How to Keep Your Business New Year Resolutions
You're officially into 2016 now and your mind is already reeling with all of the changes you want to make so your business does better this year than it did last year. You have all these goals and ideas and plans in mind... but at the top of the list is the hardest goal of all - investing time and brain cells into your business instead of always busting your butt trying to keep up with customer needs!
So grab a fresh cup of coffee and dive into this data-backed article with real, actionable, steps you can take to make sure you reach your goals this year!
#1 Write Down Your Goals
Whether you want to type them up or prefer the feel of pencil and paper, it's time to sit down and write out your goals. Make sure this list includes goals that you have for your business AND for yourself personally. When you run a business, you are your business, and neglecting yourself in your goal setting is just setting you up for failure before you even get started.
The first run through doesn't have to be perfect, you can just quickly jot down the broad goals that you have. This could be things like:
- Take a week off at some point in the year for vacation.
- Hire at least one more person.
- Increase business income.
By writing down these goals, you move them from being just in your head to something intentional for you to accomplish. A Harvard MBA Study found that the 3 percent of students who had written goals were earning, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97 percent of the class combined after leaving school.
#2 Make Your Goals Bite-Sized
While "increase income" seems like a good goal and is something you really need to do, you need to break that down into something easier to achieve.
The psychology behind this is the same process behind buying habits and prices. When you look at research on pricing tactics, you notice that when prices are broken down into smaller segments like monthly memberships versus annual ones, that consumers are more likely to purchase, use, and renew their memberships. This same thinking applies to goals. When you take a large goal and break it down into smaller, bite-sized, pieces, then you are more likely to be able to accomplish it.
So using my broad example of increasing income, the next step might be something like this:
- Increase the number of recurring revenue clients that we have.
- Sell more of product/service ___ since it's our highest profit margin item.
- Investigate cheaper and more effective marketing options.
#3 Make Your Goals S.M.A.R.T.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. Which I know sounds like a lot of fluff in an acronym, but it's not as hard as it sounds. Basically, you need to take your goals and set them in a way that lets you track progress towards meeting them. After all, "Increase the # of recurring revenue clients" isn't easy to measure. Functionally, if you sign on one new client in the next 12 months, then you've met that goal, haven't you? But that's probably not going to help your business much.
- So let's get Specific and say that you want to sign on 12 new recurring revenue clients.
- Then make it Measurable and say that you want to go from the 6 clients you have now to 18. Since your goal says how many you have currently, then it makes it easier to measure results and see how many new ones were added.
- Make sure it's Achievable. With your current marketing strategy, is it even possible to attract 12 new clients? Do you need to change things up?
- Set a Timeline to reach your goal. You may want 12 new clients by the end of 2016, but make that bite-sized and easier to manage. For example, set a goal to sign on 2 new clients in the first quarter, 3 in the second quarter, 4 in the third quarter, and 3 in the fourth quarter. Depending on your business, you might even go even further and break it down to monthly goals.
- Then make sure it's Realistic. Can you handle onboarding 2 new clients before the end of March? What about 12 by the end of the year? Can your staff and resources handle that? If not, can you accommodate the changes you need to make it happen?
So in summary - a SMART goal would be:
I want to increase my recurring revenue clients from 6 to 18 by December 31, 2016. I'm going to do this by signing on 2 in the 1st quarter, 3 in the 2nd quarter, 4 in the 3rd quarter, and 3 in the 4th quarter. I will need to hire one new person by the end of the second quarter and invest in new software for billing to be able to reach my goal.
#4 Delegate & Involve Coworkers, Friends, and Family
This falls back to the old adage, there is strength in numbers. When you are all working together to achieve a goal, you are more likely to reach it. This is because it keeps you all on the same page, provides support, and makes sure you are all focused on results.
Your team will be more motivated when you give them specific goals to reach and you work together to plan how to reach them.
#5 Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
While it can be tempting to make a ton of goals and strive for them all, you can get quickly distracted and end up failing across the board. Instead, prioritize your goals and focus on them one at a time.
For example, maybe your business is traditionally slow during the last quarter of the year. So you might amend your goal so that you sign on your 12 new clients by the end of the third quarter and you leave the fourth quarter for internal process improvements.
I know making time for your business can be really hard to do, but having goals and working towards them really will help you move forward. So even if the best you can do is make a goal for that week or month, and tackle the next one when you get to it, then start there.
Do you make New Years Resolutions for yourself or your business?
If you do leave me a comment and let me know how hard they are to keep.
One of my first jobs was running a cash register in my grandmothers diner. My job was to talk to customers and and to keep everything in my area neat and organized. Now years later those lessons I learned help me in managing client files and projects. Making sure our team is working to help our clients reach their business goals is what drives me everyday.
I am a strong believer that to succeed in life you have to work hard and never let roadblocks stand in your way. You have to read and study but you also have to experience life and all that it can teach you.
My mission is to help clients and our team have the materials and knowledge they need to make every project a success, while making sure to spread some of the information I learn around for others to enjoy.