Practice Management

Chill over the holidays and set specific goals for 2012

By Fiona Collie |

The holidays are an excellent time to get yourself and your business organized for the coming year.

Most people are looking for a fresh start and to do things better in the new year, says Eileen Chadnick, principal and certified coach with Big Cheese Coaching in Toronto. And that includes financial matters. That's why you should take time in December to rest and get focused,  so you will be ready to help clients and prospects in January.

Follow these tips to get yourself organized for 2012:

> Assess the past year
Take some time to think about your successes and failures from the past 12 months.

Chadnick suggests asking yourself: What went well this past year and why?

"It's important to be deliberate and intentional in building on your success," she says. "But first, you need to acknowledge what that [success] was."

It's also important to think about the things that didn't go well, so you don't repeat your mistakes.

> Set specific goals
In order to reach your objectives for 2012, you must be specific about what you want to accomplish.

"One of the big mistakes [advisors] can make is keeping their goals fuzzy," says Chadnick.

For example, saying that you want to build your book of business is a good idea, she says, but it's too general.

To be successful you must set goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-sensitive. For example: "I will add three new "A" clients to my book by the end of March."

> Make a plan
Craft a strategy that will keep you on track to reach your goals for the new year.

Setting a goal is great, Chadnick says, but to reach it you need a structured plan.

For example, if your goal is to find three "A" clients, you might plan to attend six networking events and to arrange two speaking engagements.

> Stick to your strengths
Tailor your plan in a way that suits your work style.

Don't try to "force fit" a New Year's plan, Chadnick says. If you don't work well with a lot of structure, creating a highly structured plan will make it harder for you to follow.

Instead, create a plan that will inspire you and still make you accountable for reaching your goals.

> Take some time out
Don't forget to schedule time to rest and relax before the start of the new year.

It's important that you find balance between work and down time, says Chadnick. For example, while you may like working through the holidays to take advantage of a quiet office, you also need some non-work time to recharge.

Says Chadnick: "You will find that sometimes the most creative or resourceful [ideas] will bubble up because you've rested your mind."