You set New Year’s resolutions in your personal life, but have you set them for your business yet? If not, it is not too late! Growth doesn’t happen accidentally, and it only happens when you set your intentions for the future and then work hard to reach them.
Sometimes setting goals can seem overwhelming, or maybe you don’t know what goals to set. Don’t worry, here are some ideas to get you started.
If you are stuck on picking meaningful goals, then you should try a brain dump. Get a piece of paper and something to write with and get all those swirling ideas out of your head. Think about your business and try answering some of these questions:
- If you could change one thing about your business tomorrow, what would it be?
- Think about your business five years into the future. What does it look like to you?
- What is your least favorite part of your business? Could there be a way to resolve or reduce that problem?
- What is your favorite part of your business? Is there a way for you to spend more time doing that?
- What is a project or area of improvement that you have been putting off for a while?
- How do you want your business to impact the world?
At this point, maybe some ideas for goals have already surfaced. If not, then spend some more time answering these questions and getting every idea, no matter how impossible it may seem, down on paper.
This is also a great way to include members of your team in the planning of the business. Sometimes talking to another person can clear up your thinking.
By now you should have some areas you want to improve or some goals that you want to work on this year. One problem most people run into at this point is not knowing how to work towards their goals in a meaningful way.
When you make your goals, you need to make sure you are setting yourself up for success. One way to make sure you can work towards your goals is to make them S.M.A.R.T. goals. This means they should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
- Specifics – You don’t want to set broad goals that are hard to picture in your mind. You should be able to close your eyes and see what reaching your goal looks like to you. What does success mean for this goal? Make them as specific as possible.
- Measurable – A good goal should be able to be broken down into smaller steps. How will you know if you are making progress? What steps along the way will you have to make to reach your goal? How do you measure the success of your goal?
- Attainable – Is everyone involved in this goal on board with it? Is it possible for you to reach? Do you need to set a smaller goal before tackling the one you are proposing?
- Relevant – Is this goal something that is going to matter to your business? What is reaching this goal going to mean for your business? Is it realistic? Is it worth the time you are going to put in?
- Time-based – What is the time frame for reaching this goal. When are your checkpoints going to be? How are you going to adjust if your timeframe isn’t working?
Making S.M.A.R.T. goals is essential because, without these aspects, you are not going to have a concrete plan to reach your goals. Remember also not to set so many goals that you get overwhelmed and don’t work on any of them. Keep your goal number limited to just a couple and re-evaluate part way through the year to add more if needed.
Are you still having trouble coming up with goals for your business? Here are some general ideas for you to apply to your business in a more specific way.
- Find ways to reduce your overhead. Should you look into finding a new office for rent that fits your needs better or is more cost-effective? Can you bundle services like phone and internet to lower costs? Is there better software to replace the one you use now?
- Go green. There are many ways you can do this in your business. Are there better light bulbs you can use to reduce energy? Put lights on sensors to keep them from being on all the time. Find ways to use less water at your office. Are there more things you could be recycling? You will find that going green will usually help you save money in the long run as well.
- Use time more efficiently. Are there more tasks you could be delegating to focus your time on tasks that need your attention? Are multiple people doing similar jobs that could be combined into one job? Would more effective communication help people complete their work faster? Can any part of the job be automated to free up time for other projects?
- Find ways to be more involved in your community. Businesses are more successful when they have roots in their community. Are there more ways that you can get your business out there, making a difference to your customers? This promotes customer loyalty and is also great advertising for gaining new customers.
- A considerable part of a business’s success if the engagement of employees. Is there a way you can promote more team unity? Team building exercises, open communication, and involving employees in as much of the business as you can are all great ways to make your employees feel like they are a part of a meaningful group.
No matter what your goals are, make sure they align with your vision for your business. You are here for a reason, so don’t lose sight of the reason. All goals should be moving you in a positive direction for long-term growth both to you as a person and your business as a whole.