I love the start of a new week, a new to do list, a fresh page in my business, so imagine how excited I get as a year draws to a close and a new one is just around the corner.  Yes, VERY excited.  December is the perfect time to review the past year, your successes, being honest about what has worked and what has not and planning for the next 12-months.  

I recently read a great blog which reminded me not to spend hours working on a plan, hours that could be better spent working on my business.   They were not saying don't plan, just don't let the planning bog you down, or become another procrastinating tool!! Which got me to thinking ... what is the best way to review and plan my business?  Not a great fan of strategic planning or find it difficult to visualise where you want to be?  Then I might just have the solution, with my quick and dirty three step process.  

 

What was great about 2015?
Grab a coffee and set the timer for just 15-minutes and write down all the things that come to mind, the good, the bad and the ugly. Add to your list the ‘stuff’ you never got around to doing but only give yourself another 15-minutes.

Right, give yourself a pat on the back for all your successes, no matter how big or small, major or minor and keep a note of these for those days in the future when you are feeling demotivated or frustrated!

Thinking about the bad and the ugly, is there something you could have done differently?  Do you need to get these right in 2016 and do you need help to achieve them?  Or in hindsight were they just not your best ideas and in this instance, drop the guilt and move on!  

What can you do better?  Will doing these things better make a real difference to your business and its success?  Finally those business development plans, tasks and actions that you just didn't do!!  What stopped you and how can you prevent the same thing happening in 2016.  Or were they just not right for your business now or not right at all, and in this case drop the guilt and move on!

The above exercise is to help show you what is working, what is not, what can be improved and what needs to be left behind.

 

What will 2016 look like?
Now add all that you aspire to achieve in 2016, go on set the timer for 10-minutes, don't think about it just write, or type or scrawl!

 

What action or steps are needed to make 2016 sizzle?
You will need a clear head and no distrations for this part of the exercise and it's time get serious but don't let it take over your day, set yourself a time limit and really define your plan for the New Year.

1.  Cross off all items that don’t fit with your business vision, yes sometimes we have to be brutal!  Let me explain, on occasion we have these ideas, we sign up to training, grab ourselves a particular mentor and think I am going to do that!  We can loose sight of our business vision and off the beaten track we go.  

2.  Highlight those actions or areas of development that are essential to your business and make them a priority.  Think about how you can make them happen and write three actions next to each item that you need to take.

 

You have a plan!
You will now have a list of actions, tasks and …. yes a plan!  Don't forget to prioritise because with all the will in the world you are not going to complete your list in January!!  Divide your actions into short, medium and long term but keep in mind what is absolutely necessary to your continued business success.  
A planning document should not be gathering dust or used to stop the table wobbling, it is a vital tool in business and to achieving success.  If you don't know where you are going, how will you know you got there!

 

Yes this was a simple exercise and you can spend as much time as you like in doing it, break each action down further and so on BUT time is precious and over planning is as bad as no plan. Right I am off to put the kettle on and set that timer!  

Happy planning and if you need a helping hand, a sounding board or have a question email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or tweet me @BrownBurden.  I would love to hear how you got on.