5 Steps to a Better 2016

The holidays are upon us once again. Year after year I find myself saying “Thanksgiving already? Where did the time go?” After 52 years, you’d think I’d figure that out. Comes at the same time every year, but I’m still surprised.

The final weeks of the year are the very best time to not only review what has occurred in 2015, but to lay the groundwork for where you want to take your business in the next 12 months. Establishing goals is nothing new, but how often do those goals go unreached? What would it take to make 2016 dramatically better than what you’ve experienced this year?

I’ve put together a list of 5 simple steps to help you plan for an amazing 2016.

1. Decide what you want to celebrate. Every good plan starts with the end in mind. Think about it: how do you want 2016 to end? What targets do you want to hit? Be specific. Don’t settle for generalities, but set goals that you can measure throughout the year. Sales growth is an easy one, but don’t stop there. Service goals, customer growth and retention, staff development, and marketing are all areas where improvements may be required. Also don’t overlook your own personal development. Your business will only be as good as you are!

2. Determine what it will take to create that celebration. Reaching your goals will take more than just effort; it will take change. If change were not necessary, you would already be celebrating! What changes will be required? Better training? Stronger systems? Will your marketing and sales efforts need to be retooled? Perhaps the team members you have simply can’t get you there. It is time for an upgrade? Will your goals require expanding into new markets, better prospecting and qualification, a new brand image? If there are obstacles in your way, figure out how to move them!

3. Commit to an action plan. Are you serious about your goals? Are you ready for next year to REALLY be different? When you know what you want, and what it will take to get it, then be intentional about taking the steps. Write out your commitments. Tell someone about it. Sign on the dotted line, and settle for nothing less than success.

4. Hire an accountability partner. We’ve all made commitments to ourselves to accomplish things. All too often we let ourselves slide. When it gets tough, and the feeling you had when you made the commitment is gone, it’s pretty easy to revert to our old habits. The missing element? Someone who keeps you on track, who will not let you slide, and has the authority to ask the tough questions. You may ask “Why pay someone?” Because a real commitment needs to cost you something. When real dollars are on the line, you significantly increase your chances of actually achieving your goals! Still doubt it? I challenge you to try it! You won’t be sorry.

5. Stick with it. Small things, done over time, are the key to success. The problem is that we don’t follow through. We get bored with routine, we get distracted by the next shiny object or idea that comes along, and our commitment wanes. This is why #4 is so important. If your goals are worth developing and writing out, then they are worth investing your time and resources to achieve them! Tenacity is crucial, for there will be times when it will be so easy to take another path, to change direction, and to drift back into past patterns. Stay on task. Review your goals, and imagine what that celebration will be like when you can proudly say “I did it!”

The dreams you have are on the other side of commitment. These steps may be simple, but they are a powerful way to set the stage for the future you deserve!

I wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving!