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With 2017 fast approaching, many entrepreneurs are spending at least part of their holiday break finalizing their plan of attack for the new year. While many business owners are busy trying to get 2016 wrapped up, it is just as important that you take the time to focus on what 2017 will hold. Here are five ideas to consider when planning the next mountain your business will climb in 2017.

1. Set five top goals for 2017.

Before the new year even starts, make a list of five things that need to happen in 2017 for it to be your best year yet. These five things need to be clear, specific and tangible goals. After you list all five of these goals, detail how you can achieve those goals. Be specific and take the time to figure out what you will need to do to improve. Write down as many steps as possible so you have a clear road map for what needs to be done in 2017 for your five biggest goals to become a reality.

2. Evaluate your systems.
The start of a new year is a great time to start evaluating and re-evaluating the system that you have. Look at all of the systems that your company has as well as the roles that your team has in implementing these systems. As you look into the details of how these systems are currently operating, make sure to focus on searching for areas that can be streamlined to save you time. You should also be looking for components of your systems that are no longer necessary, and ones that free up more time and energy so that your team can focus on the most important goals at hand and not waste any more time on outdated systems.

3. Delegate some daily responsibilities.
As a business owner, chances are a lot of your day is consumed by little day-to-day responsibilities that could be done by someone else. While it can be hard to let go and start giving tasks to someone else, there comes a time when you need to realize people can be trusted with some tasks. Look at the list of daily responsibilities you currently have and start delegating some of these tasks to other team members. It will help you free up more of your time so you can work on bigger, more important, higher priority tasks. Delegate one or two little tasks, see how that goes, then move to bigger tasks. It will make giving up some of the control easier and show you that there are responsibilities that other people can take off your plate.

4. Start automating parts of your business.

A new year is a good time to start an improved approach to your business model. Start automating some of the menial day-to-day parts of your business with new apps and new technology. There is no better time than a new year to make a clean change. There are countless programs and apps available for automating your project management systems, accounting and even marketing and social media. Spending less time on the day to day tasks in these areas frees up more of your time to focus on the big picture and grow your company.

5. Look for new ways to wow your customers in 2017. 

Every year, you should be taking the time to think of new ways that you can wow your customers that year. Take the time to have a real, sit-down discussion with your entire team. Think about the different ways that you can really thrill, surprise and delight your customers this year. Many times, business owners get so caught up in the day-to-day demands of running their business that they do not take the time to sit down and really think about what they can do to impress their customers in the coming year.

Above all things, one of the most important ways that you can prepare your business for 2017, is to really take advantage of the new year. This is a brand new year, which means that you are starting with a new slate for 2017. Stay focused, stay on task and take advantage of this opportunity to make exciting new things happen in 2017.

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