You’ve probably been reflecting on all that 2017 was, and with renewed excitement, look to what 2018 might bring. Maybe you are not quite as fired up about what you do as you once were. Maybe your growth has stagnated and your enthusiasm has, too. Or, you had a great year and are ready to take it to the next level. Invest the time and effort to go through these 10 steps and watch what happens. This process will enable you to continue this year with intention, purpose, and a plan to propel your business and your love for it, all at the same time.

  1. Review the previous year with your support staff. Gather those who work with you and for you. Ask what went well last year. Thank them for their contribution. Ask what opportunities for growth and improvement they see. Really listen, validate, and empower them to take charge in making their ideas and suggestions a reality. Trying new things is an effective way to get beyond simply doing the same things over and over. It also energizes and engages those around you to let them take ownership of seeing their ideas come to fruition. Remember, it takes risks to keep attaining success. You can always re-adjust.
  2. Do some serious self-evaluation. Take time to reflect on what you think went well last year and where you see areas for potential improvement and possibility for growth. Take into account the feedback from your team. Write down and congratulate yourself on what you accomplished in 2017. Use this time to also note changes you see that are necessary and areas to develop further in the coming year.
  3. Write out specific goals with a timeline. Write out your greater goals, plans and intentions for your business. List each goal, the steps to get there, and target dates to get it into place. If you have support staff, discuss who can take on various steps to make things happen in a timely and efficient manner. Give them an opportunity to choose things that interest them or align with their talents the most. Take on something that stretches you and your business. Often the most difficult and scary challenges are the most fruitful.
  4. Don’t force plans you really don’t want to do. Really think, “How committed am I to achieving each goal? Does it honor my values and true hopes and desires?” Adjust the plan if it doesn’t really fit you. Forced plans rarely succeed. This one may sound odd, but is important. If you deviate from what you really believe in, it can ultimately become an inhibitor for your ongoing satisfaction.
  5. Invest in your own growth and satisfaction. Evaluate your own enthusiasm and true interest in your business. What would increase satisfaction and joy? Be sure to include that in your planning and resolutions. Life is too short not to love what you do! After all, isn’t that one of the reasons you are self-employed anyway? Consider what it is costing you to keep trudging in the same way.
  6. Evaluate your marketing plan. Look at how your marketing budget was spent last year. What had measurable results? What can you not quantify? What other affects did the marketing efforts have on your business? Explore potential new avenues to support your growth. How can you gain market share in your industry? How can you be different and connect with your ideal customer? There’s a wide variety of no cost and low cost options. Do as many of those as you can. Also, consider a gamble with a potentially big payoff. Calculated risks can have huge payoff when well planned and executed.
  7. Turn IOUs in to ROIs. Study your overall expenses. How were funds used that were of little or no benefit? How did the areas you spent funds on result in increased business? What investments had the best return? What do you want to focus on to get a better ROI in the coming year? Write out a plan that reflects your intentions.
  8. Explore “value added” offerings for your clients. Find one new thing to try each quarter. Thoughtfully chosen impulse and add-on services or products are great ways to increase cash flow and grow income. Consumers generally respond favorably to opportunities to make each transaction feel more productive.
  9. Serve, serve, and serve some more. When you serve your clientele with their best interest first, it serves your best interest right back. It pays you back in referrals (free advertising). It pays you back in satisfaction (it feels really good to always do the right thing for your client). It gives you a great friend and loyal patron (which is great for both of you). Serve in your community. This could be done in your Chamber of Commerce, your local church, or other non-profits. Pick one that really fits and interests you. You can gain a whole new level of success with synergistic relationships and a new circle of support. As you approach all you do with a goal of great service, you create a positive energy that people want to participate in. Henry Ford said, “A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits.They will be embarrassingly large.”
  10. Pull it all together in a way that is realistic and motivating for you. Review your notes and plans from the first nine points and prioritize. Review to make sure they are specific, measurable and achievable. Even the smallest steps are steps in the right direction. Lofty goals that are not really doable tend to be fuel for discontent. Keep it realistic and achievable and you can see significant results.

Use this as the framework for resolutions for your business (or life) in 2018. Setting plans, evaluating and refocusing allows for deliberate upward movement. Let me know what happens! I’d love to hear from you! If you are ready to enact a wildly successful plan, and are interested in exploring how a proven business coach can empower you to use all your skills and talents to make it uniquely effective, simply contact me for a complimentary session. I’m here to serve you! Wishing you great growth, joy and success in the year ahead!

Photo Credit: Cathryn Lavery,