Starting the year with a bang

FireworksOK – so the festive shenanigans are finally over and you're back at your desk for the start of another year. If you're anything like me, you will have enjoyed a relaxing break, but are now keen to get your business flying in 2019. So what are you going to do now, and/or over the coming weeks, to make sure that you reach the dizzying heights of success that you so richly deserve?

It all starts with a plan. If you don't have one, how will you know when you get there? And if you already have a plan, then January is the perfect time to revisit it and make any amends or additions necessary. Your plan should to be organic and flexible and you need to be quick to adapt and make any changes, so your business remains efficient and profitable.

When it comes to planning frequency is key!

Business planning is vital if you want a healthy, growing business. It enables you to take stock of what's happening and helps you set new directions or adjust old goals. But remember it's not a one-off annual event. Given the accelerated rate of change happening when it comes to the overall economic climate, and of course not forgetting your local and regional marketplaces, you need to commit to do it on a frequent basis.

Undertaking business planning on a regular basis will help you to avoid costly mistakes, stay on track and feel more focused. And don't forget to be realistic when it comes to setting or tweaking goals - they have to be achievable otherwise you'll feel deflated and on the back foot from the start. Plus remember to monitor and measure everything you do, so you know what works and what doesn't. And watch the pennies also, as it's no good overspending on one area of your business, if you can't see other areas balancing things up nicely in the short to medium term!

Give it time!

Most people start the New Year with lots of ideas or initiatives about what they are going to do. This is great as long as the enthusiasm levels don't dip after a couple of months. I often find in my area of business that people try social media or other forms of marketing for a few months and when it doesn't deliver the earth in 12 weeks, they get bored and turn it off. Social media, like all other marketing channels, needs to be used consistently, updated regularly and often undertaken for between 9 and 18 months for the results to properly show and you to feel justly rewarded for your efforts.

So my advice is simple. Sit down with a piece of paper and plan what 2019 looks like for you and your business. Do some research into your product/service area looking for trends, new tactics or clever business techniques. Check in with your clients, follow up with prospects and make contact with your business referrers. Then look at what time you have available to work on your business, rather than it in, and set it aside in your calendar and commit to going something to help your business development and planning every day or every week.

Personally I do half an hour a day of self-promotional activities (social media updates, blogs, client/prospect calls) plus networking and attendance at other business events. Then set some goals, whether it's turnover, number of clients or profitability, make sure they are clear and easy to follow. Finally, make a start, don't be one of those people who talk a good story, but never really deliver anything. In the words of Nike, "just do it". Make some noise now and in 12 months' time your future self will thank you for your commitment and unwavering belief in you and your business success.

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