We’ve entered the hectic holiday season, which means that many of us are scrambling to balance end-of-year budgets, find time to shop for presents, and squeeze in “relaxation” time with family and friends. It’s exhausting.
But before you charge headlong into the New Year, take some time to reflect on 2011 and prepare yourself for 2012. Even if you’re beyond busy right now, a few hours of planning will save you countless headaches—and help you ensure business growth—in the months ahead. Take inventory on these essentials and you’ll be good to go when the ball drops.
Take Stock of Your Marketing Efforts
Measuring the benefit of the time and money you invest in marketing isn’t as hard as it sounds—and it can help you focus your marketing efforts in 2012. To determine what’s working and what’s not . . .
- Check the vital signs. Online marketing vehicles (including blogs, emails, newsletters, social media efforts, and ads) make it easy to quantify and track the impact of your marketing. If you don’t yet have a system in place for tracking your web marketing (click-throughs, conversions, signups, etc.), make that a priority for 2012. Following these numbers is a quick way to know what’s working and what’s not.
- Dig into the figures. Look for peaks and valleys in client response. Examine the details figure out what succeeded and what bombed. Then tweak your marketing materials going forward.
- Start asking questions. If you aren’t already, ask new clients how they heard about your business. This will give you an idea about which of your marketing efforts your clients are absorbing.
Review Your 2011 Goals
Take a look at the goals you set for your business for 2011. The ones you didn’t reach can tell you as much as the ones you did. Pat yourself on the back (or celebrate in a slightly more exciting way) for the goals you met and think through why you succeeded.
Then get serious about the ones you didn’t meet. Don’t beat yourself up about them—just try to figure out what actions you did (or didn’t) take that kept you from meeting these goals.
Set Your 2012 Goals
Effective goals tend to have a few characteristics in common:
- Specificity: Vague goals like “growing my business” are not helpful because they don’t suggest any courses of action you can take to achieve them. Outline SPECIFIC numbers to hit, skills to learn, or feats to accomplish for 2012.
- Measurability: You won’t know if you’ve hit a goal you can’t measure. And if you don’t have any way to measure your success, you won’t get the satisfaction of knowing you’ve accomplished what you set out to do.
- Attainability: Be realistic about your efforts, but don’t underestimate yourself! Very few goals are out of reach to someone who wants them badly enough.
- Timeliness: It’s okay to outline long-term goals, too, but outlining month-by-month marks to hit will help keep you focused and motivated when day-to-day obstacles get you down.
Remember: if you don’t plan for success, you may never fit it in your schedule!
For more helpful tips on preparing your business for 2012, visit us on Facebook.
If you like this post, you might also like:
- Achieving Your 2012 Goals: How Will You Do It?
- Five Ideas for Investing in Yourself in 2012
- 3 Key Ingredients to Grow and Thrive in 2012
- How to Get Into the Zone for 2012: Interview with Tim Goodenough
- Learn Something from TV: Generating Round-the-Clock Interaction for Your Business