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Forward Thinking: Four Steps To A Great Year

planning for the upcoming year

Usually, we enter the new year with a head full of plans, goals, and ideas. But looking ahead can be daunting. Many of us are likely still trying to get our heads wrapped around last year, and looking to get an idea of how things are going now. So how do we make the most of the year to come? How do we generate new goals, plans, and habits for 2018? 7 Software has a multitude of tools that can assist with this, and we have incorporated the use of many of these into our four-step process for forward thinking.

Reflect

Before you get ahead of yourself, you'll want a good idea of where you've been. Reflection is looking back to inform yourself, to check on how you've been doing, or to discover the right questions to ask now. With a multitude of data tracking options 7 Software provides, you can review to determine what data is really important for you to keep track of. Maybe you planned to start keeping a closer eye on production reports last year but didn't, or perhaps you should start using that 7 Software function you know will make a difference but haven't taken the time to learn about. You can ask yourself what you did well, what you can improve, and what you can do differently to make the coming year even more successful.

Review

This sounds similar to reflect, but with review, you are looking to broaden your horizons and ensure your business' security and stability. Looking into industry trends will give you a comparison by which to double check that you are planning in the right direction. It's also wise to see what new or changed regulations will affect your operations. The review involves pulling up all those reports and invoices, and any feedback you received from employees or clients and thinking big picture in response to the information they provide. And of course, there's housekeeping; checking admin settings, updating lookup tables, adding user roles, and ensuring that agreements are all in order. Planning will be much easier if you've gotten all the little things done.

Reach Out

Let's face it, you don't see everything, and what you do see may not be what you think it is. Getting other people's input will broaden your perspective and keep you from missing things you need to know or focus on. Engage in conversation with employees to see what they like/dislike about operations now. Review your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Get extra training in weak areas, and perhaps even consider an independent audit to help you streamline. All of this will ease the burden of your company's future just a bit and will strengthen and energize your efforts going forward.

Write It Down

This is where you put all the pieces together and begin to see your year take shape. Looking at all of the outcomes from your reflections, reports, and feedback will often allow you to discover goals too focus on. Turning those goals into action items, with assigned completion dates and persons-responsible will improve accountability and motivate others to look ahead as well. Finally, you'll want to make sure that you communicate progress to your team. Not only should they know what's coming and they are a part of the plan, but it's nice to hear when someone's doing well. A little encouragement goes a long way!

By utilizing these four steps, and the many tools that 7 Software has available to help with them, you will be able to build a process for forward thinking that can propel your operations throughout the year and beyond.



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