The New Year is synonymous with resolutions and promises of making changes. And this time of year offers you a perfect opportunity to take stock of your business and start planning for next year’s business development strategies.
Here is my checklist of priority resolutions for all entrepreneurs for the New Year:
Turn your business plan into an action plan
We all know how important a business plan is for any serious entrepreneur. That being said, what I often see is either:
- A business plan is created, then neatly stored away in a drawer until the end of the year.
- No business plan is created at all.
So here is my proposal to you: instead of thinking business plan, think “Action Plan“. What’s the difference? A business plan includes all kind of analysis such as a SWOT, market trends, target markets etc. and can include many, many pages (I’ve seen business plan 50 pages long!). An Action Plan is, as the word describes it, action driven.
For example, say you want to create 25 new clients this year. What does this really mean in terms of action from your part? You can’t control if people will say yes or no to becoming your client. But you can control the number of prospecting conversations you will create. Coming back to your goal of 25 new clients for the year, this would mean you need to have 75 engaging conversations with potential clients during the course of the year, which means 6.25 engaging conversations each month, which turns out to be approximately 1.5 per week. Now that’s action driven!
Want to update your website? What needs to happen each month to ensure that this project is complete by a given date? List each milestone and enter them in your Action Plan.
Breaking down your yearly goals into smaller, more specific or detailed bite-sized pieces will build momentum and keep you moving in the direction of your goals. What are the monthly outcomes that will bring you towards your ultimate goals? Create a monthly milestone for the year ahead, divide goals and achieve small victories which will bring you to the grand final victory of reaching your goals.
Your assignment: Take one piece of paper, draw 12 boxes – one for each month – and enter what you want to accomplish for each month.
Revisit your marketing
Most businesses set up a website, create a brochure or other marketing documents when they start, but then ignore them. It is essential that your marketing collaterals are maintained and are mined for information.
Your assignment: Review all your marketing collaterals to ensure your vision and your mission are clearly defined. A clear market positioning is the key driver of a successful business – it defines your vision and aligns your efforts. By differentiating your offer, you attract qualified prospects and remind existing clients of how much you do for them.
Review your systems and procedures
Successful businesses are built on systems. Do you have processes to onboard a new client, servicing existing clients – or how I like to call it “Delivering the WOW! through service” — service-based segmentation of your clients to run an efficient and profitable business?
Your assignment: Analyze your client experience service: Does it distinguish you from your competitors? Are you “Delivering the WOW! through service” in an efficient manner? Ask yourself and your team “How can we deliver the same value in half the time”? The key here is to simplify and systemize.
Build the most outstanding team
A committed, high-performance team will bring your business to the next level. Build an entrepreneurial attitude with a team structure and skills to meet, and exceed, client expectations.
Your assignment: Empower your team and let team members select projects they want to work on; allow them to be accountable for deliverables and deadlines. Leverage everyone’s key capabilities and outsource projects outside of your expertise – you will get the most bang for your buck and ensure projects actually get done.