2014 is right around the corner, which means that if you already haven’t planned your journey to the top, you are most likely already behind. We want to make sure you don’t feel too left behind and created a step by step guide to getting you ready to make 2014, your best year ever.
Start now, not in January: Read the top paragraph again. By the time you are reading this, it is already past the deadline of being an awesome planner and you are now officially a procrastinator. Like most entrepreneurs today, that wouldn’t be the first time you waited till the last minute. The first and most important move you can make in 2014 is cutting that trend and adding 20% more planning to your day, which leads to more doing. Forecasting, planning and executing will be key in 2014.
Having a strong plan will also be part of that execution, and while a plan may seem like a synonym to a business plan, it isn’t and has no relevance at all with it. Having a plan this year will mean understanding what you actually want to accomplish before the end of 2014 and how to actually do it. While a business plan is about a business, this plan is more about you than anything else.
In that same plan, make sure to set strong guidelines and milestones to help you remain time conscious of all the other things you have to attend to reach your goals. When setting goals, ensure all are based on activities rather than results and are geared to help you improve your behavior. An example would be to not set how many pounds you want to lose this year but rather focus on how many miles you will run per week. While most focus on the rewards, those of us who understand the Third Circle Theory understand that habits and behaviors lead to the right outcomes we seek. The same can be applied to business with specific target goals. While you could say, you want to raise revenue 120%, you can also say you will contact 10 people a day no matter what goals you have already hit. Make sure to set timelines with each goal.
Find leverage now as it takes time to create and harvest great relationships and trust us when we say you will need great relationships to hit great goals. In 2014, make sure to create leverage for yourself by creating new friendships and partnerships. Even if a few seemed off the table before, now would be a good time to revisit and not take no as an answer. Leverage comes from trust and transparency and therefore looking in the mirror would be the first place to start and decide if a fit or not. One of the best ways you can create and leverage partners and new connections is providing value for them first, and then being very open with how they can help you.
Once your team is in place, then it is time to understand what others are doing in 2014 and how it will impact your daily interactions between your employees, clients, business and yourself. If Facebook or Google is changing its rules, then that means that your business will need to adapt rather than respond. Foresee upcoming technologies and the impact it will have on your business and act ahead rather than be caught a victim and at a loss. Drastic changes can lead to positive outcomes in 2014, especially if you are ready to take advantage of them.
Even if you are too busy planning your 2014 that you don’t have time to actually attend to all the great changes ahead. Prepare your team so they are not only prepared but are as equally optimistic and ready to take center stage and shine this year. There are three areas every team should be just as ready as the CEO in. The easiest one is planning their very own growth in 2014, followed by their own goal setting for both personal and business goals, but finally, it is their ability to forecast the future and know how their role is helping amplify everyone else’s strengths around them.
One of the main ingredients to prepping your team is identifying your gaps proactively and making a significant effort to filling them before it becomes a burden on you and your business. Typical gaps could be sales based or service based, even perhaps the core of how you do something or how your business automation isn’t working as well as you would like. Once you and team identify those gaps, makes sure to put measures and activities in place early to get back on a good path forward rather than dwell around lost time. We helped a restaurant a while back and realized that their service deficiencies were not in their ability to serve clients but rather in their wait time. Getting granular about your gaps in business delivery and even your personal ability is key to improving. Do this early on so that 2014 can be more about identifying more opportunities.
You wont be successful if you cant identify your new opportunities and set a plan to go after them and close them. We found that most entrepreneurs we coached knew they wanted to get more sales, and knew they wanted their business to grow, but very few knew how to identify new opportunities associated with their business. Identifying new opportunities is not about re inventing the wheel but rather about finding what can be done to move the wheel faster.
Part of that comes from analyzing your competitions’ direction, and seeing if that can tell you about the new opportunities you too can follow. Each business may share similarities but each is different and no matter how similar two brands are, they often find a way to look very different by the maturity date. Analyzing what others are doing in your space and how they are doing it, could be a critical piece of driving yourself forward in 2014. It isn’t about copying them but rather understanding why they think a certain way and how to learn from it.
Once you have all these tips for 2014 under your belt, the time has come for you to scale yourself as fast as you can, and being ready to scale is the last and most critical tip to making 2014 a success. A great example is not being ready to take on more work offered because of capacity or resources. Having a plan as to how quickly you can scale is key and making sure that you identify certain timelines and goal there as well, can be useful. Try setting a plan that states if A happens in sales, then we will add B in resources to grow to C, and so on and so forth.
2013 coming to close and 2014 right around the corner. We wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and a 2014 full of success. Remember to work as hard as you dream and set goals along the way.