The end of one year and start of the next is a symbolic time for many.

Themes of restart, rebirth and reenergize are being used liberally and literally throughout personal and professional life in organizations all across the nation.

If you’re a small business owner, this is a time to start considering how you intend to move forward with purpose in the coming year. A time to reflect on the past year and make changes to your business plan according to the deductions you were able to make based on the previous year’s notable numbers.

This may seem stressful and even scary, but by following a few simple steps, you can streamline your business planning to limit your anxiety and help you accurately and appropriately set up a road map to a successful new year. Whether this entails opening a new location or adding staff, setting and achieving new goals is easier than ever if you follow these tips for business planning for the new year:

1. Reflect on the past year and take stock of where you are

The first and probably most critical step in creating your new business plan is to assess your position at the end of the current year. Ask yourself questions like where you are financially, what upcoming business expenses you might incur, did you achieve last years goals, what strengths can you build on? Knowing where you’re at is key so you can realistically set a path for your new goals.

2. Consider your environment and competitors

After looking at your own business, you should start considering outside factors such as economic, political and competitive factors that might shape your targets. It never hurts to continue competitor research and how they’re marketing and performing. Different factors could affect how demand for your product or service might change in the new year.

3. Determine what you’ll need to do to achieve your goals

After you’ve set your goals, you need to determine how exactly you plan to achieve them. Whether that is more capital for expansion or other resources, you’re likely to need more of one thing or another. Figure out how you plan to acquire what you need and be realistic about how you can gather these resources.

4. Break it down even further

By now hopefully you’ve got a good sense of what your goals for the new year will be and an initial sense of how to achieve them. Now break it down even further. For each goal, add bullets on exactly how you plan to accomplish it. This may sound tedious but doing all the research and planning up front will make your life so much easier down the line.

5. Create a contingency plan

No matter how thorough and thought out your business plan is, this little thing called life is bound to get in the way. Expect the unexpected and make sure you leave yourself a little wiggle room for inevitable bumps in the road.

Now that you’ve successfully crafted your business plan you can relax and enjoy the Ball Drop knowing that you haven’t dropped the ball. Happy New Year!