Is it over yet? Can I open my eyes? Sure, a lot of you did well in 2009, but I’ll be honest, the year was a train wreck for me and I am pretty happy to ring in a new year with some good lessons learned and a strong action plan in place.
I thought I’d share some of those lessons learned, and what I intend to be my recipe for success as I focus on my 2010 planning these last two weeks of December. They apply to any organization or sole proprietor, really.
Please add your ideas in the comments.
- Work ON my business: not just in it. I’ve increased the percentage of hours I spend working ON my business to about 25% of my time. It turns out this wasn’t hard to do since I lost a lot of client work!
- What is my vision? What do I want my business to look like in five years? I’m talking big picture stuff here, not the details. What type of clients do I want? Who specifically do I want on my client list? Where do I want to be geographically and do I want to add staff?
- Revisit and refine my positioning: I pulled out that business plan and walked myself through the exercise again. Where are the opportunities and threats? What markets are doing well right now? What industries? Why would someone choose me over everyone else? In other words, what is my positioning statement?
Based on that, I asked myself:
- Where are the Weak Spots? I love doing business development, and writing proposals. But I realize I haven’t been winning new business from those with whom I don’t have an established relationship. I am not winning trust from new contacts. Ok, then what’s wrong with my pitch documents? I’ve asked a few people I know and respect to critique them for me. It’s not easy to ask people for help. I worry about putting them out. But I’m honored when someone asks me, so I’m guessing they feel the same way.
- Expand my credibility and my exposure: I’ve defined my goals, my specialties and my target clients. Now it’s time to demonstrate my expertise. I am actively seeking speaking positions on pr and social media. I’m in the process of rewriting the copy on my website. I finally launched this blog.
- Tools in place, now lets actively use my networks to find that business. I can use all my efforts to drive traffic to my blog and my website. I’m finding strategic partners, and I’m reconnecting with old colleagues via traditional and social media outlets.
So I guess there is a bright side to this. 2009 has taught me to work smarter.
Please weigh in below in the comments section. What are some of the lessons you learned in 2009? What are you doing to turn it around? What advice do you have to share with me, and others in a similar situation?
Happy New Year![ssba]