I have been reading a lot of lists lately, and one that really resonated with me was 13 Actions to Take in January for a Successful New Year, from Forbes.com. While they are excellent tips for the start of the year, you could start doing them any time of year!
Here are the four critical business actions that I know will have a significant impact on your business, with my spin on why they are essential.
Work On Your Business Every Week
Setting time aside once a week to work on your business is one of the critical actions you need to take to stay on top of your marketing, finances, goals, etc. Every client I work with has a reason why they can’t, even my marketing agency client! But I make it a non-negotiable task, and they end up with a new habit that makes their business stronger, more profitable, and easier to run. Yup. EASIER. You have to make it a priority.
HOW TO DO IT:
- Make an Appointment: Choose a day and time, then HONOR it. You have to treat yourself like an important client in your own business!
- Partner Up: Ask a business colleague to be your accountability partner. It’s so much easier to start a new habit if someone else is doing it too. HOW TO DO IT:
- DON’T pick a spouse, close friend, or relative! They will let you off the hook too easily.
- When you complete your time working on your business, send your partner a text to let them know you did what you committed to do. It makes a HUGE difference when you know someone is expecting you to do it.
Celebrate Your Successes
I’ve seen tips about celebrating the previous year’s successes in January, but why wait? I recommend each month or even week you acknowledge and celebrate what you’ve accomplished.
HOW TO DO IT:
- Keep a running list with dates to help you remember everything you’ve done.
- Don’t only count a new client or a new sale, keep track of things like redesigning your business cards, figuring out new software, adding an opt-in form to your website, etc. These are victories because they require you to stretch, focus, and learn something new.
Commit to A Quarterly Check-In
Setting goals in January is great, but if you wait until December to look at your progress, you miss the opportunity to adjust and achieve them.
HOW TO DO IT:
- Pick a day in March, June, and September.
- Block out 2 hours and consider that meeting with yourself non-negotiable. No canceling!
- Take out your goals and assess where you are, review what’s working and what’s not, and write down what you need to do to keep making progress.
Identify the Experiential ‘Why’ Behind The Goals
Believe it or not, you don’t want the goal. You want the experience you think the goal will create. Executive life coach Matthew Ferry, a Forbes.com contributor, explains that your goal might be to feel joy, be happy, feel secure, or be celebrated.
HOW TO DO IT:
- Ask yourself this question over and over, “What’s important about that?”
- If your goal is two new clients, ask yourself why that’s important.
- Keep asking that question about each answer you come up with until you reach the ultimate experience you are trying to create
- Focus on creating that experience in the year ahead.
Summary: Make This Work For You
Business success depends on taking critical actions all year long – not just in January. I boiled the Forbes.com list down to the four that I think are simple, doable, and critical to your bottom line. I know how difficult it can be to start doing all of these consistently, so make it work for you by doing some of them periodically, instead of weekly. Here’s when to do what and why:
Annually: Identify the Experiential ‘Why’ Behind the Goals: do this at least once a year to clarify the experience you want to create (aka your goal), so you can focus on making progress toward it every week of the year.
Quarterly: Celebrate Your Successes: Ideally, you should do this every week but do it at least once a quarter. Add it to your quarterly review agenda.
Quarterly: Commit to A Quarterly Check-In: Do it, and you’ll feel more confident because you will know exactly where you are on the road to achieving your goals.
Weekly: Work On Your Business Every Week: This is the most important one. If you do this every week, you will have consistent marketing, up-to-date financial records, and peace of mind.