The year of 2013 is wrapping up in a little over a week. Business owners all over the world are putting their last few projects of the year to rest and sitting down to come up with a battle plan for the next year. The early months of 2014 are some of the most important for business owners and entrepreneurs. These months can set the tone for the rest of the year in some cases. If you start out the year by hitting it off with clients or customers, the momentum can help carry you through the next several months and even during times where business might normally be a little slow. And setting a positive tone, for business owners and entrepreneurs, is one of the most important things to accomplish in preparation for the upcoming year. For each unique entrepreneur there will be a unique plan in place. There’s a near endless amount of ways to hit the ground running at the first of the year, so choosing the right one might take a little bit of thought. We asked several entrepreneurs to reflect on what their business plan for 2014 is, and how they plan on getting out ahead of the crowd on day one.
For Tanisha Martin, hitting the ground running in 2014 means getting everything you need to finish tied up in 2013. “1. Tie up loose ends in 2013. I spend time in December facing any lingering issues or concerns and settling them so I can be free from unnecessary burdens as I start the new year with a bang! This includes organization (I just cleared out and/or organized tens of thousands of emails, which I unfortunately hadn't tied up in previous years nor maintained daily, so it was a bit out of hand…), facing any uncomfortable situations with people in business or personal life, finishing lingering projects, and tackling miscellaneous tasks hanging over my head. 2. Now you are free to create a clear plan for 2014. 3. Create a system to prompt you to take action on that plan. This could be as simple as scheduling blocks of time in your calendar, or using a task or project manager system to breakdown benchmark goals and action steps to get there.” Starting a new year always means putting the old year to rest without any loose ends weighing on your shoulders.
Getting ready for the next year is also about setting your strategies into place. Social Media Strategist, Vin Ferrar, suggests asking a few questions about what you want. “Get serious about social strategy. What do you want out of social media? Is it even possible with the resources you have and the research you've done? Can a few minutes speaking with an expert yield you a better return on time and investment put into it? Start thinking about social media as a marketing tactic that requires the same disciplined strategy as any other & you'll soon find yourself seeing trends, growing engagement, and making meaningful connections.”
With the new beginning of a fresh year comes the ability to start anew. David Rodnitzky, of 3Q Digital, notes that business owners should keep this in mind. “Avoid the Slippery Slope – Use the New Year as an excuse to hit the reset button where necessary. It is often easy to become trapped by bad decisions in the past. And often one bad decision leads to another and another – pretty soon your past words and actions are holding you back from what you know is right for the business. The start of the new year is a good time to stop the slippery slope of bad decisions. For example, you can tell your team “I know that I said it was OK to do “X” last year, but we're charting a new course in 2014.”
Lastly, Phil Lang of Suitey recommends pursuing cold leads to start the year off on the right foot. “My #1 tip for hitting the ground running in 2014 is to pursue cold leads and plans from 2013. Where did you say you were going to execute and it didn't work out? Did a hot lead stop responding to you? Reinvigorate your efforts to go after missed business from the previous year because it is often much easier to convert those opportunities into business than scoping out new ideas.
There are some common themes with getting out of the gate quickly but at the end of the day the plan that you pick should be the one that best fits your business. Sometimes the focus will be on getting customers quickly and paying extra attention to the customers you currently have. Another plan might include putting out a new, exciting product at the first of the year. Whatever plan you decide upon, the best plan you could choose is the one you find most appealing in relation to whatever business and field you operate in. Even if your plan doesn’t have the outcome you’re hoping for, there’s plenty of time in 2014 to get exactly what you want out of your business and make the year one you’ll not soon forget.