It may still be early November, but it’s the perfect time to start planning for 2018. Everyone seems to be in planning mode, setting goals and intentions for the new year with their shiny new planners.
But yearly planning should be a process, where you spend time looking back at this year and looking forward to where you want to be 12 months from now. It’s not something you can do in an afternoon.
With that in mind, let’s dive into what you can do now and through the end of the year to be ready to make a huge impact in 2018. This is what you need to do before you start planning.
- Review Your Financials
Do you know if you were profitable this year? How much did you spend on business expenses? What’s your estimated tax bill? Reviewing your financials is a big piece of closing out one year and getting ready for the next year because you need to be able to make smart decisions when you’re planning.
When you know your numbers, you can make better decisions about where you’re going to invest or grow and what needs to wait until you hit another business milestone.
- Dump Tools You Aren’t Using
All those apps, programs and other tools you signed up for are draining your bank account if you’re not actively using them in your business. Go through your bank and credit card statements to figure out exactly what you’re paying for on a monthly or yearly basis. If it doesn’t play a role in your efficiency or if you don’t use it as part of your client work, it might be time to cancel that subscription.
- Collect Paperwork from Independent Contractors
If you’ve paid an individual or company more than $600 this year, you’ll need a W-9 on file from them. On the same note, you may need to send W-9s to people you’ve done work for, depending on your business type. Check in with your accountant or tax preparer to find out exactly what you need to have available come tax time.
- Analyze Your Contractors’ Roles
Sometimes, the people in your business no longer serve the roles you hired them for. It may be time to analyze what each contractor does for you and move them into new roles. For example, if you have a virtual assistant who is managing projects and tech for you, does it make more sense to more clearly define her role and hire a new VA?
Or maybe you need your VA to grow into a new role that’s outside her abilities, making it time to part ways and move on. This step isn’t always fun, but it’s necessary for the livelihood of your business.
- Do a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis helps you to strategically look at your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats as a business owner. If you’re on my email list, I’ll walk you through how to do this step by step this Friday.
But essentially you need to know exactly where you stand so you can capitalize on your strengths, hire out for your weaknesses, take on opportunities and plan for your threats or obstacles.
- Create a Strategic Plan
A strategic plan is more than your goals for the coming months and year. It’s a deep dive into what’s most important in your business right now and how you’re going to get there.
Creating a strategic plan is something you should do at the beginning of every year, then again every quarter to make sure you’re on track and to make any adjustments needed.
- Define (or Revisit) Your Mission, Vision, Values
Your values may never change, but your mission and your vision for your business might. It’s important for the core of your business that you have these written down and that you review to make sure they still resonate with you.
If you have a team, make sure to get input from them (so there’s buy-in) or share it with them. Your team members should be able to speak to your mission and vision and hold similar values.
Want my free guide to help you define (or refine) your mission, vision, and values? Grab it right here:
Let’s Get Ready for the New Year!
After knowing all the pieces to kicking off a successful 2018, how are you feeling about your planning? Are you ready to dive in? Find out what kind of planner you really are with my fun quiz below!
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