Happy [Here Before You Know It] New Year


Aimee Woodall

A late night. A blank sheet of paper. A pen. A half circle of empty coffee cups. Countless sticky notes that represent ideas to build your business in 2016—the idea of planning can be daunting. As a small business owner, you have to-do items that eat away your days and force you to adapt to situations as they arise. When it comes to handling your operations, you’re doing everything in your power to make sure your business’s day to day runs like a well-oiled machine. Now it’s time to think about the future. The near future. The new year, to be exact. The gauntlet has been thrown: Planning for 2016 starts NOW.

Yes, I know it’s October—but it’s the perfect time to plan for the new year before it’s knocking at your door. Here are three ways to get started.

Get Physical
As much as I love my computer, I go analog for my planning sessions. It really helps settle your mind when you physically move sticky notes around to create the structure you need before putting pixels on screen. Grab a stack of Post-Its, spread out and get planning.

Go Big
Before diving in to this year’s trials and triumphs, jot down 5-10 big marketing ideas for 2016. Don’t think too much about every detail—just get the meat of the idea down on paper and leave it for later. This will capture the things swirling inside your brain and save them before you get mired in the numbers.

Report For Duty
To plan for where you’re going, you have to look at where you’ve been. You probably already know this—it’s a critical step! But keep an eye out for the danger of procrastination via report: The easiest way to get distracted when planning for next year is to go into a rabbit hole of last year’s numbers. Resist the urge and make a clear plan of attack. Decide ahead of time which metrics you’re going to look at, then only look at those. After you get the data you need, you can move forward into the [near]future.

Instead of looking at a plan as something cumbersome and difficult, approach it with curiosity. This is your opportunity to sit down and meditate on all the possibilities a new year can hold while saying goodbye to all you’ve accomplished this year. Auld Lang Syne, indeed.

Aimee Woodall is the owner of the Black Sheep Agency, a Houston-based strategic brand shop specializing in cause-driven marketing, public relations, social media and community outreach. You can contact her at 832.971.7725 or email


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