Many people and businesses lose sight of their productivity goals in the rush of the holiday season. Here are some tips to start 2018 in a blaze of energy and not allow holiday lethargy to stall your business. Start your year off right by designing your 2018 marketing plan, reaching out to networking contacts that you met during the holiday fundraiser season, setting-out growth and daily goals for your company, and keeping an eye on the recruiting and growth trends predicted for 2018.
Taking some time to think about where you’ve been and to plan where you want to go with your business will help you shake off your holiday lethargy and start 2018 in a blaze of energy. This year, set New Year’s Resolutions for your entrepreneurial efforts, and have your business growth hold you accountable.
First, pat yourself on the back, you made it to 2018! Even for those of us who aren’t retailers, the holiday busy season can cause major setbacks to productivity. Many companies find it difficult to pursue leads and hires during the holiday season. As employees take time off and family needs become disruptive, it can be difficult to accomplish anything more than the bare minimum.
And then, after all that, you might feel like you need another vacation from your vigorous holiday experiences.
If you sympathize with all this and feel that you’re in a productivity slump, you’re not alone. Allowing this slump to continue, however, can be devastating to your 2018 productivity. January is an important time to get back on your feet with planning, reconnecting with your contacts, and setting workable short-term and long-term goals for renewed growth.
Review and Revise your Long-term Growth Goals
As your business enters the New Year, it’s a good idea to consider your goals. Where do you want your business to be next year? Where do you see it in three years? In five?
Of course, things won’t turn out exactly as you imagine or plan them, but it’s important for your growth strategy to know what you want.
Begin by reviewing the growth strides that you made in 2017. Pay careful attention to your financial trends and decisions. Did you make progress toward profitability? Did you increase your influence and broaden your network? Have you hit upon a good marketing strategy that incorporates modern technological trends and social media in addition to old-school referrals?
Be honest with yourself about your 2017 strengths and weaknesses so that you can make your plans in an educated and strategic way. Sit down with your partners, coworkers, employees, and supporters to discuss your experiences throughout the past year and set out your future goals.
This can be a good time to revisit your budgeting and expenditures. You might also look at the effectiveness of your operations and make sure that everything makes sense with your company goals. And, if you find yourself with some spare change at the beginning of the New Year, you can begin planning how you will reinvest.
Pick out Important and Energizing Short-term Growth Goals
The long-term goals that you outlined above can help you form detailed short-term goals. This can include month-to-month budgeting, new training efforts, including classes that you might take to continue learning, and weekly goals.
Short-term goals are where your plans for 2018 really take shape, as you decide how many networking events you will ideally attend and how many social media posts per week you need to create to increase exposure. Your goals should energize you, as you continue investing time into your startup, and ideally, they will show you short-term results for your efforts. Remember that if you aren’t excited and confident about your business, it will be difficult to inspire others to be as well.
Take stock of your schedule. Is each of your workdays oriented for some activity that will allow you to optimize, grow, or maintain important parts of your business? Are there ways of managing your time better, such as new technologies that you can invest in to help you do your job? Or software that you can learn to automate long processes?
It’s also important at this point to look at your work-life balance. If you are feeling burn-out, are there steps that you can take toward a healthier, happier balance. Make the resolution to eat healthily, get a workable amount of sleep, and generally take care of yourself. This will help you improve your performance and make you a more admirable leader and coworker.
Design your 2018 Marketing Plan Early
If you haven’t already, start devising your 2018 marketing plan now. Whatever your busy season, release dates, and or other marketing deadlines are, you want to stay ahead of the timeline. For instance, don’t be afraid to create brand awareness and anticipation before a release date to warm up the market for yourself.
Sketch out the rough dates and deadlines that you will need new logos and designs so that you can give your designers plenty of time for perfecting your image. This is the same for copy advertising and content marketing. Plan well ahead, so that your business is represented in the best, most engaging way possible.
Making this plan ahead of time will give you an easy cheat sheet to follow and implement as this year starts to get complicated. And remember that plans can always be revised. Your marketing plan can be flexible as 2018 throws you curveballs, but having a plan will at least give you something to work from.
Reach Out to New and Old Contacts from the Past Year
The holiday season is one of the best times for networking. It feels like every organization throws a fundraiser, holiday party, or happy hour of some kind. More than likely, you attended a few networking events this holiday season. Many people follow up on networking leads and contacts the next day, but during the holidays, this kind of outreach can slip through the cracks.
Make a point to reach out to your contacts, new and old. This is a busy time for everyone, but your contacts will be grateful for your outreach and the options that you can offer them in the new year.
Your Entrepreneurial New Year’s resolutions should above all remind you of your own passion and the reason that you began your business in the first place.
If you are feeling tired or defeated, reward yourself for the good things that are happening in your business and set out positive goals for improvement. And as you get fired up about your improvement goals, don’t forget to take care of yourself and make time for activities that renew you.