One common practice at the end of each year for all successful entrepreneurs is to self reflect, analyze the past year, and think forward of things to come the following year. The idea is not to predict everything that will happen but rather to be prepared for many of the things that are in your control and that you can impact or make happen.
While many people think of what the following year will hold, very few actually take the process seriously and spend time on this exercise. Doing so passively is very different than actually sitting down and truly understanding your strengths, weaknesses, successes and shortfalls. Taking only one hour in the last week of the year can help you understand why you had your best year yet, or perhaps what you can do differently in the next year to see the results you truly want for yourself and your business.
Here is how six of our favorite CEOs put that same practice to play.
Nellie Akalp, CEO of CorpNet: The last week of the year for our business is so critical to how we end the year and set the barre for the year ahead. In our industry, the majority of our business is done between December and January considered the big sale months of the year with the last week of December being the highest) because this is when we get those last minute entrepreneurs who’ve been procrastinating and now need to start their business so volume is high, and in order to capture every opportunity, we make sure that our sales team is not only there and ready to close those sales but is motivated, excited and inspired and passionate to do so. As such we create a fun and exciting environment for our employees as well showing them that they are appreciated so that they can thrive and work efficiently and hit a record breaking year and set the barre for the year ahead!
Michael E Morgan, CEO of Credit Forget It: The last week of 2014 is spent on educating myself on trends and important changes for 2015. I tend to take it easy sales wise and instead focus on making sure both myself and my team are ready for whats coming in 2015. I also take a moment to think about who on my team really made an impact this year and how I can help them grow into the next role within my organization. For me, Credit forget it is so much more than just a company, it a family we have built over the last 6 years which means that every family member deserves a chance to grow with it.
Damien Bullard, CEO of IDDS Group: Sales, sales, sales. Being around dealerships all day, this is the most important moment of the year. All the quotas must be met, all the profits made and more importantly all four clients dealerships must end the year on a very strong month and 12 month cycle. While it is also a time of recognition and celebration for all of our efforts, it is also a time of year where everyone of our clients are at their busiest and pushing the hardest.
Jordan Hartbinger, CEO of Art of Charm: I took the end of this year to get rid of poorly performing team members and replace them with more talented and motivated folks. Yes, it’s a bummer to terminate people on Christmas, but honestly, it gives us time to catch up on the loose ends they’ve created as well as train someone new so we can start the next year with a bang. It also gives people a break to relax and to reflect on what they want to be doing instead of just victimizing another small business with their employment. We also set up a plan to crush the coming year with the heads of all our teams, as well as have a great holiday party with EVERYONE on the whole team (who is still standing) to celebrate wins, plan big moves going forward and on-board the new folks in a less formal, more familiar way.
Todd Rothman, CEO of Streaming Tutors: School is out, Students have passed all their courses and there is finally time for relaxation and enjoying some time away from tutoring and helping others get A’s. In 2014, we helped over 10,000 students pass their exams with awesome grades and that is a the best feeling in the world. I use the end of 2014 to reflect on this important achievement as well as focus on the greatest areas of improvement for our program for the following year. Spending time with the family without working also helps me re-energize and go back to helping students and creating better ways for them to learn the material while being full of energy.
Louis Spagnuolo, CEO of Jet Smarter: The last week in the month of December has always been a special time for me. For the past 8-years or so I have always sat down and drafted out my goals for the upcoming year. Unlike, most people, however, I tend to draft the goals in a more “general” form than most and allow myself to be open to whatever the universe decides to bring me.
Generally two things tend to happen with this approach:
1) My goal turns out to be a complete failure! Yep, this happens more times than most people would think. However, this can be the absolute best thing that could happen to me. Why? Because it forces me to retreat, re-calibrate and re-engage. Many business people have a “perception” of how business ideas should play out, only to later realize that we were often off target. In these situations, the goal is to “flip the situation” around and analyze what actually worked and what didn’t. When you can identify these two components, you can then reformulate your objective, based not on what your thoughts and perceptions were, but rather what the reality is.
2) My goal turns out to be much different that I originally anticipated and it ends up either being too high or too low. Sometimes things take off like a rocket and shoot to the moon, when initially your expectations may have been very low for that idea or concept. Other times your hopes may have been sky high and for reasons outside your control, the objective simply fizzles out.
From this I have realized that the ideal “number” of goals tends to be 5. Out of the 5, two fizzle out and three come to fruition, which is why I set my goals in six-month increments rather than for the whole year. Each year I set out to accomplish 5 “action items” that move my professional career forward in a tangible way.These are things that I consider “move the needle” whether it is financial, personal growth, or another aspect of my life.
Ultimately, it all starts with a plan and over the years I have learned that without a plan…… you might as well plan to fail!”
You now heard from six very successful people on how they spend the last week of 2014, right in time for you to perhaps steal some of these best practices and put them in play for yourself. From all of us at Secret Entourage and the 100’s of entrepreneurs we represent, we wish you a happy holiday season and best wishes for 2015.