We’re entering that time of year when most of us are getting ready to unwind, relax and spend quality time with friends and family.
Christmas and the run-up to the New Year is a magical moment that offers hope, joy and promise of what lies ahead. It’s a chance to look back at our lives, appreciate the people around us and let them know what they mean to us.
This is all important.
You are not a machine. Rest, relaxation and fun are critical for your business success.
But if want to set yourself up for a successful 2014, it’s also essential that you take some time to plan for the coming year.
Many people wait until 1 January to do this, but that’s a mistake. You need to know what you are going to do before the New Year starts. Otherwise you may end up wasting a lot of time.
But I recently read a fantastic blog post by Jennifer Longmore that really inspired me. It’s called 13 Most Important Questions For Your Business in 2014.
In this post, Jennifer lists 13 thought-provoking questions to ask yourself about your business. They can help you review the past 12 months and think about the year ahead.
I believe that every serious business owner must ask themselves these questions before the end of the year. It doesn’t matter what stage of business you’re in or even if you’re just starting to think about your business idea.
Prepare A Game Plan
You see, success is very rarely the result of chance.
It comes down to careful planning and the implementation of a well-thought out strategy that connects your life and business goals.
Imagine your favorite sports team, for example.
No manager or coach ever turns up before a game hoping for things to magically fall into place. Not if he/she expects to win anyway.
While a lot comes down to the team’s performance on the day, a good manager spends many hours beforehand mapping out a game plan, analyzing the opposition and getting his or her team ready mentally, emotionally and physically.
That’s why I encourage you to spend some time alone over the holidays, find a quiet place and work through these questions. Use them to develop your own game plan for next year.
To help you out, I’ve simplified Jennifer’s 13 questions and listed them below. I suggest you copy them into a new Word document and answer them directly there or better still, write them out by hand into a notebook and start journaling.
#13 Questions To Ask
#1. What was my goal(s) for 2013 and how well did I achieve it?
#2. What were my greatest accomplishments in 2013?
#3. What have I learned most about myself, my business and from my customers and clients?
#4. What worked this past year – and why?
#5. What didn’t work – and why?
#6. What do I want to take into 2014 on an inner and outer level e.g. insights, new ways of being, products, services, clients and pricing?
#7. What do I want to release on an inner and outer level e.g. old patterns, limiting beliefs, certain people, habits and practices that don’t serve me?
#8. What is my goal(s) for 2014 e.g. more revenue, different or better clients, greater visibility, more leverage?
#9. What kind of person do I need to be in order to create my ideal lifestyle business?
#10. What aspects of my business do I need to develop, improve, create or release, in order to align with my goals e.g. how I spend my time, focus more on income-generating activities, and develop new relationships?
#11. What are the simplest, most enjoyable ways to generate more income through my business and where should I focus my time, resources and energy?
#12. What one thing am I going to focus on in my business over the next 30 days to get me closer to my overall goal?
#13. What kind of support do I need to achieve my goal(s) e.g. an accountability partner, a business coach, resources or tools?
These questions are not exhaustive but they should certainly start you thinking and planning ahead for the New Year.
As you look back, remember to be grateful for EVERYTHING that happened in 2013. The great things you experienced as well as the not so great things you had to go through and grow through.
Ultimately, everything happens for a reason.
This past year has helped shape you for the next stage of your journey to become the person you are meant to become.
So don’t look back with anger or regret.
Treat your review of 2013 as though you are looking at your life in the rear view mirror of your car. Learn from it and prepare to go into 2014 with more clarity about your goals, armed with faith, excitement and confidence.
You have the power to determine exactly what kind of new year you will have. By consciously choosing your thoughts, you can change your daily actions, which in turn can change your results.
I’ll discuss that a little more in my next blog post. I’ll also share a secret that will help you unlock every obstacle that’s ever held you back so you can achieve anything you want.
But first, please do me and yourself a favour and work on these questions.
Let me know in the comments below what comes up for you.
PS I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!