Open Your Calendar. It’s Time to Get 2017 Started.

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Your inbox has probably been flooded the past week or two with 2017 trends, industry forecasts and the like. Instead of getting distracted by the shiny and new, I thought now would be a good time to take stock of the basics. And I’ll keep it short, so you have time to take action.

My first basic? Treat your business marketing plan like a plant. It needs attention more than once a year or once a quarter. Set aside time to take stock of what’s working and what’s not each week. You wouldn’t go a year without reconciling your budget; you should be paying at least as much attention to the marketing strategy behind those numbers by reviewing your plan each month, too. So, open your calendar right now and schedule a regular time, each month, for the coming year.

Delegate more. Just because someone else is doing it, doesn’t mean the job won’t be done just as well as you would do it. High-level tasks can probably be done better by a specialist. More mundane tasks can be done cheaper and sooner by someone lower down on the ladder. You’ve probably already identified tasks you’re doing simply because you haven’t gotten around to delegating them. Write down a list of those tasks, and if possible, who might be able to take them on.

Or simply make a list of those tasks you truly enjoy – or are really good at – and compare it to the list of those tasks that are better left to someone else.  You’ll soon see that your time should be invested in the higher level responsibilities.

Drop what isn’t working. It’s a blow to realize a particular product, project or piece of equipment isn’t showing results. But don’t add to the time, money and energy you’ve already wasted. If you must, set a limit on how much more you’re willing to spend to see a return, and stick to it. Walk around the office and see what’s collecting dust—that’s a sure sign it’s not working for you.

Get a new perspective. Join a new business organization or networking group. If you’re already a member of all of them, but don’t feel that you’re getting anything out of them, it probably means you’re not putting anything into them. In that case, make a commitment to focus on one or two and get more engaged.  Look up the organization you’d like to focus on, and see when their next meeting is. 

Learn something new, business-related or not. Learn how to play piano, listen to audiobooks on your commute, or sit down with one of your department heads to learn how an unfamiliar process works. You’ll exercise brain cells or muscles that have atrophied and give you a new perspective or approach to business problems.  Ask yourself, what comes at the end of the sentence “I’ve always wanted to….”