Setting up for success in the new year
Ways to position your small business for success
Success is the residue of planning. By failing to plan, you are planning to fail.
— Benjamin Franklin
The new year is a perfect time to step back, reflect on the past year, reevaluate, and recharge some areas of your business to set it up for success.
Every business and professional, regardless of level or position, can get organized, set goals to keep themselves motivated and productive throughout the year.
Getting your business and yourself set up now with a plan of action puts you in a great position to reach your goals.
Here are some ways you could position your small business for success in the new year-
Perform a business audit The outside experts can also help challenge existing internal biases, evaluate and update current business systems and processes, offer fresh, objective perspectives and suggest innovative solutions.
The first step towards setting up for success in the new year is understanding how the business performed in the previous year.
Start by examining what worked and what did not work this past year. Is there anything you did that worked exceptionally well or exceptionally not so well? For the things that went well see if you can continue them or modify them to achieve even better results. For things that did not go so well either eliminate or evaluate if changes can be made that might yield better results.
Which areas are growing successfully, and which areas might need more support?
Are there important areas of your business you can tap into that you may have neglected like customer retention or marketing?
Perform a thorough audit throughout the entire business structure to see where the company is at, so you can have a strong grasp of where you want it to go.
Reconnect With Your Vision
What does your dream business look like in five years, in ten years?
Research shows that when we envision future possibilities, we activate different brain networks than when we work on short-term goals and solve problems.
Having a vision is the big predictor for achieving meaningful change. We overestimate what we can do in a year; we underestimate what we can do in ten years.
Identify your business goals and priorities
Once the audit is complete, identify your priorities for the upcoming year. Setting goals is certainly valuable in business and prioritizing those goals can ensure they actually get done.
Where do you want the business to be by the end of the coming year?
Don’t be afraid to dream big! Set big, audacious and inspiring goals for the year. Get specific and write them down.
What are your business goals for the coming year?
· Do you want to increase income?
· Create a new product?
· Grow your team?
· Outsource tasks?
· Expand business to new markets?
Once you have a few big goals in mind, map out the steps it will take to accomplish them by working backwards. This exercise will be extremely useful as you move through the new year to help stay on track with your goals and priorities.
Create a plan for your business
Now that you’ve set the big, audacious goals, it’s time to make the plan to reach them by mapping out exactly what it will take to reach that goal.
· What needs to happen each month?
· What tasks will need to get done?
· Who will need to be hired?
· What changes will need to take place?
You would never set out on a journey without a map to get you to your desired destination, would you? Why should your business journey be any different?
Know that this is just a road map that needs to be revisited throughout the year and modified based on the results you are seeing, but it is a good place to start so you don’t get to the end of the year and wonder why you did not meet your goals for the year.
Set a budget for your business
With the start of the new year, now is the time to project your sales and estimate your expenses for the next twelve months. This will give you an idea of the things you can include in the above plan that will keep you on the right financial track for the year. It will also help you to set revenue goals that you and your staff can work towards.
Evaluate your business systems, procedures and staffing
It is easy, as a small business owner, to keep doing things the way you always have because it seems simpler and faster than evaluating if there is a better more efficient way to do it. The start of a new year is a great reason to evaluate how things are done in your business, the tools that are used to get things done and the employees you have doing them.
· With all the new technology out there, are there tools you can use to save time or make certain tasks easier?
· Does your equipment need to be upgraded?
· Do you have an employee who is not well suited for their role or is not a good fit?
Some of these things may require you to invest a little bit right now, however, in the end, they may save you money, time and headaches.
Outsource or eliminate what’s not working.
What are some tasks in your business (or life!) that could either be outsourced or eliminated altogether? What are some things that just are not bringing in the results?
When you outsource or eliminate such tasks, you create room for the other more important activities that may allow you to focus on your strengths and that help your business grow.
Get an outsider’s perspective
It is very easy to get tunnel vision in your business and only see what is going on in front of you.
Few business owners, no matter what their background, have the breadth of experience and expertise needed to face all the challenges of running a successful business. They have to either not focus on growth and accept mediocrity or they could rely on guidance and support from outside experts who fill the knowledge gaps in their team allowing their small business to leverage specialized expertise viewed through a fresh, unbiased lens to help them with their business challenges and needs.
The outside experts can be the secret weapon a small business can utilize to gain the right expertise, at the right time and at the right cost to help them get ready to scale their business to the next level before they are able to hire all the right people and teams of their own.
The outside experts can also help challenge existing internal biases, evaluate and update current business systems and processes, offer fresh, objective perspectives and suggest innovative solutions.
Make time in the new year to seek input and support from outside experts who can give you a different perspective about your business and help you take it to the next level and gain the outsider advantage, a competitive edge to help them go further, faster.
Check in with the team
As the CEO or leader in a small business, it’s important to check in with team members, particularly at a time like the new year, when the team might be overwhelmed, stressed or even might consider switching jobs. This is the time to check in with them, empathize with their concerns and encourage their talents. The team plays a critical role in any company’s success, which means if you want 2022 to be a great year for business, then your team’s wellbeing and motivation levels must be a high priority.
Schedule important meetings and business activities
As a small business owner, you wear many hats and there are often not enough hours in the day making it easy for small things to get overlooked.
Beginning of the new year is a great time to take a few minutes and schedule important ongoing meetings and business activities in your calendar such as financial reviews, reach out to important customers or time to check in with your employees.
Set up your finances for the new year
New year is the perfect time to make sure everything is set up to accurately track your finances for the year. It will help you know the true financial standings of your company throughout the year. You will also need the information easily accessible and accurate come tax time or when dealing with a financial institution to secure a line of credit.
Connect with your most valuable customers
Your best brand ambassadors are happy and satisfied customers. They are your best source for referrals of highly qualified new customers. The holidays and the start to the new year are a great excuse to take the time to identify who your most valuable customers are and let them know that you truly do value their business.
Update your website and social media profiles
It’s easy to forget about your website and social media profiles once they’re set up. However, it is important to make sure they’re always up to date, accurate and engaging with information about your company. This also helps your business perform well in online searches.
Make your reading list.
Did you know that the average person reads less than one book per year? And that the average successful CEO reads more than 60 books per year?
And while those CEOs may have more time for learning, they are committed to growth and learning and that’s how they got to where they are.
What books would you like to read this year? How will you make more time for learning this year? Perhaps listen to audio books or podcasts while you work out or during a commute?
Carve out YOU time on your calendar.
Goal setting is important, but prioritizing your self-care and development comes first, as this lays the foundation for achieving your goals.
As you are looking at the year ahead, schedule some time for you on your calendar. How will you care for your overall wellbeing this year? How will you ensure that you and your team are motivated and supported?
Also, identify what you need to eliminate in your work life that does not serve you well and is not aligned with your values and the strategies that empower your growth.
Once you’ve worked through some these steps, you’ve put yourself and your business on a path to success in the coming year. Now you can step into the new year with confidence and enthusiasm, knowing that you’re well poised for a productive year!
As James Caan said, “Success is the result of clear goals, unshakable confidence, proper planning, enthusiastic action and consistent persistence.”