Time to Reflect and Renew
Happy New Year! As we end this calendar year and start a new one, it seems it is a fitting time to take stock of our accomplishments, triumphs, and growth. This allows me to get set to move forth, in a strategic way, into the new year! So, here are some steps, goals, and ambitions I have that may be useful for you and your business too.
Bringing the Old Year to a Close
As we close out 2018, it’s a good time to do a few things to prepare for the new year. So, here are four simple things I find helpful:
• Be mindful of any end-of-the-year deals on gear you may want to purchase. The end of the calendar year sometimes brings good cost savings. It might be a good way to close out your tax year on something you need with a business tax deduction.
• During the last week of the year, I like to reorganize and clean up both the voice over studio and my office. (I’m not going to lie or try to mislead you, sometimes I don’t get this task completed all in one week and it goes into the first few weeks of the new year – after all, it took all year for it to get like this!). Doing this, allows me to concentrate on the new projects and tasks that are ahead, as the new year gets underway. I find it helpful in clearing my mind and concentrating on new goals and objectives.
• Close out the tax year by closing out your books, and categorizing receipts, and other paperwork. This helps later in preparing your income taxes. It makes it easy to gather what you need, in the next few months, for your trip to your tax appointment, or if you do your own taxes, for example.
• I like to use the last week of the calendar year to go through my emails that I receive each week – from lists, services and marketers – and unsubscribe from any I no longer want or need. This starts my new year off a little more “spam free”, which is a liberating feeling.
Starting the New Year
As the new year starts, I look over my goals and objectives from the previous year. This allows me to evaluate which of those goals I accomplished, which I am in process of achieving, and which (if any) need to roll over into my new strategic plan.
One exercise I find useful in coming up with the business plan for the new year is a SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It’s useful to look at each of these in analyzing your goals and objectives for the new year.
• Strengths – Currently, what are the strongest parts of your business? What do you do well? What aspects of your business do you have a competitive edge over others in the same line of work? List these strengths, you will need them to put together your action plan.
• Weaknesses – These are things you need to improve to be more competitive. Is there needed equipment, improvement in workflow, or perhaps more education and training is needed? What about your marketing and use of social media?
• Opportunities – These are external factors that are likely to contribute to your overall success. Are there trends headed in your favor? Is there anything upcoming that your business is poised and ready to pursue?
• Threats – These are external factors that you have little or no control over. Are there market trends that are shifting in a way that might have a negative impact? Are there changes in technology that may be an impediment or challenging to your workflow? Is the competition increasing?
The Next Step
Once the SWOT analysis is complete, it’s time to put together an effective action plan. Go ahead and look at your strengths. How can those be used in maximizing the opportunities? How can they be used to minimize the threats or counteract them? What goals and objectives can you put into place to achieve those outcomes? What goals and objectives can you put into place to rid or improve the weaknesses? Now, take this information and put them into actionable goals for the new year.
Tips for Implementation
Great job, with your SWOT analysis, and the action plan. Now, here are some tips to make it work:
• Keep the goals for the year manageable – not too lofty or too many.
• Break the goals into daily, weekly, or monthly action steps.
• Make sure all the goals are attainable and measurable – having clearly defined metrics will allow you to analyze the progress in attaining those goals.
What it All Means for Mike Laponis Voice Talent
Here are some of the goals and action steps from my SWOT analysis and action plan. I have already put some of these action items into place:
• Rebranding and redesign of the Mike Laponis Voice Talent website.
• Concentrated effort in writing and promoting my blog.
• Improved marketing efforts through phone calls and community events.
• Updating my demos and adding new specific genres.
• Utilizing social media avenues for specific marketing efforts.
• Continue to sharpen my skills with ongoing training, and coaching.
Happy New Year
Of course, there is a lot more to a happy new year than just success with your business. I wish you success with your business plan and all that goes with it. But most of all, I wish you good health, happiness, peace, and prosperity in the New Year!