A new year has descended upon us once again and many are eager for a fresh start, a chance for renewal and new opportunities. However as a business coach, I often find many business owners and financial professionals look at a new year as a new mountain to climb without a clue how to get started.

Strategic planning is by far the best way to set yourself up for success in business and as a coach, this is an exercise I do once (if not twice) a year with my clients to help them chart the course for the year ahead in order to work smarter not harder.

The key to success with all of their planning is the ongoing one-on-one coaching we do together over the course of the year to implement plans, course correct, trouble shoot, gauge what is working and what is not and talking about their successes and challenges.

In this article, I am going to share five tips with you that I incorporate into the strategic planning sessions with my clients. They are by no means the only five things you need to do to set you up for success and I am only going to scratch the surface but it’s better somewhere to start than nowhere. A journey of a thousand miles still has to begin with a few first steps!

1. Start with the year at a glance – you need to have an overview of the entire year, not just what you are going to be doing for the next week or next month. Get a giant wall calendar to hang over your desk and map out what your year will look like. Start with self-care and work backwards to determine the number of days a year that are actually ‘green’ days. I call them that because they are your revenue-generating days.

2. Keep your current clients happy – it can take anywhere up to twenty hours of work to generate a new client, but only up to four hours to make a repeat sale to that same client. Make sure you have a strategy to ‘touch’ your existing clients over the year to keep them happy and introducing you to new prospects to keep your funnel full.

3. Plan your networking strategy for the year – I see countless business owners and financial professionals running around from event to event, shoving their business card into someone’s open hand and thinking ‘great! this will generate lots of business!’ . Wrong! Networking is about building relationships with people, not about having the most business cards when you die. You need to determine what events you should attend, why, whether or not they fit your ideal client profile and if the fees to attend will yield a good return on your investment.

4. Determine how much your time is worth an hour – do you really know how much an hour of your time is worth? Most business owners and professionals do not have a clue! In order to be efficient at what you are good at you need to determine what you are worth an hour. Ask yourself the following question when you are tackling a new task: “is what I am about to do worth the time and money I am about to spend on it”? If the answer is no, delegate!

5. Protect your biggest asset – the biggest asset a business owner or financial professional has is their continued earning potential but repeatedly, I hear them cry they cannot afford the necessary safeguards. Well, ladies and gentlemen you can’t afford not to! You need to make sure your own financial house is in order to ensure your business stays in order as well. Meet with a financial advisor to discuss having critical illness insurance in place in the event you become ill and possibly business overhead expense coverage to keep the lights on, and life insurance to cover your debts if you die. If you do not have an up to date will in place drawn up by a lawyer, please get one! The last thing you want after building your empire is it falling apart when you are gone because you didn’t outline your wishes or plans.

Being in business is not for the faint of heart but for those who strategically plan their business and work the plan, the trade off can be outstanding. I would love to hear some of the things you plan for each year to set yourself up for success. Please feel free to share in the comments section below.

Have you made the decision that 2016 is the year for you to up-level your business by engaging a coach so you can make more money, sleep soundly at night and have fun along the way? If you answered yes, then let’s connect for a complimentary 30 minute ‘up-level’ strategy call to determine if working together will help you to achieve your goal. Contact yweld@theblaufusgroup.com to set up a time to connect.

To Your Success!