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3 steps every small business owner can take for the New Year

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As the busy holiday season comes to a close and you ready for a brand new year be sure to take a few moments to reflect on the past year and set your goals for the upcoming year. You have spent the past couple of months dealing with the chaotic rush of the holiday season while mixing in personal and family obligations; maybe the last thing on your mind was coming up with a business plan for the upcoming New Year.

However, it’s not too late for even the busiest of small business owners to take a few simple steps to get the New Year started on the right track.

The first step is to look backward. Assess the past year looking for both successes and failures. Did you accomplish the goals that you set for 2013? Did you even have any goals for 2013? You may find it helpful to skim through your appointment book looking for projects or ideas with potential that may have been sidelined for one reason or another.

The next step is to look forward. Now that you have looked over the last year and what you did or didn’t accomplish, start thinking about what you want to happen in 2014. What goals have you set for your business? Are there some new projects or ideas you’d like to implement or maybe give some old ones another look.

Finally, the last step is to create an action plan. Not in your head and not on a 20 page report. Chances are if you haven’t done this already, a long formal business plan is not in your comfort zone anyway. Nonetheless it must be written and it’s best if written on a single page. Write down in your own words what you want to accomplish this year for your business, what action steps you want to take to make it happen.

Of course it’s not going to be the type of plan that you would learn in business school. However, if you haven’t done one yet, a simple one is better than not having any at all. If you haven’t started one then the best time to start one is now.

Now that you have at least something written down, you can reference it and tweak it and even upgrade it to a more formal plan throughout the year. The whole process can be accomplished in an hour or two and you can be ready to ring in the New Year with a track to run on. Happy New Year!

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