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5 Steps to Start the New Year Off Right

Content by Gail Doby

The start of a new year is a kind of mental watershed. We naturally find ourselves reflecting on what we have accomplished and what we still hope to achieve. I want to encourage you not to squander this opportunity to prepare yourself and your business for the year ahead. By working systematically through a process of assessment and planning, you can help ensure the new year will be a successful one.

GIVE YOUR BUSINESS A CHECK-UP. A new year does not mean a clean slate. Take some time to review the business plans you made a year ago and how your business performed against them over the past year. What worked well? What didn’t work so well? Try to determine why. You don’t want to begin the new year repeating the same mistakes or following the same unsuccessful strategies. The same applies to identifying any operational weaknesses or deficiencies that hampered you from achieving your goals.

REVISIT YOUR MISSION AND VISION. Times change. Clients’ needs and wants change. Your own professional and business goals may change. It’s important to have a clear picture of what the endgame looks like, as well as recommitting to your firm’s principles and culture, before you begin planning.

SET REALISTIC GOALS. Forecasts of expected business activity can be helpful guides, but what matters in the end is how the market is shaping up for your services. Do you anticipate revenue growth, more clients, more projects or a softening in demand? If the latter, you can focus on other goals, such as enhancing your marketing efforts or moving into a different market or niche as a way to reposition your business for future growth. It’s okay to set one stretch goal for yourself, but stay focused on what’s most achievable for now. Remember, you can always revise your goals as business conditions change throughout the year. Create objective measures for each goal (e.g., amounts, percentages, milestones, deadlines) so you can assess your progress and stay on track.

ADDRESS YOUR BIGGEST BUSINESS CHALLENGE. What’s holding your business back? Do you need to delegate more to free up time to focus on growing your business? Do you need more clients or better clients? Do you need to realign your fees to meet your revenue goals? Make it a priority to address that challenge first thing. Otherwise, it will drag you down as you try to move forward.

GET ORGANIZED. All your planning will be for nothing if you are unable to execute your plan. Create a month-by-month road map to success including specific outcomes and calendars with reminders and due dates. Put in place policies and procedures for common practices. Review and revising as needed contracts and other standard documents and forms. Update contact information for clients and suppliers. Clean up and refresh your filing system. The time you spend now on these tasks will be repaid many times over by the time you will save later on.

Want to get a jumpstart on your planning for the new year? Text FEES to 38470 to obtain a copy of Gail’s new Profit Maximizer Toolkit, including an exclusive Easy Client Fee Calculator, ideal client profile, and industry benchmarks.

Gail Doby, ASID, is the co-founder of Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting.

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