The holidays are over at last, everybody's back at work this week, and you have a fresh new calendar on the wall. It's a perfect opportunity to plan out how you want your business to grow in the next 12 months. There's a simple secret to making an annual business plan you can live with — it really is possible to create a fundamental roadmap for your business in less than an hour. So don't delay, grab a pen and paper, your new calendar, and read on.

1. Keep it simple — The key to successful annual planning is to keep it very simple on the first pass. Choose 3 — 5 major goal areas that you want to focus on for the entire year. Think of these as your top themes. Perhaps you want to focus on new customer/client acquisition, cash flow management, and public relations. Or maybe you want to improve your customer service, develop new products, and open a new location. Whatever your top themes are for the year, jot them down on a sheet of paper.

2. "Season" the year — take another sheet of paper, and divide it into 4 quarters, for Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall (or for Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4, if you prefer). In each quarter, jot down those top themes you've decided upon — and leave a little space by each. Then, go season by season, and think of just ONE solid action you could take that would move you forward for each of your top theme goals. Perhaps you want to attend a trade show to research new product ideas in Spring. Or maybe you want to develop new Customer Service guidelines for your staff in Winter. Write down at least one major task to accomplish, season by season, for each of your theme areas.

3. Make monthly SMART goals — S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, and if you've ever read any of Stephen Covey's "7 Habits" books, you'll know that this is the best way to ensure that you'll get the results you want. All you need to do now is to carve up your seasonal quarter objectives into three monthly SMART goals each.

4. Commit the time on your new calendar — Month by month, set aside the amount of time you think you'll need (and that you can spare!) to work on achieving your new year's goals. Maybe you'll take one hour twice a week to work on a particular project in the Spring, but you won't need more than 30 minutes twice a month in the Summer. As you think through what it'll take to accomplish your SMART goals, you'll be able to gauge what seems like a realistic amount of time to dedicate to each one.

Sure, it sounds simple — and it really is! Lots of people make New Year's Resolutions, only to forget them by February. By taking the time at the beginning of the year to plan out your goals on your new calendar, you'll be sure to keep your commitments to yourself, and to your spa business.