Although it might seem time consuming, planning ahead for the year will turn out to be an efficient use of your time and effort. These steps assume that you already have a business plan. If you are in business and don’t have a business plan, I strongly suggest you prepare one and then review and update that plan at least once a year. As mentioned in the title, the focus of this blog is sales and marketing.
1. Clean up (1-2 days)
The end of the year is a good time to touch everything and do something with it. Get rid of all the junk and see what important items are left. Three categories work for me:
- The throw away pile. This is the moment to get real and decide if that brochure from last spring’s trade show is really that important. If it essential then it should fit into the next two categories; if not, throw it away.
- The file pile. Receipts, finished projects, anything you must keep. File it away.
- To do pile. What you should have left are important items that need to be completed. Now is a good time to put this pile in priority order and determine if everything in that pile realistically needs to be there. Compare last year’s goals and see if any are left over.
2. Goals (1/2 day)
It’s time to evaluate lasts years goals and see how well I did. Pat myself on the back and feel proud for what has been accomplished. Review what wasn’t accomplished and determine why. Save those unaccomplished goals for later. When I consider goals, it becomes a project because I just don’t think about business. I think about my entire life and try to balance realistic goals for every aspect of it. I list specific goals for these different aspects of my life: business, financial, spiritual, health, family. If I just focus on business, the rest of my life might suffer while I’m making money. After I write down the goals in all these aspects of life, it’s time to prioritize them. It is at this moment that I learn a lot about myself and what is most important to me. Once I have a decent idea of what direction I want my life to take in the upcoming year, it’s time for the next step.
3. Dream boards (1/2 day)
Yes! It’s as if I returned back to kindergarten and it’s great! I get poster board, markers, glue, scissors, and lots of magazines. With my goals and dreams in mind I proceed to listen to fun music and browse through magazines looking for images that represent my goals and dreams. By the time I’m done, I have a cool, sometimes funny montage of images packed full of meaning for me. I then place my dream board on the wall near my desk where I can see it every day. The images help remind me of the bigger picture, and keep me focused on what’s important throughout the year. In reality, the dream board is another form of goal making. Often after doing this visual version, I find myself going back and making adjustments to my goals. Just seeing what images draw you will teach you a lot about yourself.
This year I was surprised by how many things on my dream board became reality. Since my dream board reflected all aspects of my life, I was able to measure the changes that made the quality of my life better.