As we start off 2017, with all the hope and excitement that a New Year brings, it is important to take the time to look back to see all you and your business accomplished. As a business owner, you need to think and focus on the positive but you also need to understand and learn from the negative. When I look at 2016, I want to look at it all: the good and the bad, what worked and what didn’t work, where I messed up and where I really knocked it out of the park; and what I learned from all of those moments.
Today, I am sharing my top 10 questions that I use to help me inspire my business for the New Year.
These questions will help you think of different moments over the last year and how they affected your business. This can take as long or as short as you would like, just put in as much thought as you are able.
I hope these questions help you lay out an inspiring new plan for your business in 2017 and remember to be thankful for all your successes in 2016, learn from your mistakes, and dream big for 2017!
What worked really well in 2016?
Take a few moments to reflect on what worked really well for you in 2016. Think of the things that went smoothly for your business over this last year.
Examples: Did you use a new accounting software that saved you countless hours of work? Did you outsource some tasks that were weighing you down? Did you launch a product that was an instant home run?
What was the biggest thing to happen to your business in 2016?
What was the biggest accomplishment you had in 2016? Focus on the biggest and best thing that happened to you this year (and maybe think of a few ways to duplicate that success!)
Examples: Did you land a huge client? Did you launch your next product? Did you take a huge risk and reap the reward?
What surprised you in 2016?
What is something that happened with the business that surprised you for the better this year? Think of something that you didn’t expect to perform as well as it did. (You may also want to think about how you can look for more of these opportunities in 2017.)
Examples: Did you maybe go to a networking event and make a lot of new contacts and friends? Did you try SnapChat and get surprised by the response? Did you try a new email marketing format and get more sales from it?
What did you learn from 2016?
Now focus on the year as a whole- if you could walk away with 1-3 lessons from 2016 what would they be? What did you really learn or understand at a greater level this year? What lessons did this year hold for you- it is important to truly learn these lessons so you don’t have to learn them again!
Learn from your Mistakes:
We all hate to look at the negative because we don’t want to admit that we were wrong. There is so much you can learn from your shortcomings- take just a little bit of time to think about a few things that didn’t work, so you can learn from them. Don’t spend too much time in the negative and don’t beat yourself up for any past mistakes.
What drained all your energy in 2016?
What did you dread doing or put off forever? What just plain sucked the life out of you? When you discover what your biggest drain was last year, I would seriously suggest looking at ways to cut out or outsource this task.
Examples: Maybe trying to understand and get out payroll on time? Or trying to keep up with Social Media? Maybe it was a horrible client, that just wasn’t worth it.
What was the biggest mistake you made in 2016?
You had them and I had them… mistakes; we don’t like talking about them but they happen. Think about the past year and where you messed up. Don’t beat yourself up over it, whatever it was, you learned from it.
Examples: Was there a missed opportunity? Maybe you botched a deadline or you didn’t deliver something to a client that you promised you would.
Where did you fail your business this year?
Not where did your business fail but where did you fail your business. Where did you let your business down? Think about when you needed to step up for your business and you didn’t, this will be a huge learning step.
Examples: Maybe you did not put in the hours you swore you would? Didn’t promote or try to grow your business? Let doubt kill a business idea before it even became real?
And now to dream! Dream long, hard and big. If your dreams don’t scare you then dream bigger! 2017 is a year that anything could happen- take this time to envision your dreams then go out and grab them!
Where do you want to be at the end of 2017?
When you read my 2018 blog, where do you want to be? Take a few moments to dream all the big dreams, think about all the things you want to happen in 2017 and where you want to be at the end of this year.
Examples: What does your business look like? How much money are you making, are you in the same location, do you have new employees? Did you finally hire someone to help you with all your marketing, maybe you live on a houseboat in Fiji?
What is something you were so passionate about in 2016 but just didn’t have time for?
What is something you really wish you did for your business in 2016 that you just didn’t get to? Whatever that it was, it’s not too late. You need to make sure you do things in your business that excite and inspire you- find out what these are.
Examples: Was it teaching a class? Maybe doing some local volunteering? Or even doing online workshops or speaking at a networking event?
What specific goals do you wish to accomplish in 2017?
Now is the time to get specific. I love to write down my goals so I can look back at them at the end of the year and see how much I have accomplished. Be specific here, don’t just say “I want to grow my business,” say I want to bring in over $14,000 new dollars a month into my business. I want an office right downtown that has the perfect view, I want to have only the best employees on my team and treat them the best. Get as specific as you can. Most of these will change over the year, but that is totally ok, you can change your goals at any time- but it is nice to have goals to move forward with.
Once you answer these 10 questions you should have a pretty clear picture of where you have been and where you are going. Use this information to create action. Put more energy into the things that excite you and cut out the energy drains. Look for opportunities on where you can do more for your business and where you can step it up this year. You are the only one who can create change in your life- if you want more, then you need to start working towards more. Your business can grow beyond your dreams if you put the time and effort into building it. Now that you know what you want, the easy part is over- now you just need to take small steps every day to make that happen!