Starting the new year right for your business

With the festive period behind us, and the new year of work underway, now is a great time to reflect on the year that’s been and develop your personal and business goals for 2022. Taking the time at the start of the year to develop a powerful, yet clear strategy for the next twelve months will pay dividends in the short, medium, and long term.

So, what kind of questions should an entrepreneur be asking as they begin the new year?

One of the best ways to begin developing your strategy is to ask not ‘how are we going to do it?’ but rather ‘what do we want to achieve?’. Clarity of purpose is key and it’s essential therefore that you, and your team have a clear sense of what it is you are aiming to achieve over the coming year.

Clarity of purpose

Entrepreneurship means leadership, and giving those around you — whether customers, employees or investors — a vision of where your business will be in 10 or even 20 years; these end goals serve as a compass to everyone in the business. Though the route may change, the goals remain the same.

A great way to get the new year started is to make sure your stakeholders understand the long-term course your business is on. This clarity of purpose keeps the entire team motivated and aligned since everyone knows what to do to move the business in the right direction.

With these long-term goals set, a business owner can define objectives for the near future and medium-term, understanding how the business and its products should develop in that time.

With your goals in place too, you can begin to delegate responsibilities for achieving them. Define who is responsible for each priority in the business for 2022, so that each team member is focused and aligned with achieving those results. While day to day business will distract people, and divert action, setting these clear goals early on will ensure they underscore everything your team does over the next 12 months.

For further reading on the power that comes with clarity of purpose, this article is a great place to start.

Focusing on end goals rather than daily process also gives you a reference point so that any daily decision can be measured against the question — is this helping us achieve our goals?

Future Planning

Another great thing to do as the new year gets underway is to anticipate the year ahead, and the challenges and opportunities it might bring. Starting this process early allows for any changes or adjustments in the plan and avoids starting the new year in uncertainty.

The best plans do not need to be complex and elaborate. Start with the following questions and refer back to successes and failures from the previous year to try and find the answers.

– Where could your business have been stronger in 2021, and how can this be improved in 2022?
– Where is your business aiming to grow this year?
– Which systems worked in 2021, and which didn’t?
– What challenges might your industry or market face over the coming year?

Indicators and measurements of success

Goals don’t mean anything unless you have something to measure them by.

Having the correct tools to track progress will provide the most accurate data and allow an entrepreneur to make better decisions and solve specific problems. Measuring progress will also help employees stay motivated towards completing their specific responsibilities. Decide now how progress will be measured in 2022, and ensure those around you understand this.

Consider global trends

As well as taking a forward look at the trends specific to your industry, the new year is also a good time to consider the global trends that might shape the coming year.

Emerging technologies such as fintech and AI could be utilised by the business, but there may also be social or political trends that have an impact. Many are predicting that 2022 will be a year of recovery, if these predictions are correct, how can you position your business to benefit from this recovery?

2022 could also be a year of inflation however. While much is uncertain, being aware of these trends will give you an advantage in that you can plan for any eventuality, for example price increases, and ensure that you have suitable responses to them.

Preparation is always key to success, in business and elsewhere. Taking the time during the early days of the new year to prepare for the future and set a goal is the perfect business resolution. By asking the right questions, and thinking long term, you can begin laying the foundations for a successful 2022!

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, please head to my website for further content.

I’m Philip J. Keezer, president and founder of management consulting firm Grindstone Capital. Dedicated to hard work, learning, positivity and accountability.