For others, it is a time of reuniting with family and friends.

For everyone, though, it heralds the end of the calendar year and a few well-earned days off before 2014 kicks into overdrive.

As the year draws to a close, I use this time to review what I have achieved this year and to make my plans for the new calendar year.

Here is what I will be doing to prepare for 2014, using the acronym “CHRISTMAS” as a guide:

Checklist

The first thing all astute business people need is a good checklist. Start by brainstorming what you need to review and what you need to plan for.

Once you have a list, prioritise your tasks and start with the end in mind, that is, “What do I want to achieve for 2014?”

Health

The first thing to check is your health. Are you looking after yourself? Are you eating healthy food and getting enough exercise?

If you aren’t healthy, you can make all the plans under the sun and you may not be able to execute them because you aren’t well enough.

I make sure I exercise at least four times per week. Make sure your heart rate gets into the fat-burning zone and that you sweat.

Remember, no effort equals no reward.

Risk

What risk are you willing to take on in 2014? Is it time to step up and do something brave and make a huge splash in your career?

Perhaps you can write that book or start on that blog you have been talking about.

At the beginning of every year, I choose one big challenge for the coming 12 months, which often involves a risk for me either personally or financially. If you never take a risk, you may never succeed.

Interests

Make sure that your plan focuses on your interests. If you are slogging away at “stuff” that doesn’t interest or inspire you, then you will never rise above the ordinary. 

Write down 10 things that bring a smile to your face and check to see that you are doing at least four of them somewhere in your life.

It can be at work or at play.

Remember, if you don’t have joy or a smile in your life, you are simply going through the motions.

Strategy

Next, outline your strategy for the year.

What will be your vision for 2014?

Write down three major goals and come up with smaller milestones that you will aim for to enable these bigger goals.

Starting 2014 without a strategy for your business and your personal life is dangerous.

Make a commitment now. Write something down.

Notice I said “business and personal”, as you must have some balance in everything that you do.

Target market

Where did your business come from predominantly this year? Where will it come from next year?

Make sure you are clear on who your target market is. Don’t make the mistake of just saying, “I am happy to work with anyone.” 

Think about this:

•   Who pays you the most money?

•   Who is the easiest customer to work with?

•   Who brings you the most joy?

This is your target market. Aim to work mostly with this group of people.

Be fussy and prepare to give away your dud clients to your competitors.

Media campaign

What methods will you use to promote your business next year?

Besides advertising, you can use the media and social media to promote your business for free.

What will your strategy be?

Think about the many media outlets and social media outlets and focus on just one or two for your major promotions.

Will it be the newspaper, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? 

Whichever method you choose, think about your plan for each month. Ask, “How will I get the attention I need?”

Application

Developing a strategy is important, but having a plan of execution is critical.

What method will you use to make sure you apply the plan of action you have come up with?

Do you have a mentor or coach who can keep you on track and hold your feet to the fire when you are slacking off? 

Finding a mentor or coach is easy — look around your industry and think about the person whom you most admire or look up to. Then, ask him or her to be your mentor.

A coach can be a better proposition. Although you will pay for this service, a coach is trained to work with you to bring out your best.

Skill set

Finally, have you got the right skill set to achieve everything you plan for in 2014?

It may be time to work on your professional development, or attend a training course, read a book or get some coaching on just one aspect of your skill set.

Now get moving and make 2014 a bumper year for your business and personal life!

 

Article by Lindsay Adams, an international speaker with Training Edge International and 2009–2010 international president of the Global Speakers Federation. For details, e-mail Lindsay.adams@trainingedgeasia.com or visit www.trainingedgeasia.com