Starting Your Year Off Right
By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO and Co-Founder of Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting
Who’s that making a list and checking it twice? No, not Santa Claus. It’s a well-organized, successful businessperson putting things in order at the start of a new year. Just like a project punch list, an annual checklist of key operational tasks and duties will help get your business off on the right track and keep you focused all year long.
Assuming you’ve conducted an end-of-year annual review, now is the time to prepare for the year ahead, before you get too caught up again in the day-to-day demands of running your business. (If you haven’t done an annual review, see my earlier post on what you should include.) I recommend that you set one day aside to devote to planning and creating checklists and calendars for the coming year. It really is that important and requires your undivided attention.
Begin with going over the “ahas” and lessons learned from your annual review. Identify where you need to change your current business practices, as well as areas that need shoring up, such as updating systems, technology, equipment, policies and procedures. Make a list of those items and set due dates by when each of those changes and updates will be accomplished. Add those due dates to the firm’s work schedule.
Next, block out time on your calendar to work on critical operational tasks. First up should be locking in dates for producing your business plan, budget and marketing plan for the year. In addition, set aside time each week, each month and each quarter for planning and review to monitor your progress and modify your plans or budget as needed should business conditions shift. Remember to mark out time for the annual review at the end of the year.
Finally, add recurring business and personal commitments to your calendar, even if they are fairly routine. You don’t want to forget them or underestimate how much time they take up during your work week. These might include regular staff and other operational meetings, your company’s annual meeting, business and professional development events, vacation time, children’s activities, and social or charitable commitments.
This may sound like a lot of busy work, but trust me, the time you spend getting yourself organized is a mere fraction of the time you’ll save during the year from having done so. Plus, you’ll begin the year with the confidence that you have your business well in hand.
My New Year’s wish is that you and your business have a great year. If you need help with addressing some of your business challenges, schedule a 10 minute Quick Call with a member of our team. During the call we’ll identify next best steps for you and your business.