January is a month when we vow to eat better, sleep more, hit the gym, and break bad habits. Unfortunately, we often abandon these goals by February. How can you avoid the same fate for small business? These 3 simple tips will not only help you set great goals, but also consistently achieve them to advance your business.
1. Prioritize and conquer.
As a small business owner, you’re constantly juggling priorities. From managing projects and personnel, to keeping an eye on finances and planning for growth, you continuously prioritize to tackle the most important tasks. Setting business goals is no different.
As you look to the year ahead, what is truly crucial to your business? Is it growing market share? Expanding into new markets? Hiring more employees? Cutting costs? Select the most important objectives, put them at the top of your list, and work your way down. This will help you remain in control and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed. Keep in mind that you may need to delegate or let go of other responsibilities to give you time to accomplish your high priority goals.
2. Be specific.
We mentioned a few goals above, such as growing market share or cutting costs. But these statements alone are too generic and don’t provide the decisiveness needed to effectively set and achieve goals. Take a look at these better examples:
|I want to cut my company’s costs.||We will cut costs by 6% in 2016.|
|I want to hire more employees.
|We will hire one employee by the end of Q2, and another by the end of Q4.|
|I want to grow market share.||We will grow market share by 11% in 2016.|
|I want to expand into new markets.||We will conduct market research in Q1 for planned Seattle expansion in Q4.|
Specific goals are easier to visualize, plan for, and ultimately, attain.
3. Think both short-term and long-term.
Keep in mind that significant or highly aspirational goals may take a year, five years, or even ten years to complete. And that’s fine! When creating a list of goals, divide them into short- and long-term goals. You can even get as specific as monthly, quarterly, or yearly.
You’ll often find that short- and long-term goals work in tandem—by accomplishing the short-term goals, you have the elements you need to more effectively accomplish the long-term ones in the future.
Bonus tip: Grab a pen! (Or a keyboard.) Numerous studies have shown that individuals who write down their goals are much more likely to accomplish them.
January is a great time to set measurable objectives for the year. But don’t just make bland, easily broken New Year’s resolutions. Set concrete, quantifiable business goals that will propel your company into 2016 and beyond.