It’s that time of year, where you are counting the days to the much-needed fun in the sun, or perhaps a snow-capped skiing holiday in Europe. Whatever you choose to do this festive season, make sure that you get enough rest to recharge your batteries. With that said, now is also the time to think ahead and plan for 2016.
At the recent ECCO International Communication Network conference that Reputation Matters hosted in Cape Town my colleague from Poland, Norbert Ofmanski, said that we don’t get time to think anymore; our lives are so chock-a-block with daily operations that there is no time to spend on really important things like thinking.
As an entrepreneur, this time of year can be incredibly stressful especially if the revenue isn’t quite what you had anticipated it to be and bills and salaries still need to be paid. If this is the case, examine how you can curb your costs in the immediate short-term.
Related: The importance of internal dialogue during change
I have often noted that the time a lot of people tend to go on holiday is when they can least afford it. Rather than getting yourself further into debt, make the most of spending time with your family at home.
The next step is to put pen to paper and to plan.
Where should I start to prevent this from happening again?
Use this December holiday to think and determine what you would like to get out of 2016. This sounds quite challenging, especially if you are stressed about business. To put pen to paper and to write down your ideas might initially feel like you aren’t getting anywhere, but bear with the process, it does help.
I absolutely love ticking things off check lists, so I decided to do a little experiment at the end of last year.
The first step was determining what the vision for my year was going to be. I decided that I wanted an incredibly successful year and then went about writing a wish-list of things that I wanted to achieve during 2015 that would constitute ‘epic.’
This included business goals relating to turnover, profitability and processes, as well as hosting the ECCO conference and our own Reputation Management Conference in November as well as writing and launching a reputation management book. As they say, if your goals don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.
The list also included personal goals such as being more spontaneous, doing more creative things and running a marathon! Once I had listed everything, I put due dates next each so that I could plot it on a timeline.
I then translated this into specific activities which needed to be completed on a monthly, weekly and daily basis so that I could achieve and tick the items off.
What are some of the things I should consider when I plan for 2016?
As the business owner, it is up to you to steer the ship, so make sure that you are working on the business, not in it (I know this is easier said than done).
Determine what the vision of your business is. I know that may sound quite boring and academic, however this does give a lot of direction to where you are going. It will also help you to know who you want to target.
Trying to market your product or service to everyone is tiring and most of the time really not very effective. If you know that your ideal clients are for example women between the ages of 20 and 30 interested in running who live in the Bloemfontein area, then you will be able to target your communication and marketing a lot more specifically.
Once you have your vision refined, and know where it is that you are heading to and who you are targeting, you can make a list to check whether all your processes and policies are in place. Do you have a sales and marketing process? What does your process look like to get talent on board? You should also have a look at your pricing.
Related: 11 Tips to transform a crisis into an opportunity
Make sure that all of these items are aligned to your vision. List these activities from most important to nice-to-haves, then put deadlines next to each. Once this is in place, it should give you a lot more structure for the year ahead.
It is also a good idea to share the vision and goals with your team and to get their input and encourage them to write down their own goals to help achieve the bigger picture of the company, and at the same time develop them further.
What are some of those big goals that you will be setting yourself for 2016?