As we approach the end of another year that has flown by our thoughts inexorably drift to next year and if our business will be better than it has been this year. We ask questions like…what worked this year? What didn’t? What caused me to lose sleep? What caused most stress? Did I achieve what I wanted and if I didn’t what did I miss and why? What will next year be like?
And when you do think about next year you naturally think about the things you can do to make it better. What can I do to…
- Attract more customers?
- Attract fewer higher paying customers?
- Hold on to them?
- Have less problems land on my desk?
- Increase revenue and profit?
We all do this…its human nature to think about how to solve something with actions – do this and that will be better. But whatever these things are they are unlikely to work because it’s not the place to start…
To really make sure that the actions you’re going to take in 2015 to make it a better year than 2014. Start with you. Start with your mindset.
Too many business owners plan their goals and the things they’re going to do to achieve them then as soon as they’re back they get sucked into the day-to-day challenges of the business. Before they know it spring has sprung and any thought of that plan becomes a fading dream.
Your business depends on you to make it work, to make it better. Before you start to think about what you need to do, take a step back and resolve that 2015 is going to be your best year yet. Get your mindset right and decide that you’re going to eliminate the big problems that held your business back in 2014. Decide that you’re going have more time with family and friends and your business not suffer because of it. Decide that your business is going to work better, achieve more and not cause you stress and worry.
Decide that you’re going to put your business on a path that achieves all these things and becomes bigger, better or whatever it is you decide you want it to be.
Decide that you will set out knowing what you need to do to make this happen. Decide that you will define exactly where you want to get your business and that you will create a plan that will get you there. Decide that you will stay focused on this plan and keep your business on the course you have set.
Once you have resolved to do this you should start to feel excited about next year – feel a new sense of drive and determination that you are going to do this and make your business better than it’s ever been.
That is your starting point.
Only when your mindset is right; only when you feel this new energy and drive to make a big step forward and resolve that 2015 will not be just another year but the year you made everything change for the better. Only then should you think about what you need to do to make this happen.
Start with the end in mind. In this case the end is the next stage you want your business to be at. This stage is a huge stepping stone towards your long-term vision. This huge step up is your Strategic Destination and could take 2 or 3 years to reach. But reach it you will.
What does that Strategic Destination look like? Define it and describe exactly how you intend to reach it. What will you do, for whom, how will you do it and within what timeframe? See it, get excited about it, picture being at that destination, standing on top of that mountain you’ve spent the last 2 or 3 years climbing. How much better, bigger, stronger is your business? How much more time do you have to live your life? How much happier are you?
Once you’ve defined this destination, look at where your business is now. There is no point setting a destination that your business isn’t able to reach. Are there things you need to do in order to reach your destination? Are there weaknesses you need to strengthen, risks you need to mitigate for so they don’t knock you off course?
2015 might not be a year of higher revenue but a year of strengthening, a year of preparing for the journey that will get your business to this destination in say 2017. And that’s absolutely fine provided it earns enough and 12 months later is ready to make the journey.
Now connect the two end points. Create the route you’re going to take, the priorities in your business that you need to focus on that will keep it on course, the milestones (your quarterly and annual goals) that you will reach on the way to your destination and how you intend to reach them (your objectives and tactics).
Now that you have your map and have detailed your plan, you need to decide how you will make sure it’s implemented and how you will maintain course. This comes down to you and your qualities that will keep you focused, determined, disciplined and the efficiencies you make (systems and processes) that will keep your business flowing and allow you to step back see the course you’re on and make adjustments if necessary.
If all this feels a bit overwhelming, I have some good news. I’ve created a course called, Small Business Strategy for Success, which will show you exactly how to do this.
I started my own journey to making a massive leap in my business a year ago. I created a new brand, Your Business Foundation, which better reflected the help I gave my clients. I resolved to help more business owners achieve their aims by creating products that will guide them and resolved to create 2 major products his year.
I decided to make my first commercial product a book. I started in the New Year and wrote Your Business Foundation in 3 months and, after editing and re-writes, I launched the Kindle version in May. (The paperback became available this month.) After recovering from that and whilst still giving hands-on help to clients I mapped out and created an online course comprising training videos, guides and tools to help business owners build their business on a strong foundation.
I’m so excited about 2015 and have milestones mapped out that take me closer to my strategic destination. 2014 was that transformational year for me and my business.
If I hadn’t resolved to do this a year ago, if I hadn’t got my attitude and mindset right then there would still be Anchorage Consulting, which was doing very well, but no huge transformation to my business that would take it to levels only previously dreamed of.
Now it’s your turn. Resolve that 2015 will be the year that you transform your business. This holiday, when people are snoozing around the TV or watching repeats or soaps that do nothing but suck away your time, have a journal and pen, think about where you want your business to be and get those creative juices flowing.
Make 2015 the year you look back on as when everything changed for the better.
To Your Success.