Clear the Decks and Deck the Halls!

“A good goal is like a strenuous exercise. It makes you stretch.”

~ Mary Kay Ash

Clear the Decks and Deck the Halls!

By Andrea Novakowski

It’s that time again. Time to look back at your business during the past year and put together a plan for the upcoming year. How can you let go of what’s not working and make room for what you really want: a different approach to your work, more emphasis on areas that are the most profitable, time to focus on the activities you enjoy most? Be brave and trust the process. Notice which things about your business feel good and which things feel uninspired, hard, or boring.

Read on for three questions that will help you get started.

What will you stop doing? 

What will you continue doing? 

What will you start doing? 

What will you stop doing? This year I learned the importance of getting rid of stuff that no longer serves me. It’s a counter intuitive path to success, because we tend to think we have to keep doingmore and more. I gave myself permission to scrutinize the things I’d been doing unquestioningly. I got clear on my target market (leaders and business owners) and let go of connections that didn’t relate to this market. Clearing the decks allowed me to make room for the kind of business I fully enjoy. One of the happy results was that I worked with fewer clients while still maintaining my revenue goal.

Take a realistic look at your business and note where you’re doing things just because you should. (For example, I should be writing a book, I should be an expert in social media, I should know x, y, and z inside out, even though it’s not my area of expertise.) Also assess your daily work habits – the emails you automatically answer as they come in, the meetings you attend that don’t bring you business. Do you still do things the way you’ve done them for years, even though they don’t provide any value to you or your organization?

What will you continue doing? Having assessed your business over the last year, which areas had the biggest payoff for you? Was it the referrals from your contacts at your networking group? Was it a talk you gave at a conference of your peers? Or a new product you introduced to the marketplace? (Maybe it was all three!) Identify the most productive activities and make sure to build them into your 2015 plan. 

What will you start doing? Again, based on what you’ve learned by looking closely at your business this past year, what elements might be missing? It’s all right if you’re not 100 percent clear on this one. Perhaps it’s time to update your website so it highlights your top-selling product. Maybe you need to start blogging or speaking at industry functions to help get your name and business out there. Notice which ideas feel right. Pay attention to your head, your heart, and your gut. 

Even if you don’t have complete clarity on a specific plan for 2015, just taking a break from some of the activities that haven’t been helping your business can give you room for greater awareness of the steps you need to take in the upcoming year.

YOUR CALL TO ACTION

Your Goal Setting Kit for 2015Ready to get started? Download my Goal-Setting Kit. It will help you capture the ideas generated by this Tip and turn them into goals.