I can assure you that the most successful entrepreneurs in today’s business landscape are aware of how important it is to start each and every year off on the right foot. However, doing so is a multifaceted task; there are many things that can seemingly place you ahead of the competition. I personally like to reflect on the happenings of the previous year, and thus build upon my past successes.
I have compiled a series of questions that should not only allow you to evaluate your past performances, but to improve upon them in a manner that best suits your business. My partners over at CT Homes and I recommend asking yourself the following questions, as to thoroughly evaluate how the last year went for your business:
6 Questions To Help You Start 2016 On A High Note
1. When and where did you have fun?
A relatively simple question, but important nonetheless. Really evaluate the following year, and try to pinpoint when and where you had the most fun. Chances are, the moments you will consider may coincide with some of your greatest triumphs. In fact, it is conceivable to think that the two complement each other; You are having fun because your business is successful, and you are successful because you are having fun. To that end, how can you replicate the truly fun moments you had in 2015? Diagnose what it is that allowed you to have the most fun, and you will likely uncover one of the most prominent secrets to success. After all, if you aren’t having fun, is it really worth it all?
2. Did you take worthwhile risks?
A question such as this may be interpreted on several different levels, each as subjective as the last. However, it is very important for a business owner to understand how much skin they have in the game. Otherwise, complacency has a tendency to corrupt even the most prepared entrepreneurs. Having said that, I want you to weigh the risks you took in 2015. Were the moves you made worth the reward? Perhaps you got the raw end of a deal, and therefore ended up loosing more than you had originally anticipated?
The answer to this question, of course, is predicated on whether or not you are willing to take what you learned and implement it in the coming year. In fact, miscalculated risk can teach you a lot, as long as you are willing to listen. Pinpoint the ill-advised risks you wish you could take back from this year, and learn from your mistakes. To that end, risk that paid of can certainly be improved upon. What can you do in 2016 to make sure the risks you take are well worth it?
3. How well did you handle the tough times?
As an entrepreneur, it is not so much a question as to whether or not you will face adversity, but rather when you will be confronted with unexpected challenges. Accordingly, there isn’t a successful businessperson that hasn’t had to navigate truly tough times. In fact, it can be argued that the challenges that present themselves to entrepreneurs are responsible for giving them the mental fortitude to persevere.
Of particular importance, however, is the method in which you handle adversity. All too often, new business owners allow challenges to become overbearing. The key is to face them head on. Be proactive and grow from the circumstances that you experience. Often times, you will find that post-traumatic growth can lead to your most beneficial attributes. Conversely, those that don’t grow from the challenges that present themselves tend to succumb to them the next time they come around. What will you do the next time you face a challenge?
4. Did you develop any good habits?
It can be argued that habits are as much a part of success as the direct actions you take to achieve a goal. In fact, I find it possible to make a habit out of success. The habits you execute on a daily basis are at the root of everything you do, and thus dictate the way things transpire. If you have developed a habit of procrastinating, you may find it difficult to get things done in a timely manner. To that end, a good habit can be as rewarding to your career as a bad one can be destructive.
Take note of the habits you developed this year, good or bad, and deal with them accordingly. If at all possible, try to replace any bad habits that evolved from stressful circumstances with those of a more productive nature. Take the time to familiarize yourself with these important habits so that you may develop your business. You will be surprised at how much a few simple habits can help you realize your dreams.
5. Who were your biggest supporters?
We’ve all heard it before: surround yourself with those that are most likely to have a positive impact on your progression as a person. However, the same saying holds weight for those of the entrepreneurial mindset, and those looking to get ahead of their competition. You are more likely to realize success if you surround yourself with people that have experienced some degree of success in the past.
Most business owners are a product of their environment, and the sooner they realize that, the better. Find out who is most likely to support you in your business endeavors, and make a point of keeping them around. At the very least, their added support will give you the confidence to push forward. Make genuine connections in 2016, and you will surely be rewarded for venturing out of your comfort zone.
6. What did you learn about yourself?
Twelve months, 365 days or even 52 weeks; no matter how you break it down, a year is a long time. A lot can happen between January and December, and people can change as a result. Consequently, what happens throughout the year will likely teach you a lot about yourself, as a business owner and as a person. It is up to you, however, to take what you have learned about yourself and apply its principles moving forward.
Taka a minute to reflect on what you learned in every aspect of your life – as a parent, a friend, a spouse, a boss, and even as a competitor. The more you understand yourself, the more prepared you will be to move forward with any imminent business decisions.
I encourage each and every one of you to really examine these questions, and to put a lot of thought into how you would answer them. While you don’t need to come up with something right away, it can’t hurt to set aside some time to reflect on 2015. The sooner you understand where I am coming from, the sooner you can break into 2016 in a big way, for yourself and your business.