How 21 Australian Entrepreneurs Will Be Using January To Get Ahead

The new year is a fresh start, a clean slate. The perfectly opportunity to either get that much needed rest after the Christmas rush and rejuvenate, or set up your businesses goals and targets to ensure a successful, forward-moving year.

Business Insider asked some of Australia most successful entrepreneurs how they plan to use January to get ahead and remain competitive.

From relaxing on island retreats to goal-setting, spending time with the kids and trialing new business structures, here’s what they had to say.

Danny Gorog, director of Outware Mobile.

I’m looking forward to spending January taking a breath and getting ready for a big 2015. It’s also a good time of year to reflect on the past 12 months and take stock of what has been working and identify what hasn’t been working and make the appropriate adjustments.

There is a lot of new and exciting technology that’s due for release in 2015 including Apple Watch and Apple Pay, and we’re expecting both will have a significant impact on our business.

January also marks the beginning of our planning cycle for the new Financial Year. We have a strategic offsite for our leadership team that will help us identify and focus on our strategic objectives for 2015, and we will come away from that offsite with a clear focus on what we need to do as a business to meet our objectives.

Gary Elphick, co-founder of Disruptsurfing.

When Australia’s productivity and spending drops over January, we try not to see this as a threat and more as a opportunity to concentrate our efforts on an specific overseas projects in markets that don’t celebrate Xmas. We’ll be taking advantage of the fact that our competitors will likely be slowing their R&D, manufacturing & recruitment meaning there is excess capacity thus more room for negotiation.

We’ll likely spend some time planning the goals of the next six months and breaking them down into two-week sprints, researching and reaching out to our key focus customers to secure follow-ups once things are back up to speed. Oh, and Surfing, they’ll definitely be time to take advantage of the nice weather and summer swells.

Bottom line – January is the time of the year Australia should be taking advantage of being ‘the gateway to Asia'.

Jodie Fox, co-founder of Shoes of Prey.

In January 2015 I'll be rebooting and then throwing myself into the US market with the team. The reboot will happen on an island with friends until 6th January and then I'll go straight from summer sun to US winter preparing for our 2015 Nordstrom store roll-out.

Daniel Flynn, CEO of Thankyou Group.

While January is usually spent kicking back and getting some serious R&R, this time around it's a month where things will really ramp up for us here at Thankyou HQ.

This past year was a big one with epic growth across the business and we are forecasting an even bigger 2015 with loads of new and exciting projects on the horizon. For this happen we need to get more people on board, so most of January will be spent recruiting to ensure we have the best team possible to take Thankyou to the next level.

In the new year I’ll also be taking some time to focus on vision and strategy to set a strong foundation for another year of growth. I'm excited to think that the more we grow as a business, the more impact we can create through our projects across the globe.

Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, CEO of BlueChilli

The first two weeks of January is typically quiet. I use the time to reflect on the previous year and set up big company goals for the new year. Given Sydney summers are awesome, I spend a lot of time outdoors with the team to set up our strategy and then individuals take various components and work out how they're going to implement them. It's a great time to reflect, think, design and set the pace for the new year.

Andre Eikmeier, co-founder of Vinomofo.

Normally it takes me a week to wind down, during which I'm edgy, cranky and not much fun to be around, then I usually come down with some sort of exhaustion-induced man flu, and then I get three or four days of finally relaxing at the end of which I'm back at work.

This year I'm taking most of January off. I finished up after Friday 19th, and from Saturday afternoon I felt astonishingly, delightfully relaxed. And quite emotional; I've been crying at the drop of a hat watching movies with the kids. I do believe I've let go.

I'm not going anywhere, I'm not trying to achieve anything, I'm just opening my arms to my amazing family and saying: 'Here I am, I'm yours!'

Julie Stevanja, co-founder of Stylerunner.

This January, my co-founder and I will spend 2-3 days planning for the year ahead. On our list, is completing our department manuals and creating a culture handbook for a new staff. This will really help the onboarding process for a year in which we expect rapid growth and hiring.

We are also trialling a '12 Week Year', based on a book by the same name. This means we’ll be setting long-term and short-term goals, and establishing our 12 Week goal structure.

Once we’re set, we’ll be travelling to Singapore to meet some potential partners, and then off to the US for a buying trip, planning inventory for Q3 and Q4.

It’s a month dedicated to strategy, planning and supporting our team with the resources they need to do their best in 2015.

Christian Mischler, co-founder of HotelQuickly.

HotelQuickly has had a busy December with the official Australia launch, and exciting plans in the works for the new year. I'll be taking a little time for myself in January to do some much needed traveling. I'm finally making the trip to Myanmar, a country that has been on my bucket list for a long time. While my plane ticket is booked, my hotel rooms are not. I'll be living spontaneously and booking using HotelQuickly, following our recent launch in the country.

Karen Lawson, CEO of CareerOne.

We will be all hands on deck preparing for the biggest online CareerFair in Australia that showcases some of Australia's leading employer brands. This March event is followed in June by an online CareerFair for Women that is going to address gender equality in the workplace and be a big resource in empowering women in all parts of the labour market. A big year ahead!

John Winning, CEO of The Winning Group.

I'll be taking some time off in January - I think it's important to step back, clear your mind and look at the big picture and it's hard to find the time later in the year. The break also puts me in a good headspace to tackle the year to come.

The fast-paced nature of online retail means you constantly need to evolve and adapt with technology. I find the time away from work allows me to look back on all that was achieved in the previous 12 months. Reflecting on this often helps me see things in a different light which will in turn impact our strategy for the new year.

Rachael Neumann, managing director of Eventbrite.

With the local Australian team on the ground for almost a year now, Eventbrite is ramping up for another year of strong growth and ensuring that local event organisers are more successful than ever. The team and I have spent December prioritising our efforts for 2015, and will spend January putting that plan into action. And, in the spirit of growth, there will be a new future Briteling 'joining' the team - one of us is having a baby.

In addition, we're making sure Aussies know we're the go-to place to check out amazing experiences in their area -- many of which we’ll squeeze in time to attend as well -- including the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Tough Mudder, Rainbow Serpent and Sydney Mardi Gras to name a few. With thousands of Australian events on Eventbrite in the first 3 months of the year, this is quite a feat!

Dean Ramler, CEO of Milan Direct.

As an online retailer, we are full steam ahead right throughout the Christmas trading period, and will end a huge week with the Boxing Day Sale! At Milan Direct, we never close, and the team rosters on throughout the summer period ensuring we maintain a high level of service for our customers.

January is one of my favourite months. We use this month as a chance to reload for the year ahead. Our first priority is ensuring all orders placed over the busy Christmas and Boxing Day periods have arrived and are being enjoyed by our customers. We then move our focus to our marketing, operations and product planning for the next six months. January is essentially a data month. We analyse what has worked and what could be improved upon. So slow-moving items will be discontinued whilst we explore options to find more fast-moving products, that will delight our customers. From a personal point of view, January is time for the Australian Open! There is nothing more that I enjoy after a day at Milan Direct than heading to Rod Laver for a night session of tennis.

Chhai Thach, co-founder of Payhero.

Normally I try to take time going off grid camping/fishing around the the beautiful York Peninsula for at least a few days, to relax and take stock and get re-energised. But this year as the director of Southstart conference, which is happening on February 4-5, there's no time to waste if we want to make it one of the best startup events in Australia.

On top of that, my Payhero is preparing to launch to the public our payment platform in late January, early Feb. The thing is we love what we do, so it's almost like it's not work. You'll find us hanging out at Adelaide's only tech co-working space Majoran, having a few beers on the balcony.

Matt Dyer, founder of EatNow.

January is a great time of the year with the warm weather and a lot of people on holidays. I'll be in Adelaide for the first week, where I grew up, and then back to Melbourne. We always seem to have friends and family come stay with us in January and usually go to the Australian Open. January is a great time to get refreshed and also set targets for the coming year.

Cameron Wall, managing partner of C3 Business Solutions.

C3 Business Solutions uses time in January to plan for the year ahead. We take the key learnings and goals from our company-wide C3 Summit in December to inform and influence our biannual C3 Partner Strategy Summit in January.

The C3 Partner Strategy Summit, to be held on the Mornington Peninsula in the first week of January, will see C3’s 11 Partners from C3’s national Practice gather together to discuss the year ahead and key industry trends in management, technology, approach and client challenges and requirements. The usually quieter period in January gives C3 and its partners the opportunity to discuss and agree upon the best ways to work together for 2015.

Shaun Greenblo, CEO of

As we enter the second month of our beta launch, I will be continuing to focus on growing our customer base off the back of an overwhelming response pre-Christmas. 'Learn more about my customers' is my motto for January. But that doesn’t mean stopping my morning ‘me time’ - running/surfing/yoga down at the beach every day 6-8am before work. The ocean is my reset button, and I must jump in every morning. The year starts fresh, like each morning. I’m incredibly excited for 2015.

Joel Montgomery, managing director at Affiniti.

January for me is a time to recharge and refocus. After the holidays when I get chance to unwind and clear the brain it's time to make sure the business is absolutely focused in the right direction. You need one with the other because if you're not relaxed then finding that clarity is really hard.

We move so quickly we can stray from the real focus and how we get there. Spending time to check that each employee is achieving the right goals in the right way and we're hitting the right targets will ensure the following year is a successful one. It's a really important time and sets you up for another year in an industry that is always changing.

Selvam Sinnappan, co-founder of Sleeping Duck.

We finished December by developing a strong plan for 2015. For us 2015 is about turning Sleeping Duck into a mainstream brand and we require a strong team to do that. We have just finished our planning process and completed our first hires. Making sure they are trained and understand the culture and values of Sleeping Duck will be our first priority in January.

We have also just moved into a new space in Richmond. Renovation is required but we think it's pretty special, so converting it into a comfortable and inspiring place to work will also be an important step for us in January.

Alex Tselios, founder of The Big Smoke.

I will be using my January both for spending quality time with friends and family but also creating an action plan for the year. I don't believe in New Year’s Resolutions, so I spend that entire month making clear choices that are reasonable to act on so I get the most out of the year ahead as possible - and have a G&T or two of course.

Eddie Geller, CEO of Tinybeans.

I’ve just moved to New York with my family to set up the Tinybeans US office so January will be very intense. Not only will we be settling into a new life and new surroundings, but I’ll also be busy forging many new business relationships.

There has been a spike in partnership activity in recent months, predominantly based here in the US, so driving these relationships forward, which will in turn drive growth for the company, will be my number one focus.

Choosing the right US suppliers will be imperative as we set up operations here in the US, and I hope to have everything finalised by the end of the month. January 2015 will also see us launch the Spanish version of our app along with many other new platform developments.

Jonathan Soong, CEO at Makers Empire.

Makers Empire launched early 2014 and our first year of business has been really exciting - primary school students love creating original 3D printing designs in minutes with our app while their teachers love our curriculum-aligned lesson plans. We've signed up distributors in Hong Kong, South Korea, Spain, Malaysia and Singapore, and are organising a pilot in New York state in early 2015.

During the school holidays we'll be working on creating new maker tools and lesson plans for our users, preparing for our appearance at the finals of the IMS Global Learning Impact Awards, and securing more international distributors and partners.

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