I do not know about you but to me it seems like it was only yesterday that we rang in a new year and now we are gearing up to usher this one out and ring in yet another one. Mine has been a crazy busy year filled with travel, coaching with new clients, great speaking opportunities and much, much more. Early on I decided to make this the year of saying ‘Yes’ to things that have taken me out of my comfort zone and caused me to stretch and therefore grow both myself and my business. I truly took Richard Branson’s quote to heart, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.”

As I look to 2016, I am overflowing with optimism about new opportunities, charged with excitement and I am truly looking forward to things that I have not even thought of yet that I know are going to come my way! Along with my clients, I am planning and strategizing where I want to end up next year. In today’s article, I am going to share with you five tips from 2016 Strategic planning days with my coaching clients that I believe will help to get you started with your own planning.

1. The good, the bad and the ugly – look at your year in review and separate it into three categories. Ask yourself what worked well and should continue, what would I have done differently upon reflection and results (or lack thereof), and what should I stop doing so the pain from banging my head against the wall will cease?

2. Identify your target market – you need to understand who your ideal client is for the products and services that you offer. I have seen numerous entrepreneurs continually chase after people who do not fit their profile and they wonder why they cannot close any sales. My husband has a line that I love: “stop tripping over dollars trying to pick up pennies”. You need to identify your ideal client so that when you are asking for introductions to new people you can clearly articulate whom you work best with.

3. Know your ratios – I constantly hear entrepreneurs say that they cannot grow their business and they are stuck in the same place. My standard question to them is ‘what are your ratios?’.More times than not all I get is a blank stare in return. You have to know your ratios in order to grow your business year over year. If you have no idea how many new people you need to meet each year, what your average revenue or commission is on the products and services you sell, etc., how do you think you will ever be able to plan and grow your business?

4. Map out your year – pull your head up out of the weeds and look at the big picture. Mapping out your full year helps you to determine how many days you are actually working in the ‘green’ as I call it. Green is money-making time to me and if you have no idea how many days a year you are actually in revenue generating mode then you cannot plan accordingly.

5. Get yourself an accountability friend – being an entrepreneur can often be a lonely venture and there are times when you could really use someone to give you a pat on the back for a job well done or simply give you a swift kick to get things done. Set up a reciprocal arrangement with another entrepreneur who could also use a support network but make sure both of you are ready to hold each other’s feet to the fire whenever it is necessary.

Planning means making time now, becoming really focused on what you want to accomplish next year and expending the energy today. The trade off for this upfront investment is that you will come out of the blocks in January with more speed, enthusiasm, a plan and the end goal in your sights.

Your Money | Your Business | Your Success in 2016. Cheers!