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Why New Year’s resolutions don’t work for business

Bold business plans should be made on every day of the year – except for December 31.

With 10 years of business coaching under my belt, I am very familiar with the common mistakes business people make – and the grand New Year’s resolution sits high on my list.

I am quite passionate about this one because I believe that the holiday period should be enjoyed but also managed well, in order to set up the business for the next year.

New Year’s resolutions are usually not very well thought out. It’s like you are jumping straight into the new year without reflecting on the previous year to work out what you really want or need.

So here’s my checklist of nine questions to ask yourself before wrapping up your business in 2012, in order to have a more successful 2013. I guarantee it will work much better than riding on the (brief) wave of a resolution:

1.    What really worked well this year?

Was it a particular client you worked with, a project you were involved in, a new software you implemented, or a change you made in your business?

2.    What were your best sellers and why were they so successful?

Why were they successful? Who bought these? (Was it who you expected?)

Were they successful because you put your time and energy and resources into them or for some other reason?

3.    Who were your most valuable three clients and what were they buying from you?

Do you value these clients appropriately? Remember that the likelihood is that people who are already buying from you will buy more from you next year.

4.    Who were your most valuable three clients in terms of referrals?

Generally it’s accepted that around 20% of your clients will give you referrals. Do you thank them appropriately? If they give you one referral they are likely to give you more, so focus on making that relationship even stronger.

5.    What was the total business revenue and how much did you personally earn?

Where was the money coming from and what were your greatest expenses? How can you plan for how much you want to earn next year if you don’t even know what was happening with the figures this year?

6.    What didn’t work?

Was it some marketing you did like placing an ad, or a business relationship that didn’t work?

7.    What made you feel heavy?

So much so that you put off doing it or it took you ages?

8.    Was there a product or service that didn’t sell well?

And what sort of time and energy did you put into it? Sometimes we just right these things off when we didn’t put any effort into marketing them.

9.    What did you notice about the year as a whole and what does that mean to you and the business in 2013?

I am a firm believer in making brave decisions in business, but the truth of that bravery comes down to careful planning before knowing when to make the leap.

If you do want to be one of those successful people who learns from the past  so you can be even more successful in 2013, then you need to reflect in this purposeful, logical way.

What do you think?

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Maureen Pound

Maureen Pound

Maureen is an entrepreneur, trainer, coach and speaker. For over 10 years she has coached and trained thousands of business people - from large companies such as ANZ and Stockland, right down to smaller successful niche businesses. She believes in working together to be bold in business, and shares her knowledge through blog posts and videos on <a href="http://www.maureenpound.com">her website</a>.

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