The start of a new year brings on the talk of resolutions and goal-setting for 2014. You’ve probably set personal goals for yourself for the coming year, whether they’re related to fitness, your family, or your professional life.
Now is also a good time to set goals for your small business for 2014. Set yourself up for success by setting realistic, specific goal. Here are some tips.
You’ll have more success if you set clear, specific goals for 2014. Vague resolutions lack direction and don’t give you the information to create a clear plan of action or evaluate your progress. Want to increase your client base? Improve online sales? The more specific you are, the more likely you are to reach your goals.
Set goals that your business can actually attain in 2014, making sure to take into consideration the trends in your industry. Your goals should also be relevant to the opportunities and challenges your business is facing now. A complete 180 is unlikely to be as successful as you want it to be.
Make a plan.
Once you’ve got a couple of specific goals, develop a timeline for achieving those goals. We like this example from Open View Partners Labs:
Vague goal: Keep our department’s page up-to-date.
SMART goal: On the first Friday of every month, solicit updates and new material from our department’s managers for the web page; publish this new material no later than the following Friday. Each time new material is published, review the department’s web page for material that is out-of-date, and delete or archive that material.
What is SMART? The acronym SMART is a helpful way to remember the elements that make up a successful goal: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Don’t do this alone! Involve your partners, employees, or business associates in your goal setting, planning, and execution. If someone is involved in your plan, make sure they know their role and the deadlines associated with achieving that goal. Don’t set them up for failure.
A specific goal will be measureable. Have you met deadlines? Are you able to track progress and improvements toward your goal? Are tasks related to attaining the goal getting done? Don’t just set a goal and set the wheels moving. Check in to make sure you’re going forward.
For personal and professional goals, we also like the “three words” method suggested in Forbes magazine recently. Here’s how it works:
Instead of making resolutions, choose three words you want to use as focal points for the year. What three words sum up the progress you’d like to make this year? The nice thing about choosing words is that they can help you work toward several goals at once. Your focus is on those words and how they can help you work toward the changes you want to make.
Second, create systems and a plan of action that helps you work toward those words. In the Forbes story, one of the words chosen by the author is “write,” which he used to replace a previous resolution of “Write a book ” – a 2013 resolution he was unable to achieve. Instead, the focus work “write” led him to scheduling a two-hour block of time every day to write, whether he wants to or not. He’s creating a system – schedule writing time – to help him achieve a goal.
Last, dedicate yourself to your system and plans and don’t let others derail you. That means that for this writer’s scheduled writing time he ignores email, the telephone, and social media. He commits himself to his goal, unless, as he says, the house is burning down.
Have you made goals and resolutions for your business this year? Please share them in the comments below and on our Facebook page! And, you can always contact PNSolutions to help your business reach its tech goals!