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We’ve all said and been wished ‘Happy New Year!’ dozens of times in the past few days, and it can feel a little formulaic. Here at the Henpire, we’d like to take a moment to thoughtfully consider what today means for small businesses owners.

While it is, in some ways, just another Thursday, there is magic in the rolling over of the calendar. We’re offered an opportunity to catch our breath, review our years, and make choices about our futures. The message about personal resolutions is everywhere, but our businesses deserve the same consideration.

First, understand that resolve and resolutions are two different things. Resolutions imply good intentions but fail to spell out actions. I can intend to generate new client relationships all day long, but without deliberate action to support that intention I’ll remain stuck where I am. Even specific goals need support. Instead, let’s be resolute. A clear, firm understanding that all businesses thrive on the passion of their leaders means that our resolve can become a driving force.

Next, we’ll plan the action. Today is the time to review the past, complete outstanding tasks, and refine our vision of how we get from here to there. There are plenty of resources to help guide you through the process of closing out your year (ours will be published tomorrow) and you should use them judiciously. Your time and resources are limited, so support your intentions with deliberate actions that make a difference. It’s easy to get caught up in administrivia and feel productive while losing sight of what matters.

We use a basic algorithm to determine the value of a given task and we share it here because we believe it’s powerful. Feel free to use it while you evaluate your current position, and know that you can always call us for answers or help.

1. Track The Money
a. Are the books up to date?
b. Do we understand the flow of money through our business?
c. Are there any outstanding needs or obligations to tend to?
d. Can we live on what our business is generating today?

2. Generate More Money
a. Does our logo and brand image reflect our true natures?
b. What are we best at? Are we communicating that effectively?
c. How do we attract new clients?
d. Does our marketing strategy make wise use of our resources?

3. Protect The Money
a. Do we have a budget?
b. Have we developed a tax strategy?
c. What kind of succession planning have we done?
d. Are we building something with value?

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.
George S. Patton