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Most people use New Year’s Day as a time to make resolutions and dream up new, ambitious plans. But waiting until the first of the year may be too late.

While it’s true that we start thinking about the holidays and spending time with family in November, it’s also a great time to tackle your business planning for the next year. Come December, most of us are consumed with shopping and entertaining for the holidays, and we’ll be watching the ball drop in Times Square before you know it.

That means the best time to start business planning is right now. Here are four things you should do to get started:

No. 1 – Set Aside the Time
Business planning is one of the most important keys to your success. Sure, you can make it through the year without it, but studies show that planning for your success exponentially increases the chances that you’ll achieve it.

Because business planning is such an important factor to your continued success, you’ll want to set aside blocks of time to complete it. And you should absolutely go so far as to block it off in your calendar and find a quiet place to do it.

No. 2 – Reflect on Your Year
Good, or not as great as you’d hoped, it’s important to reflect on your year and take note of the things that went well and where you could have done better. What marketing strategies worked, and which ones fell short of producing actual results? What were your learning moments? What were your big wins, and how will you repeat them next year?

It’s important to not only reflect on these things, but to also write them down so you can weave them into your new year.

No. 3 – Meet With a Coach or Accountability Partner
We can’t emphasize this point enough. Coaches have the experience and knowledge to fill the gaps, while accountability partners are perfect for keeping you focused and motivated. If not both, you should at least have one of these in your corner to help you design a plan for the new year and determine what strategies and tactics will have you celebrating next December.

No. 4 – Outline Your New Goals
Get started. Business planning can seem like a daunting task, and if that’s the case, we recommend creating an outline to get you going. This could include your marketing and financial goals, as well as both the new and old strategies you’ll use to get there. Once the outline is complete, you may feel more confident about the process and ready to get after it.

Realty ONE Group is hosting a network-wide business planning session this month for its franchise owners. It’s one of many reasons entrepreneurs and real estate professionals are making the move to and staying with Realty ONE Group. For more information, please visit