Well it’s here! December. The time of year we start reflecting on what we’ve achieved over the past 12 months and making plans for the year ahead. A new year can mean a new start, and whether you have big ambitions for the next year or plan to implement small changes that could make business even better, here are a few tips to make sure you’re ready to ring in the changes and open your doors to great opportunities in 2012.

  • Start planning now. Thinking about the business is invariably overtaken by doing the business. Start planning for next year now, so you can start the Christmas break in the knowledge of where you’re heading in the New Year.
  • Pat yourself on the back. While you’re thanking your staff, suppliers and customers for their support and contribution during 2011, remember to take time out to congratulate yourself on your successes too – you’ve probably achieved a lot more than you realise!
  • It’s good to talk. Talking through your achievements, goals and business dilemmas can really help to bring clarity to your thoughts. Choose someone who is interested in you and your business, and if you’d benefit from input or feedback, opt for someone who’s brave enough to challenge!
  • Give yourself a break. Make a deal with yourself before you close the door for Christmas that you’re going to switch off, and for how long. And stick to it. Even three or four days away can really help you to recharge the batteries.
  • Plan your escape! If you usually work at home and you’re planning to work during the holiday period, make sure you have a back-up plan in case you need it by having somewhere lined up that you can use at a moment’s notice. There’s plenty of occasional workspace available ‘on tap’ across the North East – if you need some ideas try www.spaceontap.com
  • Be ‘present’ with social media. Plan a selection of blog posts, tweets and Facebook entries before you break for Christmas, and wherever possible use automated scheduling applications like Tweetdeck to maintain your social media presence while you’re away from the desk.

This time next year…

To make the most of 2012 be clear about where you’re heading (think HD!). Imagine where you’d like to be this time next year, focusing on what you will have achieved, rather than what you’ve done to get there. Then record the image; use your webcam (don’t worry, it’s for your eyes only!) draw a picture or simply write it down , then stick it on your wall or your screen saver as a constant reminder.

Jayne Graham is a Business Coach and Mentor at 2020 Consulting, and Founder of spaceontap.com, the North East’s go to place for space.