how to set business goals if you’d like to learn more about this topic. As Herm Edwards famously said, “a goal without a plan is a wish.” He may have been a football coach at the time, but his thought process applies to business and life just as much as sports.
Keep in mind that goals aren’t permanent once they’re set. It’s helpful to review them regularly and adjust accordingly. Agility is a tool for small businesses to use to their advantage, so don’t feel locked in to current goals if your situation changes. Take time every week to focus on your business’s big picture and plan your road map, rerouting if necessary. It can be a breath of fresh air to step back from the daily grind to look at where you’re heading and where you’ve been.
Do you set SMART goals for your business?
How often do you focus on planning for your business?
How do you encourage yourself to keep your business planning sessions?
We wish all small businesses a wonderful holiday season! Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.
CCC’s Chief Planner,