2013 is a month away, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until January 1st to set your business plan in motion.
Nope, here are five things you can do NOW to set yourself up for success in 2013.
5 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success in 2013
1. Choose your top four goals for the year
Notice I said goals, not resolutions. Why?
Let’s look at the definition of each word to find out.
Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something
Goal: the result or achievement toward which effort is directed
See? Resolutions are just decisions, whereas goals involve actual effort.
So choose your top four goals for the new year and then write them down.
Some examples of goals might be doubling your email list or landing ten new wholesale accounts or increasing sales by 25%.
Got ‘em? Good. Now we can move on to step two.
2. Break them down
In this step, we’re going to take your top four goals for 2013 and break them down into the specific actions it will take you to achieve them.
Breaking your goals up into smaller, manageable steps makes them much less overwhelming and increases your chances of actually making them happen. If you can assign dates to each step, even better.
Here’s an example for you.
Let’s pretend I’m still selling Blankeaze. One of my goals this year is to earn $2,000 per month from Blankeaze sales. Now let’s figure out what it will take for me to achieve that goal.
To earn $2k per month, each month I will have to:
- Sell 87 units at the retail price of $22.95 -OR-
- Sell 160 units at the wholesale price of $12.50
To make either of those happen, I could:
- Pitch the media to land press coverage that’ll drive traffic to my website
- Install a pop up window on my website that welcomes new visitors and shares current specials and discounts with them by January 15, 2013
- Employ sales reps in the major US regions by May 1, 2013 to increase my wholesale accounts
Then, to make those steps happen, I could drill them down even further like this:
I will get media coverage by:
- Finding media opportunities on HARO and PitchRate and responding to at least 3 of them each day.
- Purchase Get Famous, which will teach me everything I need to know to DIY my publicity strategy
- Add a killer media kit to my website to make my products very “press friendly” by February 1, 2013.
Now it’s your turn – take your four goals for 2013 and drill them down into the specific steps that’ll lead you to success.
3. Make them real
Ok, now that we’ve chosen four goals and broken them down, we need to “make them real”. How do we do that?
By writing down and reviewing our goals each morning and night, and by keeping a visual reminder of them in plain sight at all times.
Here are just a few ideas for visual reminders:
- Hang a Year at a Glance calendar in your office
- Cover one of your office walls with black chalkboard or dry-erase paint
- Create a vision board and download it as your screensaver
- Set up a Google calendar, plug in your goals + dates and use the customizable reminders option to ping you daily by email or pop-up
And to motivate yourself even more, be sure to record your actions and progress somewhere each day. It could be in a notebook, on a simple spreadsheet, or in my friend Srini’s favorite goal-tracking tool, Pick Four. There’s nothing like checking things off to keep you moving forward.
4. Go on autopilot
As a small business owner, there are certain things you must do in order for your business to survive and thrive. Luckily, many of them can be put on autopilot.
Yep, you can save time and increase productivity by automating repetitive tasks. And by repetitive tasks, we mean things like:
- Tracking income and expenses
- Sending welcome or thank you emails
- Sharing blog posts on social media
- Delivering content and courses
- Accepting payments
- Building your email list
- Scheduling appointments
Here are just some of our favorites:
- Outright for bookkeeping
- MailChimp for email lists and autoresponders
- HootSuite for social media scheduling
- Twitterfeed for auto-posting articles to social media
- Schedulicity for scheduling appointments
- Tweetily for maximizing your blog post archives
- PayPal for accepting payments
5. Hire help
Much as we’d like to think we can run our businesses all by ourselves, we really can’t. Not if we want our businesses to grow. And definitely not if we hope to have some sort of personal life.
Hiring help is one of the best decisions you’ll make and some of the best money you’ll ever spend.
So, whether you need childcare, a web designer, a virtual assistant or an SEO guru, there’s never been an easier time to find it with sites like Care.com, eLance, Zirtual, Task Rabbit, HireMyMom.com and Angie’s List. You might even find the help you need in our Marketplace.
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2…
The countdown is on to the New Year. I hope you’ll use this month to use these ideas to set yourself up for success in 2013.
How are you going to set yourself up for success in 2013? Tell us in the comments!
I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/