As an individual entrepreneur, there is no better way to keep your business on track and help you stay motivated than by setting goals.
The period leading up to the new fiscal year is a great time to reflect on the past 12 months and decide where you want your business to be in fiscal 22.
Jane Simpson, a highly accredited and experienced eyebrow artist and winner of the Xero Award Small Australian Business of the Year in 2019, understand how difficult it can be to stick to your goals, especially when you don’t have a team to back you up.
She went solo in 2015 after quitting her 20-year job as a corporate relocation manager.
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“Frankly, I was bored and I’m not fantastic being told what to do when it could be done in a better way.” she explains.
According to Xero tipping point search – a report revealing what drives independent traders to decide to start their own business – almost 80% say dissatisfaction with their old job or career is a key factor in going solo.
Even though the launch Jane Simpson Eyebrows was the “best decision” she had made, Simpson faced a steep learning curve when it came to developing strategic plans. The tipping point indicates that this is common for solopreneurs, with 48% reporting having difficulty dealing with the unknown.
But setting goals and being accountable for their achievement has allowed Simpson’s business to grow and prosper.
“Now before each exercise I have a meeting with myself; I sit down and write down what I want to accomplish.
With Simpson’s help, here are some tips to help independent traders set and meet their trading goals in FY 22.
1. Take the time to think
It’s important to establish what you want to accomplish at the start of the new fiscal year – set your specific and achievable goals, but also set yourself a challenge.
Make sure to incorporate flexibility so that you can pivot if unforeseen circumstances cause you to deviate from your course.
Whether you’re leading a small team or doing it alone, you’ll find the support you need at Dedicated Xero resource page – complete with free tools and guides to keep everything running smoothly. Xero is online accounting software designed to make doing business beautifully and simply, 30 day free trial today.
“I set myself an increased financial goal every year,” says Simpson. “I make them flexible enough in case the market changes or something that I thought was a good idea actually isn’t.”
And while she doubted she would meet her goals for FY21 after a three-month shutdown due to COVID, Simpson was among 22% of independent traders who prospered during the crisis, with its sales up 40% compared to 2019 results.
2. Formulate a SMART plan
Planning is the key to success, so make sure you define your goals as precisely as possible. A good way to do this is to use the SMART method:
Sspecific: define what you want to achieve.
Mmeasurable: quantify your goals and set deadlines for each.
Aachievable: Set achievable goals to help you stay motivated.
RRelevant: Make sure the goal is right for your business right now.
Timely: Plan carefully so that your deadlines are realistic.
Simpson believes it is important to include both qualitative (customer and / or personal satisfaction) and quantitative (financial or business) goals in your plan.
“I’m a goal-oriented person, so I like to tick off lists and feel like I’ve accomplished something,” says Simpson. “But I also love the feedback I get from my clients in the form of word of mouth reviews and recommendations.”
Formulating a strategic plan can help your business stay the course while holding you accountable.
3. Track your progress
Setting deadlines will keep you motivated and you can use OKRs (Goals and Key Results) to keep your goals achievable.
OKR is a goal system – used by large companies like Google but equally relevant for independent marketers and small businesses – to create alignment and commitment around measurable goals.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to OKRs and flexibility is the key to success.
Work and project app company Monday.com has created a playbook to make great OKRs, and it can be downloaded here. Monday.com’s resource features examples from different industries so you can fully understand how OKRs apply to your business.
In OKRs, you start by setting a business goal, usually quarterly. This goal should align with your vision and mission statements and be inspirational.
Your business goal may seem ambitious or even impossible to achieve, but if you use OKRs, you will follow by imagining a series of key outcomes (usually three to five) to get there. The key results will be specific, measurable and stimulating.
They will also be transparent: everyone in the company has the same “North Star” as Simpson says, and everyone can see the goals their colleagues are working towards.
When you reach these milestones, that grand, somewhat impossible goal becomes more tangible.
4. Attach incentives and celebrate your accomplishments
To stay motivated, reward yourself when you hit your goal milestones. It can be as simple as meeting a friend for coffee or taking a whole day off to regenerate and rejuvenate; All that you want.
After all, Xero research shows that 63% of independent traders went solo because they wanted to control their own schedule.
Make sure to celebrate wins, but remember that even if you don’t win, you learn. Simpson says staying motivated and sticking to your plan will pay off.
“Be patient, build your reputation, and deliver amazing customer experiences for people to tell their friends about,” she says.
So, as you approach FY22, you don’t have to feel intimidated or overwhelmed, even if you are going it alone. With a little planning and goal setting, you can put your business on the path to success in the new fiscal year.
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