2018 – A Time to Reflect and Plan
Hands up if this year has flown by? I can’t quite believe that 2018 is drawing to an end and 2019 is just around the corner. Now as anyone who knows me will confirm I’m not the type of person that does sentimentality or reminisces. I firmly believe in moving forward, but there are lessons to be learned from looking back over the year and using that information to plan for the next.
The Importance of Reflection
Most of us in business focus on what we are going to do next, taking our plans forwards, developing new services or products and so on. However, as our businesses grow, we will make decisions which are good and right for the business and ones that perhaps we wouldn’t do again, we’re only human after all. So, it is equally important to review all your activities and initiatives to help formulate your plans for next year.
One of the first things I would suggest looking at would be the profitability of your business. Specifically, what service or product generated you the most revenue? Ensuring this remains front and centre in your marketing strategy is essential, or maybe it is time to tweak it slightly to keep your offering fresh. Clothing retailers do this all the time, creating variety through colour rather than completely re-designing a whole new range.
What Didn't Work & Why?
Also consider what didn’t work or didn’t generate significant income. It is sometimes wise to “spring clean” your offering – just because you have always promoted a specific product or service, if it isn’t generating you money, perhaps now is the time to stop offering it. Restaurants that have countless dishes on the menu risk compromising on their quality, as it is nigh on impossible to keep all ingredients fresh on the off chance that a customer wants to have a certain dish. Better to have a core menu, and deliver those dishes well. Your business is the same, so an annual review of what isn’t popular can help you become more efficient, and ultimately more profitable.
And this may seem an odd thing to suggest, but ask yourself this - what have you enjoyed doing this year? It would be fair to say that most of us are not working for the fun of it, but is important to think about what you liked doing. You are far more likely to do a task or job well if you enjoy what you are doing. And similarly, if there were things that you did this year that you hated, consider how you could address this. Is it something you could outsource out to a virtual assistant maybe (hint hint)? I personally don’t enjoy the accounts process, so I have recently started using Quikbooks for my accounting. It saves me time, and has made a task I previously disliked far easier. I also get losts of great stats from it which I love even more!
Time to plan Having reviewed the year, it is now time to think about next year. I know, I know, we still have the bedlam of Christmas and New Year to get through, but better to hit the ground running in 2019.
The changing of the year is an ideal time for a fresh approach, and after all that festive cheese and wine, getting on with taking your business to the next level could be the perfect hangover cure.
Set yourself 3 goals. 3 things that you want to achieve in 2019.
Having clear, well-defined goals benefits your business in 4 ways:
• enables your business to grow • achieve your objectives • provide purpose and direction • enable you to work smarter not harder
Don’t go mad and think you have to develop some weighty strategy document detailing precise aims and goals. Some very simple goals are all that is required – challenging enough to stretch you a little, but not so challenging that they are unattainable as that is just demotivating. Also make them measurable, I use the SMART method. “Make more money” is pretty obvious but is a pretty vague statement. “Increase turnover by 10%” or “win 10 new customers by July 2019” prompts you to think about the How?
Measure Your Progress
Remember to measure your progress, create check points and if possible, get an accountably partner, this could work both ways. And the best bit of course is that when you achieve your goal it’s necessary to have a reward. So remember at the same time when setting your goals, to set the reward too.
Keep it simple is the key message here. Your 3 goals don’t all have to be business orientated either. You could for example commit to eating more fruit, drink less coffee or paint your office space.
All of these things could benefit you, and if you are happier, then your business should also benefit.
So, what would you like your business to achieve in 2019 and how are you going to get there? Now is the time to create those goals and make things happen!
Wishing you and your business and happy and healthy 2019!