Don’t make the beginning of 2020 simply an extension of how you approached your sales territory in 2019. Put aside a fair amount of time to work on your business — not simply in your business.

By this I mean take a step back and take a fresh approach to the upcoming year. Look at what you believe you did right, as well as what you know you did wrong. Too many times we get caught up in the day-to-day business challenges and don’t take the time to look at the big picture. The lull between Christmas and New Year’s Day is typically a good time to devote to building a solid business plan for 2020. That way you can confidently hit the road running in early January.

Just as a small-business owner must prepare for next year, a successful sales exec should also have a well-thought-out plan to achieve his or her sales quota.

How we use the hours of the day that we dedicate to business activities will ultimately determine how successful we are at achieving our annual objectives.

That is why it is critical to take the necessary time to plan your course of action for the upcoming year.

As you reflect on your success from this past year, or perhaps lack of success, ask yourself the following questions:

Which accounts would have generated greater revenue if you had invested more quality time?

Which accounts did you spend too much time on, in light of the revenue they produced?

Did you lose business in certain accounts because you took your eye off the ball and a competitor ate your lunch?

Are there prospects in your territory that you dedicate little time to because you feel you have little chance of winning their business?

Think of a single thing you can do differently in the upcoming year that will improve your productivity.

What lessons did you learn last year that you might deploy this year to maximize your success?

What internal resources are available to you that will make your job easier and potentially improve your hit ratio?

Can you learn from other successful sales execs in your office, district or region?

These are only a few of the questions you can ask yourself as you plan for 2020. I’m sure you can come up with many others as you reflect on the year and prepare your plan.

The fact of the matter is, we all have a limited amount of time. How we make use of this time will ultimately determine our level of success.

I’ve always been a big believer in preparing an annual business plan. It will most likely be modified as the year progresses, but it is important to begin the year with a well-thought-out plan of attack.

Work your land

Proverbs 20:4

A farmer too lazy to plant in the spring

has nothing to harvest in the fall