If 2016 was your first year in business, then you are probably relieved to be entering the final quarter soon and also somewhat excited about what 2017 might bring. For most businesses, the second year is absolutely crucial, as you have usually worked out the initial kinks in your business, established a good team, and made enough contacts to start really focusing on growth.

Now, as we get towards the end of 2016, it is the perfect time to start mapping out your various business strategies for 2017. Being well prepared gives you lots of opportunity to thrash out ideas, and is key to having something really well defined to follow through with once the January momentum kicks in. Here are some things to think about when it comes to setting your growth strategy for next year:

How will you monitor the effectiveness of your marketing mix?

If you have been in business for nearly a year, you probably already have some good metrics from how effective different things you have tried in your marketing strategy have been.

If you want growth in 2017, marketing will be absolutely key, so not only do you need an initial marketing strategy to work from, but you’ll also need to work out how you will review how things are going as you implement it.

The key to good marketing for growth is to find the right marketing mix, which means using different methods like social media marketing, search engine marketing, direct marketing and so on in the right balance.

Even professional marketing companies you can hire to help you if you prefer (click here to find a good one) use a process of trial and error to tweak and perfect marketing mixes, and being able to do this kind of continuous improvement involves having a plan for analyzing results from different marketing streams and being ready to switch the balance almost on the fly.

Understanding this and planning how you will do it, or beginning to engage a third party company to do it for you, can be vital to your growth plan.

Do you already have any key dates in your 2017 calendar?

Your calendar for the coming months can be a good linchpin for your strategies, including your growth strategy, so look at what you already have even a vague idea of the dates for in 2017. Are there any trade shows or events you want to attend?

If so, find out as much as you can about them now so you can plan other relevant activities to draw focus to them. Do you have any product launches, new partnerships or location expansions planned? Once again, get the target dates in the calendar and think about how you can leverage these in your growth strategy.

How much growth can you support as you are?

It is one thing trying to win more business through marketing, but for a good growth strategy you need to also think about how you as a company can scale up should that marketing be as, or more, successful than you hope.

Work out how much more business you can support as you are – both in terms of staffing and other relevant things like IT infrastructure. Even if you sell digital products and don’t need more staff to deliver if your business increases one hundred times, if your servers or website hosting can’t cope with that kind of demand you’ll need to have a plan.

Figure out what you can support in your current state, and how this fits with your activities to promote growth. If everything works out, will your demand exceed what you can meet? If so, will you know in time to scale up? What if you get an unexpected spike in popularity?

Do you have a plan to quickly ramp up the business in this kind of situation? Planning for growth is as important as working to achieve growth, so don’t miss out on this part of your strategy and assume that you’ll just manage somehow if your success exceeds your predictions.

Making an actionable plan that takes into account risk mitigation, looks at what you’ll do in various possible scenarios of growth, and which is agile enough to be evolved and tweaked as you move through the year, will set you up in the right frame of mind to go all out to grow your new business as much as you possibly can once we ring in 2017.