By now you’ve likely recovered from the holidays and are already getting settled into the new year. You’ve probably set some resolutions, but are you taking the necessary steps to prepare yourself for success? Taking just a little bit of time to prepare for the upcoming year can make a tremendous difference. Oftentimes the gurus will say to do this at the end of the previous year, but for those of us in product-based businesses, holidays are often the busiest time of the year and we do this within the first few weeks of the new year. Follow the steps below, map out your plans and launch into this year with focus and purpose.
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?Did you spend too much time on unprofitable products or dealing with difficult customers? Resolve not to do that again this year – cut the products that take too long or are too expensive to make, and remember that as a business owner, YOU are the one who decides whether or not to work with someone. Is it really worth it to deal with that pain in the neck wholesale account that only orders $300/year but gives you migraines from the stress and drama? Sometimes letting things go that are holding you back frees up time and energy for new products or clients that energize you and make more money.
Look for core lessons that you can take away – not just in terms of profits, but also in time, energy, stress and personal fulfillment and use those lessons as the basis for planning out this next year.
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.
Even better, invest in yourself and your business and hire a coach. Business coaches offer accountability and guidance and often you’re able to learn from the mistakes they’ve made over the years so that you don’t repeat those same mistakes in your business. I am accepting a few more coaching and accountability clients for this year. If you’d like coaching to help you grow your beauty business, please get in touch and we’ll set up a call to see if we’re a good match.
3. Talk to Your Customers
Ask your customers for feedback on your products. Ask 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. Identify the biggest growth potential arena in your business, then focus the bulk of your time and energy on growing that arena. If this is the year you’re going to break into wholesaling, then spend time creating your line sheets, researching, approaching and following up with potential wholesale accounts. Most of your time should be spent on developing that area of your business.
5. Set Specific, Measurable, Metric-Based Goals
Finally, set measurable, metric-based goals. These numbers and goals should always be at the forefront of your mind. You should also check in regularly to see how well you’re doing in reaching that goal. If you’ve gotten off course, quickly correct your path and get back on track.
Set core metrics for the company as a whole, as well as for individual departments, such as sales and customer service. Even if it’s just you running all departments right now, it’ll help if you already have standards established and methods to track success so that when you do hire help, they’ll be able to quickly and easily see if they’re reaching the goals that have been set.
If you perform these five steps, you’ll plunge head first into the new year well prepared to tackle most challenges the business world throws at you.
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