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30 Minutes to More Revenue and Less Stress in 2017

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You know the old adage...

Fail to plan, plan to fail.

But we're not all planners by nature. Some folks prefer to fly by the seat of their pants — it's more exciting that way!

But excitement isn't always what you want as a business owner. Especially the "excitement" of down revenue!

Trust me.

Just a little bit of planning now can save you a major headache over the next 12 months. Read on and I'll explain how!

Here are 5 steps to set yourself up for a profitable, low-stress 2017:

Step 1: If you haven't already, buy a yearly planner for 2017.

It doesn't matter whether it's a desk calendar from the local office supply store or a puppy calendar from the mall — you can even use planning software or just the calendar in your phone, if you prefer. (At my company, we use Basecamp — — it's amazing and keeps us SUPER organized.)

Step 2: Set aside 30 minutes now to save yourself from scrambling next year.

While you're at home relaxing over the holidays, find a good time to step away.

Tell your family you need 30 minutes without interruption and find a quiet space where you can focus.

Laundry, dessert, the annual political argument with Uncle Melvin… they can wait.

A half hour! That's it! You will thank yourself later. (If Uncle Melvin is particularly feisty this year, you might even thank yourself NOW.)

Get comfortable. Put on your fuzzy slippers and settle in with a warm cup of tea or a glass of eggnog — whatever you like.

This won't be difficult, you just need to set aside the time and DO IT!

Step 3: Think about what sales or specials you run throughout the year and mark them down.

Open up your planner and grab a pen.

Go through the calendar, month by month, noting your busy times and specials you like to run. (Holidays, the beginning of a new season, etc.)

Step 4: Mark deadlines on your calendar to have your campaigns ordered.

Turn back to the beginning of the planner and go through it again.

For every date you circled or noted, count back 6 weeks and make another note that says: "Order deadline for _________ (whatever the event is) campaign."

This is the day you need to have your postcards or email campaign ordered so you can be sure you have enough time to promote it!

Step 5: Make time throughout the year for planning each campaign — a couple of hours will do!

Go through the calendar ONE MORE TIME.

For every order deadline, designate a few hours the week before to plan out your promotion.

Is it a special offer? A product? An event? You'll want to have time set aside in advance to plan so you're not scrambling at the last minute.

You don't need to worry about strategy YET. Right now you're just getting the framework in place.

If you already have ideas, GREAT! Jot those down. But don't fret right now about getting every detail nailed down. That's what you're giving yourself those few hours for!

And that's it — you're 5 steps ahead on your marketing for 2017!

Just remember to look at that calendar and not throw it out with the eggnog and you'll be set.

Now you can focus on the day-to-day of running your business, and when it's time to plan each campaign, you have ALREADY set time aside to do it!

No last-minute panicking, no stress.

You'll be so glad you did this — I promise!

Joy GendusaJoy Gendusa is the Founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a fully-integrated marketing firm specializing in direct mail. She literally wrote the book on direct mail (The Ultimate Direct Mail Success Manual!) and offers free samples to all restaurant owners interested in postcard marketing. To claim these freebies, just visit: Connect with Joy on Google+.