Start Planning for the New Year - Now!
We’ve gathered some expert advice on how to plan for your New Year – now.
The 4th quarter is here. Not only is it a busy time with upcoming holiday celebrations, but preparing for tax season, ramping up your 4th quarter goals – and yes, planning your business strategy and goals for the New Year. We’ve gathered some expert advice on how to plan for your New Year – now.
No time like the present to set quarterly goals
Michelle Van Slyke, senior vice president of UPS, suggests that small business owners take the time to start planning for the New Year – before this one ends. In her article for Inc., ‘Start Planning for Next Year Like it’s Tomorrow’, Van Slyke recommends taking some time to reflect on how your business is doing. What can improve? Assessing your past year helps determine where best to invest money – and time – that will have the most influence on boosting revenue, reputation, or customer service in the New Year.
Setting milestones is a good way to hold yourself accountable and check on your progress. If you haven’t met them, why? Be reasonable when setting goals. Don’t make them too lofty or rigid. Be willing to adapt as your business or priorities change.
Why do I need to set goals?
Setting goals for your business encompasses more than just revenue. According to Michael Olguin, president of Formula PR in his article for Inc. titled ‘4 Reasons You Need to Set Business Goals’, setting goals not only enables you to gauge your business but also enhances teamwork among management and employees.
Goals help to set a direction. It gives you and your team something to accomplish. Goals also help you make decisions about services or products, employee hiring or retention, and of course, increasing revenue. Without goals, you’re like a ship without a rudder. Plan ahead. Be ready for the New Year, but don’t get lost in the details.
Simplify your goals
When planning for your new year – whether you’re focusing on 1st quarter goals or the entire year, keep it simple. In other words, focus on few key points rather than creating a huge shopping list. Business coach David Finkel, writing for Inc, suggests a 3-step process in his article, ‘Creating a 1-page Quarterly Action Plan for Your Business’.
David suggests planning out one quarter at a time, which can be broken down into weekly or even daily plans. Review your quarterly plan once a week to keep goals fresh in your mind. He suggests quarterly action plans with no more than three focus areas (such as lead generation or sales conversions), each with action steps or milestones to achieve. Take your time developing those action steps. Determine what you need to do in order to achieve each milestone and make those steps as measurable (objectively and quantitatively) as possible.
While you want to give yourself ‘guardrails’ when it comes time to set the New Year goals, do try to avoid getting too specific or you risk boxing yourself in. Be ready to adapt while still keeping your overall quarterly goals in mind as the year progresses.