If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s time to put away your mom’s famous Christmas cookies and get back to work today. While the rest of your 9-to-5er friends are on an extended vacation until 2012, you’ve got five days of distraction-free work between now and the new year. Now is the best time to work on next year’s business roadmap. Here are a few ways that entrepreneurs can increase productivity by planning ahead for 2013.
Make A List Of To-Don’ts.
Everyone makes a list of to-dos as the new year approaches, but a better strategy is to create a list of to-don’ts. No matter how you break own your day, there are always time wasters that can be crossed off your list. Don’t check your email every 15 minutes. Don’t let meetings run over with small talk. Don’t skip your daily workout because you are buried in work. When your to-do list piles up, it feels overwhelming. By creating a to-don’t list, you’ll get a psychological kick out of taking things off your plate.
Plan To Generate Revenue.
The Series A crunch is real, and your company is in danger if you have raised a seed round and are still pre-revenue. This is the year to make money, so that you don’t have to jockey for position when it comes to fundraising. First, identify five possible revenue streams for your business. Take some time to map out how each one could affect your marketing efforts and product offerings, then compare and contrast how each stream fits into the overall future and mission of your company. Then, pick the revenue stream that is the fastest and easiest to implement first as a test case. In three months, circle back and measure your success to see if you should continue or move on to a new revenue stream.
Develop Strategic Partnerships
Developing strategic partnerships doesn’t mean you have to go to every startup event in your city to network. Actually, “attending all the startup events in my city” should be on your to-don’t list. Instead, identify three key partnerships that will open up new markets to you in 2013. Cultivate those relationships, and work together to create a mutually beneficial campaign with each partnership. LocerkDome for example, partnered in 2012 with IDC Projects and Dime Magazine to release a Dime Magazine branded Memory Matches game on the platform.
Cut Down On Your Media Time
This may sound strange coming from a media company, but you’ve got to cut down on the time you spend consuming media throughout the day. Stay connected to media that matters to you and your business (like Techli for example), but stop checking Reddit every time you take a mental break after sending an email. If TMZ and Gawker are too difficult to resist, add “reading TMZ and Gawker” to your to-don’t list. Too much media consumption can distract you from thinking deeply about the problems in your business.
Create Monthly Strategic Goals
It’s smart to set monthly growth metric goals, but you won’t see that line go up and to the right unless your growth strategy is tight. Set your monthly growth metrics goals, then set monthly strategic goals. These goals should be something like: “have three coffee meetings with people in my startup community that could benefit my business,” or “hire a second designer so we have the talent to take on another project”. When you set your goals, make sure they are easy to obtain in a month. At the end of the month, just check off whether you accomplished your goal or not, then move into the next one.
How are you planning to improve your productivity in 2013?