There is a phrase which perfectly encompasses the month of November: ‘To be early is to be on time, and to be on time is to be late.’ When it comes to planning the impending year, November is the month which sets the dividing line between strategically on time and strategically late. The New Year waits for no one and your business strategy for 2017 must be in place long before January 1. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind ahead of the holiday rush.

Take a Look Around

Start by revisiting your business plan. Ensure it is still aligned with your company goals, and make plans to change anything that does not fit with your expectations for 2017. However, it is nearly impossible to know what changes need to be made without reviewing the previous year. Take stock of which strategies equalled success and which ones squandered company time. What was achieved with each company milestone? Taking a closer look at your company’s past year will provide the baseline needed for smarter allocation of resources in the year to come.

Beyond the business plan, it is key to take this time to look at your employees. Offer them feedback so every team member knows where they stand and what to expect. Good record keeping will keep everyone on the same page.

Investing is the Key to the Future

Now is the time to supercharge your business. Two components for consideration are people and technology. If 2015 was a success, it’s possible that your business has become increasingly busy. If 2015 left more to be desired, it’s possible a fresh take is what’s needed. Either way, more feet on the floor could be the answer – whether that’s additional team members to take on overloaded tasks or a new executive role to bring an outside perspective.

Technology is another area of investment that cannot be overlooked. Even the grandest plans can be held back by outdated hardware or software. Make the jump to a new computer or programming that can help your company to be more efficient, more creative, and more successful. We have a great recommendation that supports all three of those initiatives.

Motivate Your Employees

The end of year slump is real. If you want your team’s motivation to last well through their New Year’s resolutions, then practice makes perfect. Afterall, it takes about a month (give or take, according to this study) to form a habit, and only eight percent of people succeed in their own resolutions. You can motivate your team not only by being a good leader but by giving clear and actionable goals. You cannot go it alone – it is crucial to have the support and energy of your team behind every strategic goal.

So, take a good look around your current organization. What was great and what needs to be changed? After all, a goal without a plan is just a dream and planning ahead means 2017 won’t take you by surprise.