If the idea of strategic planning scares you or makes you want to crawl into a hole, use my 5 easy steps to begin the process and you will be on your way.

Here it is December again, and over here in Oregon, it is creeping towards winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. This time of the year provides a perfect opportunity to go inward into the shadowed corners of your business, to review the year, and look at what needs to die, what needs to live and what new energies need to come into being next year.

For those of you who live in the northern hemisphere like me, it is a perfect time to align your cycles with those of nature.

This can sound a bit strange, but in fact if you look at your garden right now, this is exactly what is happening out there. I just cut down my dahlia stalks yesterday, and when I dug into the darkness of the soil I noticed that some of the bulbs have healthily multiplied, while others have died and withered.

I wouldn’t want to replant the dying bulbs because they are ready to turn into mulch. They’ve lived their life purpose, so to speak. It is much more productive, in the spring, to plant the healthy ones and also add a few new ones into the mix. Business is similar. Change and growth happens.

Ideally, my 5 step process should be done twice a year at the Solstices, which provide a perfect backdrop for your business planning sessions.

If you live in the southern hemisphere, you are near to summer solstice; the longest day of the year. So for you, it’s not about going into the darkness, since you have sunshine until late at night, but as it is still the end of 2009, there is an opportunity to do focused strategic planning for 2010. December, regardless of where you live, is an excellent time to evaluate, assess and make decisions for the next year.

Here is a 5-part process you can do to help you begin your new year strategic planning session. This process can be done on your own, but it will be even more powerful to do with your team, your mentor or mastermind group. It always feels good to share with others, and just the act of sharing and having a witness can feel empowering. When you share you can also get feedback and respond to questions that will enhance your focus.

Use a clean sheet of paper for each question and do a mind mapping by writing down everything you can think of. From there you can pull out the most potent points.

1. What were your successes for 2009? What are you proud of accomplishing and why?

2. What obstacles did you need to overcome in yourself in order to reach those goals? How did those obstacles slow you up?

3. How did you manage to overcome them? What did you learn from that process and how can this awareness help you next year?

4. Where in your business did you put in a big effort without enough payoffs? What needs to die or where do you need to let go and move on?

5. What is your main new goal you want to accomplish for next year? Does it feel exciting and challenging and how will it help your business overall? What kind of support do you need to get started?

This easy process will bring up more questions and more ideas that you can take into your full planning sessions. Successful entrepreneurs take the time to work on their business. I hope this will be a helpful and empowering process. Let me know!

Kaya Singer, of Awakening Business Solutions. Plan your marketing for 2010 and get ahead! and download Free handout Kaya Singer, of Awakening Business Solutions.

Author's Bio: 

Kaya Singer is owner of Awakening Business Solutions

Our mission is to empower you to develop a clear focused business, and as a result, fulfill your own promise of financial success and purpose. We help you to strengthen your small business, so you can then in turn make a difference in your community.

Awakening Business Solutions
Portland, Oregon 97211

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