1. SET REALISTIC GOALSGoals should be achievable and realistic. Your goal should focus on an area that needs to be improved so that you can build and grow a well-rounded business. The ideal goal will require you to evaluate your tactics and push yourself and your staff. It should be achievable, but not too simple. You should be bold and decisive in identifying your goal.
If your business is a one-person operation and last year you cleared $50,000 in sales it is not realistic to set a goal of quadrupling sales next year; unless you plan to make significant changes. Establishing an unrealistic goal is setting yourself up for failure. It can be valuable to set far-reaching goals, but remember that it may take time and planning to achieve something more ambitious. Start out with smaller, more immediate goals.
Review Metrics to Determine Your Goal
Look at your business as a whole and compare where things stand now to previous years. Look at where your sales are coming from. If most of your sales are coming from repeat customers, you may want to consider increasing leads. If the opposite is true and most of your business comes from new customers look into what you can do to improve customer retention.
If your small business is just starting out there will not be any historical data to help guide the process. You can still focus on the data you do have. Keep track of your goals, so in the future, you can compare your goals to actual numbers.
Goals Should Be Specific
The goals you set should have specific parameters. When a goal is evident, it is easy to judge the success. Instead of setting the vague goal to increase sales, set a specific amount and due date. If you want to increase leads, determine how many leads and by when. Take the time to develop a goal, so it is clear and concise.
2. CREATE A PLANHaving a plan in place will make reaching your goal much easier. Laying out a plan can be daunting, so write things down. You can use a spreadsheet to document the details or use project management software. And software makes it easy to lay out each step, or task, assign timing, set reminders and even set predecessor tasks. You can then organize tasks and best position your company to achieve the goal. Writing down all of the things that need to happen to reach your business goal puts that goal within reach.
Writing things down may make you realize other related tasks that need to happen to make the goal happen. There are a lot of minor things that need to happen to achieve a goal, and when you have a plan, you will realize this and can allocate resources accordingly.
A documented plan makes it easy to see your progress. You can know at a glance if you are on track, or if you need to make some changes or pick up the pace. Objectively evaluating progress will increase the odds of reaching your goal.
3. IMPLEMENT NECESSARY SUPPORT TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALLook at what needs to happen to reach your goal. There may be additional software, tracking or new processes you need to implement to achieve your goal. From improvements to your website or your product or increased advertising figure out what it takes to make your goal a reality and make the necessary changes.
Support can also come in the form of staffing and finances. Be prepared to align these resources in the proper capacity to reach your goal. Dedicating resources to specific tasks means you may have to pull resources from other tasks, so get ready to prioritize. For example, if your goal is to increase customer retention you need to devote staff to reaching out and surveying your customer base to find out why they do not come back. This means you will not be able to reach out to leads and grow your customer base. Reaching your goal may mean compromising other initiatives.
Set the Right Goals for Your Small Business
Setting goals is a way to grow your business and take things to the next level. Identifying the right goal takes work and consideration. It is important to have a goal and align resources to best position your business. It will take time, but the payout will be worth the work.
Success is hard. Everyone wants it. Not everyone has it. Whatever success means to you today, you’re likely striving towards it, reaching for your goals in an effort to improve your life and take care of your family. Most people are. But as we reach for success, we tend to throw any semblance of normalcy out the window. As a result, our work-life balance doesn’t improve, it suffers. Because, let’s face it, who has time for everything? But this year focus on balance in your life. Here’s our ways we’ve found to be good to yourself and your business will thank you!
- Catch up some rest and relaxation. Use your vacation days. You can’t come up with new ideas if you’re burned out, so look ahead at your calendar for the year and block out some time when you can go and just relax.
- Decrease stress levels. If you are just starting a new venture and vacation isn’t in the cards for a bit, schedule in set breaks to get up and step away from your work. It can even be as simple as a walk around the block.
- Focus more. Turn off your phone notifications. If you can’t check that tweet or that email as soon as it arrives, the world won’t come to an end -- we promise.
- Embrace your hobbies. Is there something that you love to do that you just haven’t had time for? Revive that pastime, even if it’s only for 30 minutes before or after work.
- Say ‘no’ more often. Remember that it is okay to say no to something or reschedule. Nothing is set in stone, and if you can’t swing something, know that it isn’t a personal failing.
- Think more about your health. It’s important to keep current with your health. No one loves going to the doctor, but if you don’t have your health it’s hard to be able to focus on accomplishing the things you want.
- Maintain your personal relationships. If you are crazy busy and at the beginning of launching a new company, your friends and family will understand. But that doesn’t mean you have to ignore these relationships. Grab a coffee with a friend on the way to a meeting or go grocery shopping with your mom. Even a few minutes to remind you that you aren’t alone can go a long way.
- Get more sleep. Take your gadgets out of your room, don’t work in bed, just let your bedroom be a place where you can feel rested and rejuvenated.
- Become physically active. Find an exercise routine that you like and start slow.
- Get outside your comfort zone. You can start of feel stagnant if you always do the same thing. On a weekend, go visit someplace new, like a museum or restaurant that’s off the beaten track. You don’t have to go bungee jumping (unless, of course, you want to), but don’t forget to step a little outside of yourself. You never know where you will find new ideas.
Setting and focusing on goals takes time and effort.
What are some of your business goals this year?
Let us know in the comments below!