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Lack of preparation and planning will hamper your growth and success.

This simple life rule also applies to your business. Although planning can (and should) be carried out throughout the year, December 31 is the line in the sand that makes us realize time has been ticking away. In your business, this is often a good time to slow down and get out of the routine activities you are usually engrossed in.

Take Stock
As the end of the year approaches, it is an excellent time to go over your business’s performance. Go through your preliminary financials. Have you achieved your objectives? Did you meet your sales target? Did expenses run out of control?

These are all important considerations and you need to prepare for the New Year by first reviewing your past performance. This review will guide you to the steps you need to take in the next year to grow your business.

Develop New Objectives
Once you have taken stock of your past, it is time to plan your goals. Set some short-term goals which you will work on in the upcoming year. Also set medium- and long-term goals. Setting objectives and making a plan will help you navigate through the countless options you have to consider every day regarding your business.

When you have a finish line (your goals) in sight, it is easier to plan how to get there. If you don’t know where you want to go, your business may end up going in circles (no growth) or might even tread backwards (decline).

Set Out Strategy
After your goals are in place, you can decide the strategies you need to implement to achieve your new targets. This can be a simple solution, like hiring extra sales representatives to give a boost to your revenue, or increasing visitors to your website by hiring an SEO company.

Adapt to the Environment
Remember that like with life, you can only plan where you want your business to go and implement strategies to get you there, but you cannot control every variable that will affect you or your business.

A client who owes your enterprise a large amount of money going out of business will definitely affect your results. Your business may experience a significant cash crunch due to your inability to collect from the bankrupt client. This can be stressful, but you will need to adjust your objectives on the fly. Worry only about the things that are in your control.