In this age of instant everything, planning seems to be getting a bad rap. But make no mistake: planning matters. Here are my five tips for jumpstarting your business in 2010:
1. Assess your financial health. Before you can set goals for the new year, it is useful to understand how your business fared in 2009. We all know our bottom line numbers, but how did you get there? What’s your ideal income stream (types of projects, mix of clients, and so forth), and did you achieve it? If not, why not?
2. Review your current client list. You know who they are, but do you like them? I’m lucky enough to work with clients I like–or maybe it’s because I’m unwilling to deal with the ones whose business practices don’t mesh with my own. If your clients are giving you headaches, it is worth considering whether your time might be better spent doing business development.
3. Develop a 2010 strategy. Once you have a picture of how your business fared last year and why, it’s time to set goals for 2010. Even if everything is going well, “keep doing what I’m doing” isn’t a good goal because it neither defines what you’re doing or why it’s working. My top goals are around business development, client services, and community. What are yours?
4. Reconnect with contacts. The new year is also a great time to reconnect with friends, business acquaintances, and other people in your business card stack, LinkedIn network, and Outlook or Gmail contacts list. If you’ve followed my earlier advice, then you’re already top of mind; now it’s time to follow up.
5. Implement your plan. This seems obvious, but it’s also the hard part. The business of running a business is hard work, but hopefully these five steps will put you on the path to 2010 success.
Do these tips resonate with you? What would you add?
Photo by hyku. (Flickr).