Coming back from a break can be hard for most small business owners. Knowing what to begin working on and where to develop your business can be a challenge. Providing some clear direction to the energy you have for promoting your business is vital to set yourself up for the coming year ahead.
If you live in a culture that celebrates the Christmas season, then you most likely have had a short break. During this time, you might have thought about your business and about how you can grow it in 2012 - how you can market your business, get more customers, and either achieve the success you have dreamed of or achieve a higher success than you had in 2011.
But, when most people return from a period of absence from their business, they can find themselves at a bit of a loss about what to begin working on. And, if you don't know what it is you should be doing, then all the enthusiasm and energy you had before returning can be whittled away until you find yourself back in the same routine without much to show for your good intentions.
To help set you on the right path for your business development this year here are some simple and actionable steps you can take to provide a great foundation for the coming year ahead.
- Develop focus. Know what your goals are for this year. Know with absolute certainty what you want to achieve, how much and by when.
- Get rid of the clutter. This could be either physical clutter of papers, etc in your office or it could be the mental clutter of all the 'things' you keep telling yourself you need to get to. Unless your business has come to a halt over the period of time you have been away, a few more days will not cause it any harm. Spend the time to brain dump all the things you are worrying about that 'need doing'.
- Match your Goals to tasks. Look at your brain dump of the things in your business - the marketing strategies, the phone calls, the sales, the accounts - and match them up to your goals for the coming year. All those activities that will help you achieve your goals put a tick next to them. For the activities that do not help you, put a cross next to them.
- Create your business action plan. All the tasks with a tick next to them, put them into an order that clearly shows what goal they support, when you will do the task, how long you think it will take you, what has to happen before you start one of these tasks and what resources do you require to complete them. In effect, you are putting together a chart of activities that show the realistic timeline of when you will complete these goals, and it will show you the resources you require to do so.
- Review your plan. For the list of tasks and resources in front of you, take note of the resources. Have you created too much demand on your time, someone else's time or on another resource? If so, review the time you have allocated to complete a task to balance out the resources so you are not operating at 110%. No matter what you think, no one can operate at more than their capacity.
- Delegate. For those tasks that you have put a cross next to, consider if you can delegate them to someone else. Could you get another business to help? Could you outsource it? Do you really need to do the task anyway? Wherever possible, free up your energy to focus on those business development tasks that will help you achieve your goals.
- Do it. Now you have uncluttered your bran, know what you are aiming for, and have a clear action plan, you can unleash the creative energy inside of you and get on with the job of achieving the business success you are striving for.
This 7 step action plan for developing your business can be applied at any time during the year. You can also apply it to a specific strategy you are running as well as across the business. No matter where you are at in your business development, by using these steps you will set yourself up for a successful business year.