A new year is fast approaching and with that comes the need for strategic planning and preparing to meet or exceed our present year’s accomplishments.
To truly grow our business, however, we must learn from our past and change those things that prevented us from succeeding. It’s almost impossible to improve (either professionally or personally) without this perspective and clarity. So, before we look at ways to set the stage for 2014, let’s take a look at this past year and determine the areas where modifications in what we have done, or are doing, need to be made.
First, take some time to read over the following questions:
- Did you meet your 2013 goals and if not, what were the factors that prevented you from doing so?
- Which single change did you make this year that brought the most profit?
- Where did your business come from in 2013? (With a good tracking system in place, this information should be readily available to you.)
- Are you satisfied with your business growth this year over last?
Now, write down the answers to these questions, but beware. Be truthful in your answers! Taking your own inventory can be uncomfortable, but it is this discomfort that brings real change and forward momentum. With these questions answered you will be better equipped to focus on what you need to do to make 2014 a stellar year.
Looking ahead, there are four distinct areas that, when defined and documented, will ensure your success in the coming year(s):
1. Professional Goals
Be realistic in your goals, but don’t shortchange yourself either. If you feel a 15 percent growth in commissions is too conservative, reach for 20 percent. Break down what your desired percentage increase would look like on a monthly basis. Is it doable? If not, determine what you need to do to ensure that it is. If you are a single agent, maybe adding an assistant/transaction coordinator to help with your nonsales tasks will free up your time to sell more. Or maybe you know of someone who would like to join you as a buyers agent.
2. Evaluate Strengths
We excel in both areas of strength and interest. What you gravitate toward are also within these two areas. With this in mind, when looking at your sales from this past year, where have they come from?
- Marketing online
- Marketing offline
- Social media
- Niche marketing
Whichever it is, that is where your strengths lie and where you should focus your attention moving into the new year. If you are not a great writer or cannot maintain a blog, don’t continue trying. But if you’re seeing great results from marketing on social channels, do it more. Think: The path of least resistance.
3. Take Stock of Your Tools
If you are anything like me, when you go into your closet and look around, you’ll see many pieces of clothing that you haven’t worn in a very long time but just can’t seem to let go of. You say to yourself, “Oh, I’ll wear them again. I can’t get rid of them….” But we never seem to, and they just keep taking up space. The same can be said about our business tools. Take a look at which tools you have and weed out those not serving their intended purpose. This could include software, hardware, apps and more.
4. Personal Goals
Having been an entrepreneur for 12 years, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to take time for yourself. But, taking time and setting personal goals are just as important as your professional aspirations, if not more. Schedule time on your calendar now for vacations, books you want to read, and anything else that will fulfill your social dreams.
We hope these ideas will help make your upcoming year a record-setting one for you. Here’s to a happy, healthy and profitable 2014!