Well, it’s about that time of year – for boxes with bows, tangled twinkle lights, indulging in sweet treats and racking up the airline miles on your credit card. It’s inevitable that time, dollars and sometimes common sense get away from us around the holidays. However, as you are keeping the retail world in the black this season, take a moment to reflect on your own business and its growth and success before the ball drops in 2008.

Throughout the season of giving, think about giving your life balance. Are you still responding to emails at 1AM, scheduling back-to-back meetings and drinking a double espresso for lunch because eating did not make it into the appointment book? As a gift to yourself, take a moment to answer some pertinent, yet often difficult, questions about your goals.

Business owners have a plan for their baby; whether its attracting new clients, increasing employee head count or creating a succession plan. That said, are your goals in line with where your business is headed? We all have dreams, and as business owners and executives, we strive to make them a reality. Often times, though, we get weighed down in the day-to-day red tape that prevents us from marrying our strategy with our exceptional foresight. It’s time to take a step back and ensure that our daily efforts are moving us towards our end business goals, not just enabling us to tread water.

One plan that every business should have in place is a strong and strategic marketing plan. Assuming your company has one in check, when was the last time you evaluated your marketing plan? To assure your dollars are being spent wisely, your plan should be assessed at least every six months. This might mean redistributing your budget from one medium to another; e.g. decreasing newspaper insertions and increasing frequency on email blasts. Either way, you will sleep better at night knowing your marketing dollars are working for you and targeting your niche audience.

Keeping everything organized and aligned within a strategy is hard work. And knowing what is effective for your company is half the battle. Do you have measurements in place to track your marketing efforts beyond strictly profits and losses? It is important to know which medium your target audience responds to most. This is the chance for you to utilize your marketing plan to the fullest extent by tracking efforts across various mediums. This way, you will be able to evaluate not only whether you turned a profit, but how. Streamlining your marketing plan will benefit your budget as well as your bottom line.

Whether you were able to answer all or none of the questions above, depending on how much eggnog you’ve consumed, perhaps most importantly, you want to make sure that you are taking the reins within your own company. Ask yourself, are you driving your business or is your business driving you? If you identify with the latter, perhaps it is time to add structure to your role. Putting efforts in place to redirect your company with where you want to take it is vital to your happiness and financial success.

So after the wrapping paper is long gone, the last cookie has been nibbled away, Auld Lang Syne has been sung and winter weather is rapping at the door, it will be nice to start the New Year off with a fresh perspective and a plan of attack. Remember to slow down, plan ahead, evaluate your efforts, keep your goals in mind and most importantly, make time for yourself – your business will thank you!



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