We are about halfway through the first work week of the new year. I hope you are doing well and that you are well on your way to a great 2011. Many small business owners use the New Year as a time to take a look at the state of their business and list the goals they want to achieve over the next 12 years. month.
Having clear, defined goals is a great way to keep your business moving forward and ensure you’re on the path to success. However, sometimes it’s hard to create solid goals for your business, and it can be even harder to achieve them. Below are some tips for creating better business goals in 2011. You owe it to your business to get it right.
Rate your business: Before you can move on, do yourself a favor and take a minute to really look back. What was your year 2010 like? Where has your business succeeded and where have you struggled? What experiences did you have that you enjoyed and which ones do you want to make sure you never repeat? Doing a quick audit of the previous year can help you make useful resolutions for the one to come. If you know you struggled in one area, are there steps you can take to improve? Or maybe you want to double-invest in an area where you have been successful? Ultimately, you need to know where you want to go before you can chart the course.
Set goals that you are passionate about: For the past few years, I have had the same goal every January: to finally put my finances in order. I’m at a point in my life and career where I need to start making smarter decisions about my money and where I invest it. However, by the end of 2010, I had still not acted on this goal. Why? Because it’s not really exciting. I’m not jumping out of bed with anticipation of opening this IRA. You want to be excited about the goals you have set for your business. Of course, not every step in achieving the goal will have to be sexy, but the direction should be. You should be excited about where you are moving your business and what you are looking to accomplish in the next year. Yes you can’t be excited about your business, why would anyone else? Why would you move to achieve the goals you set for yourself if they don’t move you?
Make it specific: The problem with many goals that business owners set is that they are too vague. You wish to be more successful in 2011, to be more organized or to be happier. That’s fine, but what does it mean? What does “being more successful” look like to you or your business? How do you define happiness? The more specific your goal, the better you can see it and the more likely you are to make it a reality.
Make accessible: It’s natural to have huge long-term dreams for your business, but these are different from the goals you set for yourself each year (or quarter). Part of creating better business goals is focusing on things that are within your control. Choosing achievable goals is important to help business owners stay motivated, confident, and productive. You can’t control whether or not you get that new client; however, you can make sure you are doing the things necessary to impress the prospect and win the deal. Focus on yourself, your own actions and what you can do to change your destiny.
Create milestone goals: If your ultimate goal is to create a new service offering for your business, create milestone goals to work under. Small steps will get you closer and closer to your end goal. For example, if you plan to add catering to your cupcake business by March, then maybe by January you’ll need to have suppliers in place and by February you’ll need to have your fully trained staff. Setting these goals not only keeps you on track to reach your larger goal (which is important), but they also give you something tangible to celebrate in the meantime to keep you motivated and focused.
Create a plan to get there: While the goal of wanting to grow your team from three to 15 employees in a year is great, it’s not totally helpful unless you also create a plan for how you’re going to do it. How are you going to achieve this type of growth? What types of clients will you need to support? How much money do you need to bring in to support this level of staff? For each business goal you create, you should also create a plan for how you will implement that goal over the coming year. More important than the goal itself are the steps you will take to get there. This is where success is built – in the details.
It goes without saying that creating clear business goals is an important step in moving your business forward and building your brand. However, not all goals are created equal. The best goals are those that are specific, mapped out, and allow you to control the end result.