The mulled wine and mince pies have been tucked away and it’s time to get back into the swing of things. Before you focus on the rest of the year, however, there are a few things you may need to do before the end of January.
(1) Re-connect with your WHY
Many individuals lose connection with their WHY or it has been suppressed by the number of things to do or challenges we face. So, the first thing to do before the end of January is re-connect with your WHY. When you are able to answer not just WHAT you did but elaborate the reasons WHY you do what you do, you’ll feel that rush of excitement, passion, and deep rooted emotional connection all over again.
(2) Know your current reality
Predictability and “no surprises” are key measures of success, so with this in mind know your numbers. Sales is the lifeblood of any business and the direct correlation between sales and revenue means there are no places to hide. Numbers don’t lie, they paint a picture of reality, so make sure you start the year knowing exactly what you’ve achieved and how the business has performed.
(3) Set targets and goals for this year
The key to effective planning and forecasting is to adopt a top down/ bottom up approach. A top down approach is usually based on two factors; firstly, the historical performance of the business with a per cent growth added on, coupled with the growth ambitions. A bottom up approach looks at what realistically can be delivered.
There might be a gap or tension in the middle ground, however, it is better to have the discussion before the end of January than to have it six months in when you’re on the back foot trying to catch up.
(4) Review your growth strategy
Having in place a structured, systematic and sustainable business growth strategy is crucial and it should be centred around these four questions
1. How do I increase the number of customers?
2. How do I increase their average order value?
3. How do I increase their average order frequency?
4. How do I increase the retention of customers?
How many ideas can you generate when you brainstorm all the different strategies you could use against each of the questions? Review your current growth strategy and make sure your new ideas are included.
(5) Document your plan
Creating a plan for the coming year before the end of January will prove helpful. It should detail your priorities, deliverables, budgets and measures that matter. This plan can then be broken into quarterly “bite size” priorities. Building in regular reality checks at the end of each quarter (or earlier if necessary) will help you evaluate what’s working and what isn’t, giving you the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments to your strategy.
(6) Hold performance reviews with your people
Performance reviews should not be just an end of year appraisal. Instead, they should be about live, in-the-moment inspirational and developmental feedback and coaching each and every day.
If you embed this culture then the annual and half yearly performance review should be the fastest and easiest conversation you have all year as the differences between perception and reality on performance have constantly been calibrated.
(7) Take a moment to self-reflect
The world is full of negativity, which presents a full frontal challenge to anyone trying to be positive, but the one unassailable key to success lies in the ability to shut those messages out. Have you had an unwavering determination to keep going? Have you shown up as the best version of you? Leadership is practised not so much in words as in attitude and actions. Were you happy with your performance last year?
(8) Celebrate successes
Whether 2017 was your best year, worst year or somewhere in the middle, you must have had some successes and wins. It’s all too easy to reflect on what we didn’t do, what we did wrong or what we need to do. So spend time celebrating.
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