People often love or hate ‘resolutions’ to start the new year — While some see them as powerful motivators to drive personal change and growth, others see them as yet another thing to be worried about failing at.
A new calendar year and a clean slate often makes for an excellent time for business resolutions — but instead of thinking of them as things you are ‘resolved to change,’ think about January as an opportunity for 2023 goal setting.
Below are a series of seven tips to set you on the right path and implement goal setting that actually works:
1. Think small but start with the biggest picture first — What is the main thing you would love to accomplish for your business? Is it opening additional locations? Adding staff? Re-aligning a product mix? Before you even think about setting individual goals, look at your biggest aspirations and determine which small goals you can outline to eventually get you to that goal. By not specifically saying “This year my business will add two new locations,” and instead focusing on smaller goals to get you to that eventual goal, you are more likely to accomplish steps needed toward that ultimate goal and satisfaction.
2. Keep goals simple and individual — If you’ve ever placed a ‘parlay’ sports bet, meaning you only win if X, Y and Z happen, versus just X, then you know that the more complex the bet is the harder it is to win. Visualizing your 2023 goals in a number of simple elements will make it easier to accomplish more overall. If you create a goal that says ‘we will gain 10% market share and secure 10 new clients,’ you may feel like a failure if only one of those two elements come true. Separate them out for simplicity and satisfaction along the way.
3. Be mindful of the past — If in previous years you set goals that were not attainable, revisit those issues. Where were the mistakes or missteps? If you had a revenue goal but failed to take into account increasing hard costs, make a note of that and be sure to not repeat the mistakes of the past as you outline goals for the year.
4. Create (realistic) timelines — Within an annual goal, look at setting time-sensitive checkpoints along the way or breaking goals up throughout the year. For example, if you know that one of your businesses’ biggest issues is a need to update technology to improve efficiency, set realistic timelines for key elements to keep forward momentum. Upgrading a telephone system may take less time than a total server overhaul or operating system redo, so list out those individual plans with their own timeframes accordingly.
5. Share goals and hold each other accountable — Individuals that use New Year’s Resolutions to stop smoking or lose weight for example frequently share their plans with others to keep them honest. As a business owner or manager you should do the same — It encourages buy-in and team spirit. Incentivize workers to help keep the company on track for its goals with a potential reward system clearly shared at the onset of the year: “Help us break 100,000 customers and when we get there all staff are treated to a company picnic with time off.”
6. Identify potential obstacles to your goals and consider alternatives in advance — No one can ever plan for all roadblocks that come along the way, but as you lay out your goals for the new year attempt to identify things that may railroad your plans. This step is a great place to get additional employee feedback; sharing the larger goals and milestones may help you spot something you didn’t consider. For example, team members in shipping may be aware of potential changes coming from carriers or vendors that effect overall costs – something you were not privy to yet. Seeking feedback can help stop obstacles in their tracks.
7. Don’t forget to aim high! — While practical, realistic goals are ideal for achieving success and progress, it is always worthwhile to throw at least one goal into your list that is slightly unattainable. Whether it be a sales figure 20% higher above what you think is realistically possible or a goal to capture an additional 15% of the marketplace and gain ground on your largest competitor, these ‘stretch’ goals always help motivate a bit above and beyond.