It’s a new year and it’s a fresh start not just in your personal life, but for your business as well. Setting new year’s resolutions can be extremely helpful when defining your focus as a business for 2016. In fact, resolutions have the potential to take your business to the next level. But goal setting needs to be done right the first time in order to be most effective.
Check out the following tips for setting your business resolutions in 2016:
1. Record Your Goals
Setting goals is the first step in defining your new year’s resolutions. Setting a goal brings lofty ideas down to concrete results. Your goal may be broad, bold, or may even seem impossible, but write it down anyway. It has to be put into words and written down before a plan of action can be formulated to accomplish it.
Following the SMART guidelines can be particularly helpful when trying to define your goals. Remember to be:
For example: Being specific, measurable, and realistic, you may say “I want to increase revenue by X percent (an achievable amount) before the 4th quarter”. Your goal is measurable if you can compare your percentage increases against last year’s revenue and your goal is timely if you you have given yourself enough time to accomplish it, which may need to be done through breaking it down into smaller increments.
2. Identify Your Needs
Once you have recorded your goal and understand its magnitude, look deeper into what resources, time, and funds will be required to accomplish it. By understanding and identifying your needs, you will be ready to set a plan of action, without which your goal will remain floating in that lofty state of possibility.
3. Create an Action Plan
With your goals clearly defined, following the SMART criteria, and your needs identified, you are ready to answer the “how” of your goal. Keep in mind the SMART criteria though this step as well. Specifically assign resources, funds, and employees to tasks for each needed step. If you are in need of new software, programming, or equipment to accomplish a step, plan for the time it will take to purchase or implement a new system. If your goal is broken down into great enough detail to include management teams or specific employees, make their individual assignments at this time. This is the time to get to the nitty-gritty and hammer out even the smallest details. Your plan cannot spring into action without the smallest details being taken care of. After a detailed action plan is in place, you should have a nice clear road map to follow.
4. Check Your Progress
If any of us have learned anything from failing to accomplish a new year’s resolution, it is likely that we need to regularly revisit our goals and check our progress. It is no different in a business. Plan to regularly check on your progress. Schedule meetings, or even just an appointment with yourself, if that’s what it takes, to go over the status of your goal. Check with those involved on their specific tasks, measure your progress against last year’s and determine if you are on track. If not, revamp your plan to make up for the lack of progress or to shoot for something greater if you are ahead of your goal.
This year, resolve to set SMART goals and plan to accomplish them through diligently tracking your progress. Surprise yourself at what you can accomplish by setting your business resolutions the right way.