10 Steps to Successful Business Year

A new year causes most of us to stop and reflect on past successes and failures and what we want to accomplish in the next 12 months. You may have New Year’s resolutions or on-going goals. Honestly assessing your position in your field and thinking strategically about your where you want your business or career to be at year’s end will move you towards the goals you have for this year and beyond. The following ten steps will assist you in creating a written guide to follow throughout the year.

1. Review your goals from last year. Which did you meet and which ones did you miss? Decide goals that should be carried over into this year, and the ones that can be put aside for later or disregarded altogether.

2. What challenges or obstacles did you encounter last year? List how you dealt with them and the outcomes – whether you were successful or not – and how you will avoid them in the future.

3. Define your passion. What do you really want to be doing? Are you doing it, or is your current career or business taking you in the direction of your dream? If not, how can you reconcile what you are doing now with what you want to do?

4. Define your ideal client: What do they look like? Where do they live or work? How much money do they have to spend? What type of project will they present you with? What will your working relationship be like?

5. Research your competition – their clients, service offerings, and pricing – especially your number one competitor.

6. Define where your business will be in the next year. This, along with Step 7, will probably be the longest part of the process. Take some time to visualize how your company or career will look. Walk through a typical day. Outline the financials. Determine how you want to feel on December 31st.

7. Outline the steps to make your goals for the next year a reality based on your plans from Step 6. Begin with a general outline, and then get more detailed, developing a monthly worksheet or guide.

8. Make sure all of your marketing and public relations materials are consistent with the message you want to promote over the next year. Your business cards, brochures, website, and social networking sites should communicate your brand.

9. Identify three ways to meet and engage the clients described in Step 4. Define the meeting location. Work on an appealing opening line and your elevator pitch, and describe how you can meet their needs.

10. Find an accountability partner – someone who you know will hold you responsible and will question you throughout the year to make sure you follow through with your goals and objectives.

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