Stick a fork in it and call it done. 2018 is history, and it’s time to focus on the possibilities of a new year. For many businesses, the last quarter of a year represents a substantial opportunity for revenue. We may not have time to prepare for what’s ahead.
Nobody’s judging. Cycles are cycles, and we do what must done.
Looking Back Before Looking Forward
Now it’s time to prepare for what’s to come. Build a foundation for success as you start the process. According to a Gallup study of almost 80,000 managers, we can create that foundation by remembering to give ourselves credit for what we’ve previously accomplished.
It’s a form of gratitude, and removed of its New Age connotations, it’s a powerful motivator. We’re no different than any other business out there. We’ve got challenges ahead of us, but it’s crucial to put obstacles into perspective. Make a list of your previous year’s successes. They’ve got things to tell you.
Prior to engaging in your efforts for the new year, those previous accomplishments can help you with perspective. Use them to revisit the information you need to perform a SWOT analysis – a review of your organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You can learn more about this excellent strategic planning tool and even download a free template here.
Where you need to go depends on where you are. As an ode and analogy to the just-completed holidays, Santa makes his lists and checks them twice. Make your SWOT analysis lists and check them twice. Use what you discover to re-align your plans and strategy to capture the practices that yielded results.
Do some pattern-detecting. Do you see any similarities in the list of opportunities? There may be ways to optimize business efforts that work for a group.
Paving the Way for Success
Inc. magazine points out that many of your customers are looking at their own respective SWOT analysis results. It’s time – if you haven’t already – to check with them to see if their plans for the coming year share the same objective as yours. There may be opportunities to collaborate.
Often, new business opportunities only come to light because you ask customers to share their plans. Collecting this information also positions you as a resource. What insight based on your observations can you offer? Customers value your expertise just as much as the products or services you provide. In exchange, they may be in a position to offer you information about trends they see that can help you gain a competitive edge. Reciprocity is an underutilized tactic in building business.
It’s probably time to throw out any eggnog and fruitcake lurking in the back of the breakroom refrigerator. And if your efforts aren’t already underway, consider these suggestions as the new year gains traction. Take one last look back (not at the Christmas cookies…throw them away, too!) at what worked. Look for synergy with what you want to accomplish this year. Add a layer of intel from the input you get from customers. Then it’s time to build on the perspective these assets provide
We’ve already talked about pattern detection, so give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve noticed a few of them development here. Our approach to launching the new year right has much in common with the blueprints of a building addition. Adding an extra story starts with investigation and planning to ensure that what you’ll create is supported by what you’ve already built. How can we help you do the same?