Happy almost New Year friends! While I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, I am all about using December to reflect and process through what took place in the past year in order to find renewed clarity and intentionality for all areas of life and business going into the new year.  For Graham and I that usually means a series of lengthy discussions (we are both talkers) about what worked and what didn’t work for our family in the past year in all areas of our lives.  Since both my husband and I are entrepreneurs and small business owners we also spend a good bit of time in December nerding-out on business books and talking through business strategy for the new year (romantic huh?). Yes please.

But this year, things were different.

I am enormously pleased with the way business went in the past year. Overall, I worked with amazing clients, had new opportunities, and was challenged and flourishing creatively (Don’t be discouraged! It took me almost 9 years to get here!) but since nothing was “wrong” with this past year, per se, I wasn’t sure how to go about resetting my focus and reenergizing my efforts for the New Year. I wasn’t sure exactly how to survey the landscape of my business. Come January, I was going to be simply jumping back into the hamster wheel of business-as-usual without any real blueprint for growth.  And financial growth is not the measure of success that I am talking about.  I want something more valuable than that.  I want growth in my creativity and authenticity, in the value that I add to other’s lives, in the quality of my own life and the life of my family and I want to continue to peal back the “should’s” and “ought to’s” until I am doing only the work that I love, 100% of the time.

Don’t you?

So this is my little gift to myself…and to you.  The Smart Girl’s Reset for Success Survey.  A set of 15 questions that I developed to help you (and I) get started in thinking intentionally about our businesses. This is not a definitive list, but they are the questions that I would ask you over coffee and would hope that you would ask me in order find renewed focus, clarity and resolve in our businesses for the new year.  I hope that you will print it out, give yourself lots of time to think through and journal out the answers to these questions. Post them in your office for that not-so-far-from-now time when you need to be reminded of why you became a small business owner in the first place.  I truly believe that you will be the most successful, creative and authentic and when you are doing what brings you the most joy. Don’t wait until January to think through what your 2016 fresh start is going to look like!


The Smart Girl’s Reset For Success Survey:

  1. How will I define success in the new year? (This is the most crucial step!! For more on defining your success watch this first!)

  2. What projects brought me the most joy in 2015 and why?

  3. What is my most favorite element of what I do?

  4. Can I intentionally restructure my business model to allow me to do more of what I love the most? What would that look like?

  5. What projects were the most creatively draining for me in 2015?

  6. What type of work do I need to definitively say “no” to in 2016?

  7. What is unique about me and what I offer that makes me different from everyone else and how can I better capitalize on that unique offering?

  8. Are there areas of my business that could benefit from more authenticity or originality? What would that look like exactly?

  9. What type of activities were bottlenecks or time-sucks in my workflow and how can I change or outsource those for next year?

  10. What area of my work generates the most income? Can I restructure my time to give this area more attention if it also brings me joy?

  11. What does an ideal work day look like?  How can I begin to restructure my schedule to give myself these “ideal” days? (after all – you are the boss aren’t you?!)

  12. Where do I draw the most inspiration from & how can I incorporate that into my work week regularly?

  13. What am I the most afraid of in my business?  Track that train of thought all the way out to the worst case scenario.

  14. What is the best thing that could happen to my business this year?  What are the first three steps to take toward that goal?

  15. Do I have a group of like minded creatives and business owners that I can be transparent with and who will challenge and encourage me creatively?  If not, how  and with whom can I build this “team” ?


I hope that this was helpful! If it was, please share the love by pinning the image at the top of the post to Pinterest so that other people can benefit as well! You can follow along with my crazy life on Instagram @shaycochrane and find gorgeous styled stock images for your business on the @scstockshop feed. Here’s to doing business beautifully in 2016!


 **This post was originally published in December 2014 and has been updated**