2016 is just barely over, and you’re probably already anxious about your 2017 goals! Before you get caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle, take some time to evaluate the past year and plan for the next. Here are some steps to help you put your best foot forward in the new year.

  1. Adjustment – I’m a big fan of the “quality circle.” This formula for effectiveness and efficiency can be used in planning everything from a new product line to your family’s holiday party. The steps are simple: Plan, Do, Check and Adjust. But after a major effort, the last thing we want to think about is how to do it better next time. Take a moment to evaluate your successes and failures from 2016 and ADJUST your model to either do more of what you did well, or do less of what you did poorly. TIP: If you’re having trouble evaluating your progress from last year, it’s probably because you didn’t begin with the end in mind. Start with what you want to accomplish and work backwards deciding which milestones will get you to your goal. Then, if you hit all your marks and still don’t come out on top, you can try something new with confidence. Don’t get stuck in a rut. “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” should never be uttered!
  2. Awareness – Local and national economies, politics, and the ways our competitors do business are constantly in flux. Being up to speed on what can affect your business should be top of mind at the start of the year. Take a little time to brush up on current events and remain AWARE of what’s happening in your own industry to get ahead of the curve!TIP: Many industry magazines and blogs have a newsletter service. Once a week you can spend 30 minutes catching up on trends and upcoming issues that can affect your bottom line. Pass along relevant information to your clients and potential customers. Not only can the new information help them, but they’ll also grow to see you as a subject matter expert. People like doing business with knowledgeable professionals and the relationship you establish may result in more sales or service opportunities. 
  3. Audacity – When I make a goal I always make sure it is SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. But, I always add in at least one AUDACIOUS goal. You know that thing that no one thinks you can do? Yes, that one! I keep a “parking lot” taped to my desk where I keep all my crazy ideas. Staring at them every day inspires me to work hard and dream big. And you never know when you just might cross one off!TIP: Now that you’ve got your big, scary, hairy goal, how do you achieve it? Don’t let fear freeze you into inaction. Instead try asking yourself a series of questions to inspire some creative solutions. For instance, let’s say you wanted to increase your sales by 20%. You may ask yourself, “What does Apple do to increase hype for the new iPhone?” or “If I was looking for my service, could I find it easily via a Google search (go ahead, and try!).” What about wondering, “How many ways have I bought something this year?” or “What obvious thing about my product/service is going unsaid?” It can sometimes be tricky to brainstorm on your own, so gather a group of employees, family or friends and ask them the same questions. You may be surprised by the insight you gain from an hour of wacky ideas and notetaking.

There’s no magic bullet for success. In fact, it will often take many failed attempts to get where you need to be in the upcoming year. But, by employing some, or all, of these ideas and tips, you can definitely increase your likelihood for victory.

If you need assistance setting your targets for 2017, let us know and we’ll be happy to help. Call (337) 740-0433 or visit our website at www.developvermilion.org for resources and instructions on setting up an appointment.
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