In my youth and early adulthood, I used to find the whole New year's experience quite depressing - filled with "rah rah" cheer and partying that felt urgent and falsely hearty!
So imagine my relief when, about 15 years ago, I discovered a truly joyful alternative - a dinner my husband and I loved preparing at home, to celebrate with a bottle of champagne (am a sucker for good French champers) and a few friends.
And woven into the tapestry of the 31st and the 1st was some reflective time - to appreciate the past year's challenges, learnings and fun, and to anticipate and plan the next year.
Now I'm not a heavy-duty planner, as too much of my life has occurred as a result of a lack of planning - and it has mostly been very good! But as a business owner and as someone who stands for living life in all its fullness, I've come to appreciate the value of a touch of planning.
As an admirer of Kristi T's Home Business Blog, I was inspired by reading her recent post on Planning for a Profitable 2007, and I wanted to share it with you.
I have taken the liberty of adapting her post for you, my physician entrepreneur audience, in the hope of encouraging you to follow suit.
Answer as many of these questions as you feel apply to you, and I believe you'll be on the right path to organizing your business and personal growth activities for the New Year!
What is the “theme” for your practice or business in 2007? Is it "Update, Update" or "Patients always come first" or "Our employees are our best customers"?
What are the new services and even products that you will develop this year? Could it be a self-care manual, an educational offering, or a new technique you get training to perform?
Where can you cut expenses in 2007?
What business activities will you drop to make room for new growth? Is it an unprofitable contract, doing OB, or providing service to less than ideal clients or patients?
What tasks that you now handle yourself are you willing to outsource next year?
Do you need to, and can you, raise rates?
After reviewing your income streams for 2006, which 3 were the most profitable for you?
How can you take those top 3 revenue streams to the next level next year?
What systems can you invest in or create to simplify your business? Is this in billing, accounting, customer service, selling, or marketing?
What do you need to learn, to market successfully?
Where can you strengthen/improve your marketing for next year?
What are your top 3 marketing strategies you will focus on next year? Is it networking, requesting referrals, direct mail, joint venture, affiliate marketing?
What media outlets will you target to get publicity for your business? Will you write articles for your local paper, or sponsor a community event?
What keep in touch strategies will you use for relationship marketing with your customers or patients? Will that be sending birthday cards, writing and mailing or e-mailing a monthly newsletter, or learning how to use an autoresponder?
What professional organizations would be best to join, to align with your business goals and reach your audience? Is that your local Chamber of Commerce, a community organization, or a committee or board on which you can swerve?
What events and seminars do you want to attend for networking?
What new marketing collateral do you need to develop? Will it be a blog, a newsletter, a brochure, a series of postcards, articles, speeches, free reports, teleseminars, or free workshops?
What existing marketing materials need updating?
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANNING
In what ways can you enhance your performance through personal development to achieve more:
- time management?
- financial management?
- goal setting?
- focusing your actions?
- overcoming limiting beliefs?
What business books would you like to read?
What professional skills would you like to develop?
Which mentors would you like to learn from?
In what ways can you enhance your office (and your home office) to make it more inspiring, organized, and efficient for you?
Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to show up on your computer regularly.
I wish you a very happy New Year, and may 2007 be THE year - the one during which you ask the big questions, perform with pride and cherish the moments of your life in all their variety!