The new year is right around the corner, so it's time to do some strategic planning. If the thought of strategic planning makes you twitch, don't worry. Planning doesn't have to be complicated. The goal is to step outside of your box so you can see things from a different angle. The strategic planning process can be as structured (a three-week deep-dive) or as unstructured (a Tuesday afternoon whiteboard session) as you need it to be. Just make sure that when you're doing it, you touch on the big four.
As a business owner, your company's greatest asset is your way of thinking: your vision, your insight, and your heart. It's that crystal-clear image, that thought of what could be and not what is, that differentiates you from your competition. It's your thinking, your insight, your vision, and your heart that helps your business stand out. These things keep your company balanced through great news, hard times, new projects, frustrations, first launches, fifty failures, new clients, and losses.
It's YOU who builds an amazing team, not your culture. It's your way of thinking that attracts new customers, not your website. It's your vision that demands attention, not your five to seven tweets a day. And it's your heart that will change the world, not a line of code. That's not to say those other things aren't important; they are. Culture, teams, customers, code, websites, and social media are all essential for success, but they are not, and never will be, a replacement for you.
As a business owner, you are the be-all-end-all of your company. You are the individual who is responsible for driving your team, building a message worthy of sharing, and creating a product that is deserving of development. It's your thinking, your vision, your insight, and your heart that started this thing, and it will eventually be you who determines its fate.
Regardless of where you are on your journey - starting, trying to maintain, growing or closing - the single most effective way to make your business better next year is to give it some of your undivided attention. Take an hour, either right before the year ends or shortly after, to
- revisit why you're doing what you're doing and get re-jazzed about it.
- acknowledge and embrace the successes and failures of last year.
- create some concrete goals for 2016.
Then document that stuff and pull it out every time you initiate a new project, bring on a new person or consider a new effort. Make sure that everything you do next year, everything you invest in, gets you closer to that image you're chasing. Because, at the end of the day, it's your thinking, vision, insight, and heart all together that makes you different. It's that difference that keeps your customers choosing you.