Sort your New Year action plan now

If you leave your New Year action plan until January you’re already a few weeks behind

Before you head home for Christmas, you might want to start thinking about next year. If you don’t you’ll be doing your 2016 planning after the year has already started, losing valuable days and weeks of productive work.

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So we’re giving you a helping hand. Here’s what you need to have in your New Year’s action plan…

1. Goals based on last year’s results
Use last year as your base to measure progress in 2016. Take a few key results – maybe areas that need improving – and use these as your starting point. You could even print them out and pin them to your notice board as a reminder of your 2016 goals.

2. Month-by-month plan
While having long term, yearly goals can be useful, you’ll need to break down your tasks into monthly deadlines otherwise you’ll find yourself in December 2016 rushing to get everything done. Set monthly meetings, deadlines and themes to break up your work throughout the year.

3. Put something new out
The launch of a new product or offer can focus the mind. It gives your team something tangible to aim towards and can help boost your business. But make sure that it works – don’t just launch something for the sake of it.

4. Big diary events
What’s happening in 2016? Are there conferences you need to attend, work anniversaries you could celebrate or changes in legislation that will affect your business? Get these all in the diary now along with a basic plan on how you’re going to deal with them.

5. Tackle your least productive area
It’s nice to celebrate your success and look to grow your strongest areas, but it’s also worth looking at which areas of the business are underperforming. In your plan, set aside some time to tackle the least productive areas. Speak with the head of department and staff to find out what the issues are.

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6. Speak with clients
The New Year is a great time to get some feedback from clients. They’ll probably be undergoing a similar review of their business so they may well want to talk to you. If you take the initiative, you’ll be on the front foot.

7. Personnel review
Don’t think of a personnel review as getting rid of the dead wood. Instead, go in looking for the people who are performing best and see what you can do to keep them at your company. It doesn’t have to be a pay rise – it could be a change of jobs, better benefits or simply a bigger office.

8. Win something
This is the year you’re going to win an award. Or at least enter one. Even if you don’t win, the press around entering and the networking opportunities make it worthwhile. And if you do win, or are nominated, it’s great free PR.

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