If you’re like me, your New Year is off to a slower start than expected. I had a lot of plans ready for the New Year, but, my son, who is 21 months old came down with a fever and had to stay out of day care all of last week. Taking care of a toddler is challenging enough, let alone a sick one. But that’s okay, it’s still January we have got plenty of time to get our act together.
A couple of weeks ago, I came across 4 Things Every Entrepreneur Should The First Week of the New Year. It makes sense though, it’s a great way to start the year and I changed the article for obvious reasons. This is one of the few short lists I’ve seen going around and actually pretty effective and give some good practical advice.
I still had to modify it a bit to apply to my life, my business and to be very realistic about my expectations. The whole point of this blog is to give it to you straight and to keep things real. Everything you read may not apply directly, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be somewhat instructional. Below is how I applied each of the suggestions in this articles.
1. 100-Day Plan
Okay, I’ll be honest, coming up with 100 tasks will take about two weeks and then I’ll spend another two weeks thinking about how to get them done. Plus, 100 days is almost 1/3 of the year, I’m not exactly sure how much I would stick to a plan that would map out that much of the year. However, there is much value in looking ahead and setting out some important tasks to accomplish in the first few months of the year. So, I decided I would try out a 60-Day Plan. I came up with 30 tasks that I would complete in the next 60 days. That’s still not 100 tasks but it did give me a pretty clear idea of how I want to shape the year and exactly what I need to do to get there. Again, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water, always challenge yourself to look deeper and see how any advice you come across apply to you, your business and your goals.
This one is a no brainer, the beginning of the year is a great time to declutter your work space. Having a decluttered workspace is energizing and increase productivity. But another way to look at decluttering is to get rid of things you don’t use – in all aspects of your life. One example is revisit your spending; more specifically, paid subscriptions. That’s something I do at the beginning of the year as I set the budget for my law firm. What monthly subscriptions am I paying for and how (if at all) am I using them. What about your inbox? Do you read every blog you get a notification for? Maybe you have your favorite ones (present company included J) that you read every day. You don’t need to keep the subscription to the 10 other ones you don’t even open in your inbox, let alone visit the blog page. Try to think of all the different ways in which you can declutter your surroundings.
3. Fire the Person You Have to Fire
Ummm, this is a tricky one, right? Most of us are running our businesses solo and don’t have any full-time, or even part-time employees. However, don’t dismiss this thought so fast. Let’s think outside the box. Even though most of us don’t have employees, many of us, as a result, outsource work that we either can’t do or don’t have the time to do. Some of those people include: the web designer, accountant, photographer, virtual assistant, etc. This is a good time to look at those people and see if there is anyone in there who has to go. I had to do that recently, after two years, I decided to change accountants and I still kinda sorta like . . . haven’t let the former accountant know that they got the boot. I’m doing it slowly, but it was a decision I made toward the end of last year, that starting this year, I was going with a new guy – who’s great and we work better together.
4. Get High or Higher
I really like this one. Because it’s giving us permission to do what we’ve been wanting to do all year – raise prices! Now, raising prices can be tricky for a couple of reasons. First, we’re afraid that our clients are going to bulk when they see the new prices and possibly look elsewhere. Second, it’s hard enough getting clients in the door with the prices we’ve set, and now to raise them creates another level of stress. But deep down inside you know you deserve more, and you probably do. So how do you go about increasing your prices. The most helpful tip I can give you is to make sure you can explain the added value your services bring to your clients. There are a few people who can do what you can do, why should they pick you, why are your services better than the next person’s? When your clients acknowledge your value, it will be easier for them to accept your new price.
So there you have it. It’s not too late to implement any of these four things. I like to think of the first week of January as the whole month of January. It’s never too late to start and sometimes life happens – especially when you’re a small business owner.
I’d like to hear from you.
What are some of the things you do at the beginning every year?