The beginning of a new year is a great time to set goals for the next level of success for your business.
Now, these goals should be attainable, not some random, impossible goals. There should also be a strategic plan in place to help you achieve them.
Here are some tips for setting goals and designing a plan that’s ambitious enough to inspire, but practical enough to be implemented:
Capture The Lessons Of The Past Year
If you had a successful year in sales, review the reasons for your success, and consider ways you could double down on those for the incoming year. If your past year has not been so fruitful, take a look at the areas of opportunity and what you could have done differently; capture your lessons and plan to implement them in 2020.
You can ask your team for the top 2 – 3 things that went well this year and what 2 – 3 aspects they would do differently, compile them on flip-charts and transfer over into a shared document. Take a moment to review the accomplishments, challenges, and feedback from your team over the course of the whole year.
Set Your Annual Goals
What are your overarching goals for next year? While being authentic and original is the thing that’s going to attract customers to your business, taking into consideration some common business goals to strive for can serve as a baseline when creating your own.
Here are some common goals:
• Hiring employees
• Raising gross profit by x%
• Getting X more customers per month
• Cutting business expenses by $x
• Growing your social media followers by x
• Building a new/better website
• Introducing new product(s)/service(s)
Revisit Your Mission And Vision
Your company’s mission is its ultimate goal – and your mission statement explains your company’s goals and values, the purpose of your business and what you hope to accomplish.
Your company’s vision statement explains what you want your business to look like in the future, so what is the vision you have for your company that makes it possible to set goals to help you achieve that vision?
Write your business’s mission and vision down, and set your planning for next year in the context of your overall vision – what are the goals that will help you achieve your mission and vision? If you already have your vision written down, but it feels outdated, now is the time to dust it off.
Ask these questions:
Is it simple to understand (even for a 10-year old)? Does it excite you and your team? Does it describe why your company, and your team, exists?
Do A Market Analysis
Next step in getting to know your business, so you can set your goals, is doing a market analysis. This will help you identify and analyze the economy, your industry, your target market, and your competitors.
Do A SWOT Analysis
Doing a SWOT analysis will help you understand your business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It’s a simple, yet powerful tool to help you develop your business strategy, whether you’re building a startup or an existing company.
Strengths and weaknesses are internal to your business. They are things you have some control over and can change, such as who is on your team, your patents and intellectual property, and your location.
Opportunities and threats are things that are going on outside your business, such as competitors, prices of raw materials, and customer shopping trends – you can take advantage of opportunities and protect against threats, but you cannot change them.
When setting your business goals – get SMART! This refers to goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
Specific: What do you want to achieve, how will you achieve it, and when will you achieve it?
Measurable: How will you track your achievements, measure your progress, and analyze your results?
Attainable: Is this something that you can even achieve?
Relevant: How will reaching this goal help your business?
Timely: What are your deadlines for reaching the goal?
An example of a SMART and simple goal could be: “Get 20 unique customers by May 31, 2020, through the loyalty program and new-customer special initiatives”.
Brainstorm With Your Team
If you have a team, utilize them to brainstorm 3-5 strategic initiatives that would help bring you closer to achieving a goal. If you can successfully execute your strategic initiatives, you can be more confident and well-positioned to achieve your annual goal.
We all want to successfully implement every great idea we have, but the reality is that most individuals and even teams are working with limited resources. Assign a level of prioritization on the strategic initiatives for the year, and group them into categories of ‘must-do’ and ‘nice to do.’ Some priorities will likely compete for resources, so you need to decide which are most important.
For each strategic initiative, decide who will be accountable for implementation. If possible, get your team to draw out the key milestones throughout the year that you need to hit to complete the initiative.
Decide what needs to be communicated to the broader organization/groups, who will deliver it, and when. For example, a meeting with all employees is a great way to kick off a new strategic plan.
The key to a successful communication plan is consistency and repeatability, so make sure the initial strategic plan meeting is followed up on with individual leaders and their teams.
Next, define how you’ll make adjustments and tweaks to your strategic plan as the year progresses.
Be Creative And Flexible
Don’t be afraid to try new ways to achieve your goals – and to add new goals that are aligned with your authenticity and uniqueness. It’s crucial to scale, distinguish yourself, gain and maintain trust in the dynamic world of business and marketing, to help you plan better and get prepared to manage those changes as they come.
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