By Natalie MacNeil on Monday, 21 December 2015
Category: The Connector

Happy New Year to Your Business: Five Steps That Will Set You Up for Growth and Prosperity in 2016

  As an enterprising women, I find my new year goals and resolutions are often very different from most of my friend’s resolutions. Us entrepreneurs are cut from a different cloth. These are the five steps I take when I’m entering a new year, ripe with opportunities to expand my business, my brand, and my message.

#1: Let go of last year’s failures

Let go of the past to step into your future. Even the most polished, impressive professional has had missteps and mistakes. We’ve all launched things that weren’t successful, bought books we didn’t read, and pitched clients who didn’t hire us. Make a mindful decision to let go of what didn’t work or what didn’t happen in 2015. 

#2: Honor where you are right now

Everyone you admire was once a novice just trying to find her way. Arianna Huffington once had no idea how to blog. J.K. Rowling got rejected again and again for Harry Potter. Oprah Winfrey was fired as a co-anchor for the news because producers didn’t think she was good enough.

Rather than getting down on yourself for not knowing everything about everything, congratulate yourself for having the guts to be walking the path you are walking.

#3: Choose a word for the year

I love giving each year a theme that I consider “home” for me. This is what I come back to. It’s easy to get bogged down and distracted by minutia. You can stay focused and centered by choosing a word that you’d like your new year to represent for you.

Here are some of the words I’ve used in the past to get you thinking: Expansive, balanced, magnetic. When I find myself adrift or contemplating certain requests and opportunities in front of me, I remember my word and everything becomes clear.

#4: Focus on five big picture goals

If you look ahead to December 31st, 2016, what do you want ot be most proud of achieving throughout the year? Where, and how, are you spending your day? What causes did you contribute to and get involved in? These are the questions I like to ask myself before setting what I call my “big picture goals” for the new year.

When you know your five big picture goals, break them down into five key milestones that can keep you on track.

Tuck them into your Google calendar and set up reminders. Get a Trello or Asana account so you can track your progress. Print out a checklist and hang it by your computer so you’ll see it every day and be reminded of your next step. 

#5: Create a 5x5 plan

I put all my bigger picture goals and milestones into what I call the 5x5 Plan, part of my new book The Conquer Kit: A Creative Business Planner for Women Entrepreneurs. This is a grid of your 5 milestones for each of your 5 bigger picture goals. This gives you 25 major things to focus on for the year. Not too overwhelming, right? I hang this plan near my desk so every single day I’m reminded of the 25 things that matter most. If I’m presented with an opportunity I’m not sure of or I find myself getting distracted, I just reference my 5x5 plan and move forward accordingly. I love the clarity I get from knowing I have 25 major things to tackle in a year. 

Now I would love to hear from you, enterprising woman: What are some of the steps you take when starting a new year?

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