HOW TO START 2023 ON THE RIGHT FOOTING
So, that you can have a positive, prosperous year ahead.
Doesn’t it feel like an “out with the old, in with the new” approach right about now?
There is no denying that 2022 had its fair share of ups and downs. It’s fair to say that there was a lot on our plates to deal with. Some bad. Some good. It really was a mixed bag.
But at least it was better than the end of 2020 or 2021.
Small mercies, right?
It’s how you look at a situation that’s key. That said, a lot of us are looking at 2023 with optimism – or at least those of us at AJS are. It feels like 2023 is our time to shine, to be given a proverbial “break” and to start living life “on the up”.
And to do that, to be on the receiving end of positivity, it seems only logical that you would need to start on the correct footing.
Six steps to help you get off to the right start
We thought that this year, if we take active, cognitive steps to start off “right”, we can naturally make 2023 that much more positive.
- Set tasks – this may sound like an obvious one. We grant you that. But as the new year rolls around, we believe that, at the very least, we should be compiling a to-do list, prioritising tasks of course (so that you know what to tackle first). You know the saying “How do you eat an elephant? One small bite at a time”. And that’s what this to-do list is. It will give you a sense of “this is all do-able”. And it will save you from burn out on day one.
- Take stock of the previous year – it may be a good opportunity to critically look back on 2022 and acknowledge what went right and therefore what you should continue doing in 2023. As well as highlight what went wrong and how to improve on service offerings, product offerings, admin. You know – improve on what you can (and should) improve on. As Ben Bierman of Business Partners in his article on preparing small businesses for 2023 set out – “do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis on your small business. A SWOT analysis is one of the oldest and most tried-and-tested methods of “taking stock”. It will involve you mapping out the aspects of your business that work to your advantage – your strengths: this could be a unique product offering, exceptional after-sales service, or an effective loyalty programme. Weaknesses will be anything that is currently standing in the way of your growth and could include factors such as an inefficient sales or invoicing process, outdated digital systems or poor team spirit.”
- Plan ahead – after taking stock, it is a clever idea to start planning ahead. After all, that’s the whole point of this exercise. Looking back so that you can properly (and effectively) plan ahead. Most of this planning ahead will involve looking at what the latest developments in your area of practice are. As Bierman set out – “take time to research the emerging trends that are shaping the future of your sector.” This could include looking at the latest tech to see what you should be incorporating into your practice (as we set out in our article Reflections: On Legal Tech Trends) or could involve your work environment from a more holistic perspective. What are other firms doing? What have they incorporated? Does it involve more content writing? Are people posting blogs on their websites? Publishing articles in publications? What’s the new thing? And if you are not seeing anything worthwhile – why not think outside the box? You can do this by creating an annual “vision board” that will help you manifest what you want out of life (and work). A visual representation of where you want to go is an extremely powerful (and fun) tool. You can learn how to create a vision board here. The important thing is to stay ahead of the pack. Make yourself stand out – in only the best of ways.
- Review your business plan – as Bierman set out, “look back at your business plan and review your strategy and goals – assess whether your forecasting has been accurate, make adjustments for market fluctuations, find ways to maximise your bottom-line and keep an eye out for any over-spending.” Look at what your future plans entail, who your clients and business partners are. Write all your ideas down. Don’t allow things to become stale and uninteresting – so much so that you are not excited to go to work every morning. Get excited about your business. Get excited about practice!
- Sort out finances – we know, sitting down with a budget can be such a downer. But it’s necessary. And practical. Why? Because during the holidays most people overspend. A lot of people splurge on gifts and expensive meals and spoil family and friends. Even when you stretch your bank account. The problem with this? January comes right after the festive season and often feels like its 200 days long. And when you have a business to run, this is far from ideal. So, instead of sitting back and forgetting about responsibilities, sit down with your budget and look at ways that you can start reducing debt (not incurring more). Look at how you spend (what your spending habits are), what monthly bills you must pay and set finance goals. Draft a 2023 budget and take steps to not only keep in line with it, but to start saving too. Financial freedom is not only key, but so very empowering.
- Declutter, clean and organise – this is probably a more practical thing as opposed to plans and budgets but is as important. Mari Kondo your life! Don’t let the physical mess of 2022 carry over into 2023. We all feel a little stressed out and overwhelmed when we find ourselves working in an untidy (or dirty) environment. Untidy office spaces can affect your mental health and reduce your productivity. So, start the new year right and clean and declutter your workspace (and your living space). Inviting positive energy into your life and your workspace.
We hope the above six steps will help you get 2023 off to a fantastic start! Remembering to have an open-mind, positive outlook and optimism for what the year before you holds.
Here we come 2023!