Happy 2017! With the holiday rush officially over, hopefully everyone’s had a chance to catch their breath after another successful finale. With another year in the books, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and give yourself some time and space to organize your thoughts, reflect on the impact the past year had on your business and look towards the future.

Here’s how you can start 2017 off on the right foot, and stay focused on your goals until 2018.

Reflect on previous successes and challenges, then recalibrate

You might already do this for your personal goals, especially when embarking on a new year, but it’s vital to do so for your business as well. Identify what your most valuable drivers of new leads and repeat business have been in recent years, and how you can devote more time and resources to grow these even more in the coming year. And as you go through and tally your final numbers to close the books, use these figures as benchmarks that will allow you to set goals for the coming year that will keep you focused on the big picture. Similarly, it’s important to learn from past issues so you can learn from missteps and continue to refine your approach and execution in future efforts.

Try asking yourself the following questions:

  • How has the business changed in the past few years?
  • How do you see it maturing over the next few years? Have you expanded your line of products and services? In what area will you continue to do so? Think about what makes the most sense, and find a path to sustainable growth.
  • How has the landscape changed?
  • What new competitors have cropped up vs. which competitors have been vanquished?
  • What new innovations could my business be taking advantage of to find greater success?

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Set clear goals for yourself, your business and your employees

And while you’re setting goals and plotting for the year ahead, bring your employees in on the process as it’s a great time to get everyone aligned on challenges, priorities and company direction for the year. Start by reminding them of your business’s mission statement and founding principles or values. You’ll find that transparency can go a long way. Trusting and empowering your employees allows you all to approach problem-solving more collaboratively and effectively.

This also helps set priorities and gets everyone excited about the impact they can have in the coming year. You might even want to set clear goals for each employee, department or role. This will allow you all to track your progress throughout the year, and ensure everyone takes ownership for his or her role in driving more revenue for the business. You can also try gamifying this system and including bonuses or rewards for those who meet or exceed their goals. This is a surefire way to keep everyone accountable and eager to delight customers.

Refresh your marketing

A clean, new year is also a great excuse to give your marketing assets an update. Go through and do a complete audit on all your marketing materials, including the following:

  • Logo
  • Brochures, menus or any other print materials
  • Website
  • Blog
  • Social pages

Is it time for a brand refresh? Even the biggest brands take time to update the look and feel of their design. But even if you’re not due for an overhaul make sure that it is consistent across all your assets. If you changed the font on your homepage, it should be updated everywhere else. This holds true for your business info as well. Be sure that it is consistently formatted everywhere, including on any advertising and on third-party review sites.

Additionally, it’s also a great time to look at the tools you depend on to distribute your marketing messages and drive more foot traffic. What innovations can add even more value, or save you time and frustration? There are easy ways to automate previously manual and tedious tasks. The less time and attention you have to spend on attracting customers, the more you can spend attending to them and ensuring a stellar experience! But with countless new tools and platforms all touting immeasurable benefits, be sure to do your due diligence and determine which make the most sense for your type of business, budget, and goals. (We’re partial to industry-leading solutions that are proven to drive more revenue AND save time!). Keeping an eye on the road ahead is one of the best ways to ensure you stay on track for the rest of the year!