Can you believe it’s December!
Where did 2016 go?
How has the year been for you? Have you met your targets and goals for the year?
Have you thought about what you could improve and implement for next year?

This is a great time of year to start to think about your deadlines for next year.

It has been said before, but the best part of working for yourself is that you are your own boss, and the worst part of working for yourself is that you are your own boss.

What I mean by that, is that when you work for yourself, there isn’t always someone to hold your feet to the fire. So when you look back at what you wanted to achieve this year – how much of it have you actually achieved and what are the reasons behind that – be honest with yourself.

I know I can easily fall into this trap – I think I have been telling myself for most of 2016 that I needed to implement new newsletters, but I spent most of the year putting it off until the following month, again and again! Why….because the deadline wasn’t strong enough – I had only told myself.

Now I have a business mentor, someone who I work with monthly, who understands my business and knows what I need to do to move the business forward each month. We discuss ideas and what I need to implement and then we put DEADLINES to them, and as we meet monthly, I have someone to answer to if I have not followed it through. This makes me more accountable. It means I have a reason to get things done!

Setting deadlines for yourself and keeping yourself accountable is of the utmost importance, especially in ensuring that your business is continually moving forward. Knowing that you have a week left to finish something focuses your mind on that particular project, giving you directed purpose for the next time you have free time.
How many of us will rush around during the last week before the Christmas holidays to ensure we have ticked everything off our ‘to do’ list before we take a break? Imagine how productive you would be if you worked like that to deadlines every week – where could your business be this time next year…..

One of the things I try to do each Christmas holidays is to map out my marketing plans for the year ahead and put deadlines to them.

If you are lucky enough to take some time out over the Christmas period this year, why not use some of it to start planning some of your DEADLINES for 2017, think about the following areas…..

Advertising
Is your current advert working for you? Are you getting the return you expected? Do you advertise monthly or seasonal offers to your customers? Did you know that when you’re advertising with The Link Directories, you can change your art work on a monthly basis if you wish? So long as your copy is received by the print deadlines, we are happy to change it for you.

Promotions
So start to think about what kind of promotions you are looking to run next year; can you tie any of these in with the seasons ie Valentines, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Summer Holiday, Halloween etc. If so plan them now and have a think about what advertising you will require to make them successful, and when you will want to be advertising in order for the promotion to be a success.

Products
Are there any new products you are introducing next year. Plan when you are going to implement them and then how and when you are going to advertise them to your customers.  It is often best to pick a date in the future of when you want to run your promotion or introduce new products and then work backwards until you reach today. Break apart all those tasks and make sure they fit within the time frame you established.

Finances
Finances, have a think about how much you would like to increase your turnover by next year. Think about what extra outgoings you may want to budget for, are there any nice holidays or breaks away that you would like to take next year! Then rather than getting scared by the annual amount required, break it down into 1/4s (this may help you decide on what promotions you may want to run each ¼) and further than that, break it down into monthly and even weekly amounts, and this may then seem more achievable.

Write these figures down and reflect on them monthly and if they are tied into promotions then soon you will be able to see which promotions are working best for you and so duplicate these throughout the year.

These are just a few areas within your business that can help grow your business during 2017 if you plan and implement DEADLINES to them.
The key as we said though is to be accountable to these deadlines, so whether its telling a business mentor, or informing staff or colleagues or even family members, just write the actions down, give yourself a deadline and work towards it and be accountable – you never know what you might achieve…..

Any questions? Just get in touch — Sarah Gerken at Link Directories.

Sarah Gerken
Author: Sarah Gerken