With January right around the corner, the advent of a new calendar year always brings the prospect of a fresh start and an opportunity to plan for the next twelve months. Preparing your business for the year ahead can be daunting, but will provide you with the opportunity to maximize client relationships, profit turnover, and efficiency.
Prepare effectively by evaluating your wins and losses of the previous year and reaching out to your clients to stay top of mind. This will help paint a clear picture of the opportunities and obstacles facing your business, allowing you to set achievable goals for the coming year.
Take time to evaluate
Before moving into the next year, it’s a good idea to spend some time reflecting on the past twelve months to evaluate what went well and what didn’t quite go according to plan. Consider your losses, but also consider your wins and what went well. Our losses tend to stick with us and get bigger in our minds than our wins do.
It can be difficult to objectively identify areas of weakness or failure, particularly in our professional lives where we generally hold ourselves to an extremely high standard. However, evaluating weaknesses can be a good thing since it helps to create a clear path to improvement, growth, and success.
Evaluating at a similar time each year can also help to pinpoint patterns in the wins and losses within your business. For instance, if you are consistently missing targets year on year, you can most likely conclude that either the goals you’ve been setting are unachievable, or your business is simply underperforming. Evaluating the issue behind these unreached targets allows you to implement a better strategy moving forward.
Some examples of questions to prompt your evaluation might be:
- Are the processes within my business model performing to their full capacity?
- Are there any areas of unnecessary spending?
- Are the goals I’m setting each year unachievable?
Communicate with your clients
When it comes to preparing for the new year, your clients should be one of your biggest considerations. Are their needs changing in the coming year? Is there anything different that they might need from you? Prioritizing communication with your clients is vital to maintaining a good relationship and can allow you to gain invaluable feedback to help you to prepare for next year.
A good way to reach out to clients would be to send them a New Year’s card wishing them good luck for the year ahead. If you need more specific feedback, you may consider also sending out customer surveys. This will help you identify ways your business can pivot to accommodate clients’ changing behaviors and needs in 2022.
Set effective goals
‘New Year’s Resolution’ is a term that seems to be on everyone’s lips at this time of year. While it’s not a new concept, a new calendar year does provide a good turning point for a clean slate. The unsatisfying stigma that comes with resolutions is that most of them won’t be achieved by the people who set them.
Ensure your resolutions for the new year don’t fall flat:
- Set specific goals for your business. Goals that are too generalized or vague are unachievable.
- Identify issues or obstacles that stand in the way of your goals. Once you know what you’re up against, it’s much easier to plan your way around the hurdles.
- Wrap up any incomplete projects—there’s nothing worse than the feeling of an unfinished to-do list when you’re focusing on the future.
- Create a clear plan to make sure your definition of success is measurable. For instance, if your goal is to increase customer satisfaction, you might send out a customer survey in January, and again in December. You would then clearly be able to measure any upwards trend in satisfaction.
As 2021 draws to a close, preparing for next year may be at the forefront of your mind. Planning ahead and identifying priorities may seem like a mammoth task, but there are key things to consider to ensure you’re in the best possible position come January.
Evaluate the wins and losses of the past year to highlight where you’re performing best and to outline areas that can be improved in 2022. This will help you set effective and achievable goals. You should also prioritize your customers—consider reaching out to them with a good luck card or ask them for feedback on what their needs are in the coming year.
If you implement these tips you’ll be in a great position for a successful 2022!