New year, new you…right? Well, what about your small business? Chances are your biz could use a little fine-tuning as well. And the reality is that goal setting is a vital component of each small business owner’s journey – regardless of her/his place in the business cycle – in order to achieve success.
Just like in life, sometimes you have to stop, think and identify how and what you need to grow, inspire, thrive…ultimately leading up to a bottom line that has enough zeros to keep you well above water. Determining your goals and systematically working toward achieving them not only creates a sense of focus and direction, but can also serve as a measuring stick for progress.
Here are my top five tips for most effectively setting business-oriented goals for the upcoming year. Good luck!
- Set SMART Goals:
Follow the principle of setting tried-and-true SMART Goals (that’s Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Sensitive). For example, if growing your business is a top priority, then attach a tangible goal to it. Instead of saying, “My goal is to grow my business,” try something more concrete, such as “I will increase my revenue in the first quarter by 15 percent.”
- Give Yourself Something To Work Toward:
Of course, it’s important to set realistic and achievable goals, but we all need a little challenge and something to work toward. Author Verne Harnish calls this your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). What he’s trying to say is not to settle for, say, 3 percent year over year growth, but to boldly reach for something greater. Achieving a BHAG is extra rewarding!
- Write Them Down:
I’m going to say this one is non-negotiable. Writing down your goals – and placing them front and center in your daily life – makes them real. And once those goals feel like something tangible, they are sure to keep you on track and accountable as you work toward success.
- Devise A Plan:
Like the adage says, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Now that you know what you want your outcome to look like, it’s time to create the foundation and process that will get you there. And it’s all about the strategic plan. For example, if your goal is to increase revenue by $1,000 each month (and your service/product costs $100 each), then you know you have to sell 10 additional services/products each month to meet your goal. Now, establish and/or tweak your marketing/advertising campaign to address how you plan to move those additional units. Devising a goal without a plan is only making a wish.
- Re-Evaluate/Track Your Progress:
It is important to track your progress to determine if you are moving in the right direction (or moving at all for that matter). Frequent assessment of your progress not only guides you to stay focused, but also helps you decide if the strategic plan you put in place is actually working. “If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal.”
Yup, I get it. This can all feel like an intimidating task. What if we don’t meet our goals? What if we fall short? What if we disappoint ourselves? But to that, I say: Don’t fear failure…fear being in the exact same place next year as you are right now.
Happy New Year! And Happy Goal Setting!