7 Tips to Strategize for 2017

By Drue Lawlor, FASID
Director of Coaching, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University

Of course you want to start 2017 on a positive note, but to do so, you need to use the remainder of 2016 to set “reachable” goals – in other words, goals that are specific, strategic and measurable. Gather your team for a few planning sessions to brainstorm and be sure you are all focused in the same direction. If you do not have a team – ask a few ideal clients, external team members, and/or friends to help you with a brainstorming session. Be sure they are clear as to the culture of your company and your ideal client profile, but if you are currently working alone, this will help you get additional input. Then follow the steps below to learn from the past and create a practical plan to achieve your 2017 goals – and don’t be afraid to dream BIG!

1.  Budget for marketing. Allocate as much as possible towards marketing and identify where those funds can realistically be directed in order to see results as quickly as possible.
2.  Evaluate and update your Ideal Client Profile. Review your best clients, identify the characteristics that make them a pleasure with whom to work and that also make them profitable. And be very clear as to who is NOT your ideal client.
3.  Document the path your clients will take toward signing that contract with you – start from the signing of the contract and identify each step/interaction with   your firm as you go backwards. Identify possible motivations, questions, and objections they may have and what your firm will need to address them.
4.  Identify what separates you from your competition. This is the step where input from your past ideal clients and external team members can be very helpful.
5.  Review your marketing materials. Make sure they are clearly designed to attract your ideal clients and communicate your USP (unique selling proposition) – what sets your business apart from others in your field.
6.  Review your processes and procedures. Ask yourself if they are clearly documented and how they will make your firm more productive and profitable. Don’t   be overwhelmed if you need a great deal of work here – identifying where the need lies and set up a plan to address it, one step at a time.
7.  Have a plan in place to track your progress and measure your successes. Accountability encourages you to learn from challenges as well as your triumphs!

Yes, there is a great deal of work to be done – and it can be particularly challenging to step back and be objective about your own firm. Don’t be overwhelmed, but rather, keep your vision focused on your final goals and take one step at a time. Approach the list above by addressing each number individually – complete what needs to be done, and then move to the next area on the list. Decide now to make 2017 YOUR year.

“ I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” —Stephen Covey

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