We’re coming into the last month of the year and approaching its end frighteningly quickly. And regardless of whether our fiscal year ends in December or at another time, psychologically most of us naturally feel that we are approaching the end of the annual cycle and will soon be starting of a new one.
Because of that this, the last quarter is probably the most important quarter of the year and it will have an enormous impact on your following year. Here’s why.
The fourth quarter of the year is of course the final race to the finish line. But there is now little you can do to affect your end-of-year revenue.
So keep your business moving but switch your attention to what you plan to do with your business next year.
The mistake most business owners make is to focus only on the approaching finish line and wait until the New year before deciding – and hopefully planning – the year ahead.
This results in lost time at the start of the year and hence often a rushed strategic planning process resulting in an inferior strategy plan.
When the New Year begins you want to fire off the starting blocks as quickly as you can. To do that you ideally need to have your strategy mapped out by the end of this year.
So how to you prepare for next year? Start with your mindset.
Make the big decision that next year is going to be your best year yet. Resolve that you’re going to eliminate the big problems that held your business back in this year. Decide that your business is going to work better, achieve more and no longer create the stress and worry it has in the past.
Decide that you’re going to put your business on a path that achieves all these things and becomes bigger, better and whatever it is you decide you want it to be.
Once you have resolved to do this you should start to feel excited about next year – feel a new sense of drive and the determination that you are going to do this and make your business better than it’s ever been.
Only when your mindset is right; only when you feel this new energy and drive to make a big step forward and resolve that next year 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.
That is your starting point.
Next you set aside time. This will not happen if you think you’ll get round to it when you have some free time. Something else will grab that time and before you know it time is running out?
Get your diary or calendar – do this now before you tackle the next thing on your list – and allocate the time needed to plan for next year. How much time you need will depend on what plans you already have in place, how well your business is running, the quality of the plan you want to create and the size of your business.
See my post ‘Plan to Plan’ for more on this.
It’s so important that you get this preparation right – it really will make all the difference to not just the kind of year you’ll have but it will help lay the foundation to make each year better and better.