What You Should Be Doing Now to Prepare Your Business for a Successful Year

Every year you have a business you start to see the ups, downs and do the best you can to make it better. I know I do. These past few weeks I have been working to make sure my business(s) put their best foot forward for the year ahead. Here’s how you can do the same:

Year Review:

Looking back can be the best way to move forward. Make a list of what happened in 2016. Include events you participated in, networks you joined, press you received and even social media campaigns you ran.

Now, break this up into what worked and what didn’t.

This is the short list for The Cookie Cups:

What You Should Be Doing Now to Prepare Your Business for a Successful Year by Nicole Bandklayder

Daniel Carroll of Hammerback Media states “On a daily basis, search engines and social media platforms are modifying their algorithms that determine result page position and newsfeed exposure levels.”

“If you don’t have an Internet marketer on staff, you should have a website SEO and Social media review completed by an Internet Marketer annually. Even sites that are currently performing well can be quickly de-ranked by subtle SEO or Social sorting changes.” 

This is going to depend on the type of business you have- but every business across the board can certainly benefit from a clean up.

Moving Forward:

Once you have figured out what worked from last year, make a list for 2017 of events you want to participate in again and new events you want to try. Don’t waste your time – if something didn’t work the first time toss it and move forward!

I love this part because this is your fresh start! There is no more looking back. You are ready to bring your business to new heights and succeed in new venues. I already have a few events crossed off from last year and a few new ones I’d like to apply for (like the Minnesota State Fair).

Are you in the cave? (e.g., making decisions about shadows—illusory forms of obscured realities?) How do you know you are not?

“At IWB, we appreciate strategy is about dealing with here be dragons (e.g. critical business issues and key performance indicators) in the darkness of the dangerous or unexplored territories on your roadmaps, or the unchartered areas coming up on you. Change or be changed. See opportunities where others only see challenges, or dangers to be avoided. Develop roadmaps that can open imagined vistas for you and your stakeholders—who are bold enough to set out in new directions.” – Mark Rogers, CEO of Insights Without Borders.

Rogers recommends that in order to prep your business for 2017, focus on repeated experiences associated with your brand.

Prioritize Relationships:

Did you do any networking over the past year? Whether virtual or in person, networking events and experiences can be crucial to your business growth. Touch up your contact list and keep in touch! Setting up a Mailchimp list for this will do the trick! I try not to be super salesy but rather informative with my list and keep my subscribers and connections up to date with the latest and greatest. “Guess what? We’re opening our first bakery in your area!” definitely seems more fun than “Buy our Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups!”

What You Should Be Doing Now to Prepare Your Business for a Successful Year by Nicole Bandklayder“Gaining authority comes from prioritizing and striving for vested relationships over contract negotiations. Share expertisemindshare is often more important than market share; breaking free of chained in the cave thinking and performing. Exercise practice—truth telling (authentic behavior): the willingness to be who you are; telling the truth in caring ways; and supporting the integrity of your client’s or customer’s concerns. Speaking before you think—intent to be open to your clients or customers’ situational awareness and situational assessment; intent to connect authentically (e.g., empathic understanding) with your clients or customers; intent to listen authentically to your clients or customers’ worlds of meanings, feelings and behavior as they share their world. Encourage cultures of authentic engagement that improves productivity and opens new markets. Develop the courage to ask questions that really matter—even if they can’t be quantified in customary ways.” – Mark Rogers, CEO of Insights Without Borders.

Budget:

Put together your budget based upon your wants and needs for next year and of course, what you can afford. This will help you narrow down your list as well and will give you a realistic approach to your yearlong strategy. If you can’t afford to do EVERYTHING at once that is ok!

What You Should Be Doing Now to Prepare Your Business for a Successful Year by Nicole BandklayderWhile you are budgeting, make sure you are tracking your income and expenses to make your tax preparations easier. I use QuickBooks for financial tracking because it is user friendly (I am not an Accountant but this is a great alternative to keep me organized.).

Organize:

Take this in two parts: the real world and your digital footprint. Take control of your office by starting with your desk. Clear off old paperwork and file it away. Make your desk a place of clarity where you can start the year off with a clear head and get to work. Now go get yourself a new planner- because, why not?!

Go through your website and social media accounts and do a “clean sweep”. Make sure they are all up to date with correct contact information, bios and logos. Update your cover photos and give yourself a clean slate for new connections! Take a look at your website and make sure all of your social media links work properly too.

“I use Mindmeister to create my mind-map/vision board for the year.  Don’t forget to map out your personal goals as well as your business goals.  Make sure they are visionary but realistic!” – Nancy Shenker, CEO of SheBoom.com.

For more insights on how to prepare your business for the new year follow and tweet @nickisband.

Photo By: Carlos Muza (Unsplash)