Taking just a little bit of time at the end of the year to prepare for the next can make a tremendous difference. Don’t just meander into the next year. Launch into it with gusto and purpose. These five ways of preparing will help you start your new year off with a bang.
==> #1: Extract Lessons from Last Year
Look over the last year. What were your biggest wins and your biggest losses? What made those wins or losses happen?
Look for core lessons that you can take away. Make those lessons a part of your company’s DNA. Talk to your employees about those lessons and use your experiences this year to boost your success in the next.
==> #2: Talk to Your Mentors
The beginning of the year is a great time to talk to your mentors. Reach out to people who are more successful than you, or people who’ve done what you want to do.
Talk to them about your greatest challenges, as well as what they’d do in your situation to grow your company. Incorporate their advice into your plan for the year.
==> #3: Talk to Your Customers
Ask your customers for feedback on your service or your products. Talk about what they like and what they don’t like. Also ask them about what they’d like to see from your company in the future.
Your customers can be your best source of new ideas going into the new year. They’re also the base gauge of what will actually work or not. After all, the only real vote in business that counts is your customers’ “wallet vote.”
==> #4: Identify Your Biggest Opportunity
Don’t focus on your biggest fires or your biggest challenges. There are always going to be fires that need to be put out and emergencies to be handled.
Instead, focus on your biggest opportunity. Put your best people on your best opportunities. Identify the biggest growth potential arena in your business, then focus the bulk of your time and energy on growing that arena.
==> #5: Set Measurable, Metric-Based Goals
Finally, set measurable, metric-based goals that the whole company can rally around. These numbers and goals should be transparent to everyone in your company.
Ideally, there should be one goal that everyone is optimizing for. For instance, it might be revenue, or it might be month over month growth.
As well as that, each individual team or person might have their own goals to strive for. For example, the sales team might have a certain close rate percentage being their goal, while the customer service team might have a certain satisfaction rating being their goal.
Set core metrics for the company as a whole, as well as for departments individually.
If you perform these five steps, you’ll plunge head first into the new year well prepared to tackle any challenges the business world throws at you.