Business Santa: 5 Ways to Tell if Your Startup Was Naughty or Nice

Can you believe it? You’re an entrepreneur, business visionary and leader of your company. Yet despite those great achievements, that’s still not enough to make it on the “nice” list.

Why? Starting a business is the easy part. It’s growing it and creating sustainable revenue that’s hard. The ability to turn your business dream into a brand savvy, cash machine is a skill set few have. As this year trickles to a close, reflect on the actions you took that impacted your bottom line. What lessons did you learn? Which systems will you change?

Now you must mentally embrace the strategies you need to win big in 2015. Are you ready? Do you have clarity on what you did well and what you did wrong? Not really sure? Here are five reasons Santa may have removed your startup from the business “nice” list.

1. You started your business without a plan.

Vision is wonderful, but it will never be enough. You need a written, detailed plan that addresses where you are, where you’re going and how you’ll get there. The plan is your GPS. Without it, you get lost, loose clarity and waste valuable time. Worst of all, you may never arrive at your destination. Take time today to create your action plan for success. We all know “when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

2. You worked in the business, but not on it.

Wearing a thousand hats is so overrated and moreover, ineffective. The majority of your efforts should be on revenue producing activities. How can you amp up sales and drive profits, if you are answering phones and sending emails? You’ve heard the saying, “if it don’t make money, it don’t make sense.” Remember that and let that motto be your guide. Shift your attention to collaborations, innovations and revenue strategies that will position you well.

3. You wasted too much time.

Being your own boss sounds fun but will leave you broke if you lack discipline. Wasting time versus leveraging it could be your biggest downfall. Instead, make a daily schedule. Set measurable and attainable goals. Be clear on your day to day agenda and have weekly, monthly and quarterly objectives. Most importantly, say no to distractions. Identify what they are and commit to resisting them.

4. You didn’t market.

Your business does not have to fail. It can do exceedingly well and surpass your initial expectations. But it will never happen if the consumer doesn’t know what you have. Marketing is fundamental and by no means optional. Whether it’s through social media, speaking engagements, radio spots or commercials, marketing is key to your success. If you want more sales, do more marketing.

5. You didn’t study.

You remember when we studied in school to pass our tests? Well, I know you’re glad those days are behind you, but the truth is entrepreneurship is a master class in and of itself. There’s always something new to learn. For example, study your market’s industry specific trends. Study your competition. Know what they do well and what they don’t so you can be strategic in your offerings. Read up on leadership, management and wealth domination. Attend conferences and workshops pertinent to your business. Most importantly, study yourself and make sure your mindset is in alignment with your ambitions.

Are you ready for an unbelievably profitable year? Start preparing now and keep your startup on the nice list for 2015. Happy Holidays!

Teri Nichole Harrison is an attorney, success strategist and motivational speaker. She is the CEO & founder of Fearless & Fabulous Worldwide, a personal development and business consulting firm for women entrepreneurs. Teri is also the founder and Managing Partner of the Tennessee Business Law Center and the author of Winning at Entrepreneurship: Innovative Strategies for Small Business Success. Follow her on Twitter: @_TeriHarrison.