By now you’ve at least started preparing for the winter holiday season. Through all the website updating, trips to the post office, customer service questions, and million other things you do to make the most of the holidays, it’s tough to even think about 2014.
However, this is the perfect time to begin preparations for next year’s path in your business. After all, you’re the one who will decide on what direction it goes – will you go in a more customer-centric direction or focus on your upcoming product releases?
How are you supposed to make all these big decisions when you’re in the throes of winter holiday madness? Luckily, you don’t have to be super creative. Just use data you gathered from 2013 to influence 2014.
Everything you do in business is a learning opportunity. Every transaction, customer interaction, social media campaign, and every tax form filled out is a chance to improve things the next time.
Goof up on your taxes? Chances are you’re not going to do the same thing next time. Did a customer positively react to a new product? Most likely you’re going to continue with that product and possibly fine tune it even more. To give up on it when you got great feedback would be silly.
This is why going back over 2013 is so important in deciding how you’re going to approach 2014. When literally every moment you were in business gave you a learning moment, you have a lot of moments to go over. How did they affect you? What did they teach you about the business, and possibly more importantly, about yourself as a leader and owner?
Try to look at everything from an objective viewpoint. In other words, what were the real world outcomes of each event? For instance, you may have had an emotional reaction to something a customer said, but did it actually affect your bottom line? One may make you feel bad/good, but the other might actually advance your business in some way.
Also take into consideration any plans you may have had for your business – where did you see your path heading in 2013? Did you get there? If not, it may be time to revisit those plans and evaluate whether they were viable in the first place.
Sometimes it’s easy to see the end of the year as a little boring and predictable, especially considering it happens every year. However, these little moments can be perfect for taking the time to step back and figure out if you are where you want to be. If we didn’t have these momentous occasions, we would have our nose against the grindstone 365 a year.
So compare where you wanted to be at the beginning of the year (or if you started your business this year, where you were when you opened shop) and what your experience has taught you is the best route. Is that same path totally feasible knowing what you do about how your company works? If so, isn’t it time you got started?
We hope to be the first ones to wish you a successful 2014!