The end of the year is a great time to plan for the upcoming New Year. We realize this seems like a lot of pressure when you are still trying to plan for the holiday festivities; however we also recognize this is the perfect time for you to reflect on the accomplishments of this past year and to set some exciting goals for the upcoming year. You don’t have to spend a lot of time doing this, but we do recommend you set aside a few hours of quiet time in the evenings mapping where you’ve been and where you would like to go in 2012. As you are working through the process of setting your small business plan for the upcoming New Year, here are some steps we recommend:
List your business accomplishments. Reflecting on your business highlights for 2011 is an important step in developing a plan for success in 2012. We suggest you start with a blank piece of paper and start listing small and large victories for the year. This may be something as simple as a process improvement impacting business flow or a more major accomplishment such as achieving a revenue milestone. Reflecting on business achievements both large and small will fuel your brain in setting new goals for the upcoming year.
Identify areas of weakness and setbacks. Start with another blank sheet and list areas that you believe need improvement or specific activity that was not positive for your business. Upon completion of this list, go through and draw a line through any issues that are in the past and write the ‘learning’ next to that item. Those issues that are still unresolved should be left on the page. Again, this list will be instrumental in developing a new strategy for 2012.
Map 2012 Q1 goals. Take a look at the first quarter of 2012 and set five tangible goals that you would like to achieve. Beside each goal, define the strategy (the how) behind achieving each of these goals and the individuals who will be instrumental in making each goal a success. Small and large goals alike, mapping goals over 90-day periods will be extremely valuable to driving and sustaining momentum in your business. Remember, goals are only as good as the follow-through so make sure you have the vehicles in place to measure results.
Define the business BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) for 2012. What large (still obtainable) goal are you setting out to achieve in 2012? What accomplishment would make this next year a true business success for you? Next, define the purpose (the why) behind this particular goal. If this goal happens, then ‘x’ will open up/change for the business. Keep in mind timing, your budget and the bandwidth of your team when setting this goal, but also recognize with early planning and the support, you can achieve new heights with your business.
We will stop here for now as this should take you 5-6 hours to complete these four simple steps. Most of all, don’t feel overwhelmed by the idea of setting your small business game plan for 2012. The key is to keep it manageable and address one area at a time. If you set aside a few hours each night to address a specific area, you should be able to complete the process in a week, without feeling completely overwhelmed. Taking the time to do this will get you off to a strong start in 2012!