X Level Office has changed its name to Novel Coworking, a name that more accurately represents what we're about: Partnering with our clients to provide the space and resources they need to innovate and write their story. It’s our hope that as each of our members pens their future in our space, Novel Coworking can provide the blank pages for their success.

BOOK A TOUR

What
Chicago (The Loop)
Chicago (West Loop)
Chicago (Wacker)
Houston (Theater District)
Houston (Scanlan Building)
Dallas (Katy Building)
Charlotte (Uptown)
Jacksonville (Groover-Stewart Building)
Seattle (Pioneer Building)
Alexandria (Old Town)
Indianapolis (Circle Tower)
Pittsburgh (Golden Triangle)
San Diego (Gaslamp)
Denver (16th Street)
Chicago (River North)
Kansas City (Kessler Building)
Richmond (Shockoe Slip)
Nashville (5th Avenue)
Minneapolis (Lasalle Building)
Boulder (15th and Canyon)
Cincinnati (Hooper Building)
All
America Chicago
America Adak
America Anchorage
America Anguilla
America Antigua
America Araguaina
America Argentina - Buenos Aires
America Argentina - Catamarca
America Argentina - Cordoba
America Argentina - Jujuy
America Argentina - La Rioja
America Argentina - Mendoza
America Argentina - Rio Gallegos
America Argentina - Salta
America Argentina - San Juan
America Argentina - San Luis
America Argentina - Tucuman
America Argentina - Ushuaia
America Aruba
America Asuncion
America Atikokan
America Bahia
America Bahia Banderas
America Barbados
America Belem
America Belize
America Blanc-Sablon
America Boa Vista
America Bogota
America Boise
America Cambridge Bay
America Campo Grande
America Cancun
America Caracas
America Cayenne
America Cayman
America Chicago
America Chihuahua
America Costa Rica
America Creston
America Cuiaba
America Curacao
America Danmarkshavn
America Dawson
America Dawson Creek
America Denver
America Detroit
America Dominica
America Edmonton
America Eirunepe
America El Salvador
America Fort Nelson
America Fortaleza
America Glace Bay
America Godthab
America Goose Bay
America Grand Turk
America Grenada
America Guadeloupe
America Guatemala
America Guayaquil
America Guyana
America Halifax
America Havana
America Hermosillo
America Indiana - Indianapolis
America Indiana - Knox
America Indiana - Marengo
America Indiana - Petersburg
America Indiana - Tell City
America Indiana - Vevay
America Indiana - Vincennes
America Indiana - Winamac
America Inuvik
America Iqaluit
America Jamaica
America Juneau
America Kentucky - Louisville
America Kentucky - Monticello
America Kralendijk
America La Paz
America Lima
America Los Angeles
America Lower Princes
America Maceio
America Managua
America Manaus
America Marigot
America Martinique
America Matamoros
America Mazatlan
America Menominee
America Merida
America Metlakatla
America Mexico City
America Miquelon
America Moncton
America Monterrey
America Montevideo
America Montserrat
America Nassau
America New York
America Nipigon
America Nome
America Noronha
America North Dakota - Beulah
America North Dakota - Center
America North Dakota - New Salem
America Ojinaga
America Panama
America Pangnirtung
America Paramaribo
America Phoenix
America Port-au-Prince
America Port of Spain
America Porto Velho
America Puerto Rico
America Punta Arenas
America Rainy River
America Rankin Inlet
America Recife
America Regina
America Resolute
America Rio Branco
America Santarem
America Santiago
America Santo Domingo
America Sao Paulo
America Scoresbysund
America Sitka
America St Barthelemy
America St Johns
America St Kitts
America St Lucia
America St Thomas
America St Vincent
America Swift Current
America Tegucigalpa
America Thule
America Thunder Bay
America Tijuana
America Toronto
America Tortola
America Vancouver
America Whitehorse
America Winnipeg
America Yakutat
America Yellowknife
UTC
Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HAST)
Hawaii-Aleutian with Daylight Savings Time (HADT)
Alaska Standard Time (AKST)
Alaska with Daylight Savings Time (AKDT)
Pacific Standard Time (PST)
Pacific with Daylight Savings Time (PDT)
Mountain Standard Time (MST)
Mountain with Daylight Savings Time (MDT)
Central Standard Time (CST)
Central with Daylight Savings Time (CDT)
Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Eastern with Daylight Savings Time (EDT)
Atlantic Standard Time (AST)
Atlantic with Daylight Savings Time (ADT)
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
2018
2019
2020
2021
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
X

2018 is in full swing, and it’s the perfect time to review your business and develop your plan for the year. Planning ahead doesn’t just offer peace of mind, it helps you repeat successes, eliminate wasted effort, and avoid the operational pitfalls of the previous year.

Each business is unique in its strategy, so in this post, we’ll share a few business planning tips that apply to any brand.

1. Review the past year

One of the best ways to plan for your business’s future is by understanding its performance in the past.

Take a few hours to look at all the work your business produced in the past year. Start with key metrics that apply to your product or service, whether they’re sign-ups or sales. How did your business perform? Make note of the events, conditions, and decisions that lead to successful months.

Next, analyze your processes. This could include client onboarding, project management, internship programs, even your marketing efforts. Separate the elements that work well and improve on any bottlenecks or inefficiencies.

After seeing your results in the past year, you can begin to set goals to improve on them.

 

2. Implement SMART goals

Setting a goal isn’t enough, which is why the SMART mnemonic was created. SMART stands for:

Specific – Steer clear of general goals that are too vague, like increase revenue. The more specific, the more you can focus on that goal.

Measurable – how can you know if you’re close to your goal if you can’t measure it? Don’t just say “increase client satisfaction”, how will you measure a client’s happiness? Positive reviews are one example of something you can measure.

Achievable – All business owners would like to triple their profit or win a prestigious award, but it’s often best to focus on the smaller more attainable wins. 100% growth sounds great, but 20% is just as good and actually seems possible.

Realistic – Similarly, make sure your expectations are grounded in reality. There are a lot of things that can influence a business strategy, from national politics to financial considerations. Don’t forget all the external factors that your business has no control over.

Time-based – When you set a deadline or an end date for a project, everyone has an understanding of when to have something completed by. This makes everything far more efficient and reviewable. Make sure all tasks have deadlines, and all projects have a final due date.

 

3. Ask for input from your team and your customers

You don’t have to figure all this out on your own. In fact, it’s best to get some feedback from your team and from the end users of your business. Team members can provide insight from the ground level into operational or management concerns, while your customers can give you important information on consumer behavior.

When you give team members the opportunity to speak their mind, not only can you improve the process, but you’ll notice greater motivation, task ownership, and responsibility. Involving your customers helps you understand how you can better
deliver.

 

4. Keep your social media profiles up to date

Look through your business profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other relevant channels. It’s easy to take these for granted, but these profiles are usually the first thing that customers check.

Make sure they’re not just set up, but that they’re active and speak to your brand’s personality. Although a post a week might be enough to remind your audience that you exist, a post a day yields the best engagement. You may just sway a customer on the fence about buying your next product.

 

5. Revisit your finances

The number one thing on business owners’ minds: the bottom line. Take time to review your company’s balance sheet. Are your clients paying you on time? Are you spending on unnecessary tools, services, or initiatives? Does your business’s pricing model need to be updated? Perhaps you need to sit down to sort out your business’s taxes with an accountant.

Not everyone enjoys it, but resolving your financial concerns and setting goals for the year will lift a huge weight off your shoulder, and give you a better understanding of how to manage your business more effectively.

 

Your Business Plan for 2018

These are just a few tips to get you started, but your business will likely have more specific considerations. But the most important thing you can do as a business owner is to plan ahead of time. Now is the best opportunity to review your past performance, and take the necessary steps to repeat your successes and avoid bottlenecks this year.

Follow the Novel Blog throughout the year to receive more advice on business leadership and entrepreneurship.