You may have made (and already broken) several new years resolutions, but have you taken the time to set some 2019 resolutions for your business?
However unlike some of the more, dare I say, flaky resolutions we might set in our personal lives, business resolutions need to be clearly set, rigorously planned and methodically implemented. In short, they need to be turned into business goals.
Before we look at how to do this, what if you don’t know what resolutions to make or what goals to set in the first place? You could conduct a SWOT analysis, identifying your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You could try benchmarking – research similar businesses in your industry to compare how you’re performing, thus identifying weaknesses that need improvement. Or you could conduct market research to identify customer needs, trends and changes in your market. Some examples of business resolutions might be to improve communications with staff, to expand your digital or social media presence, to take on new customers, or grow your team.
Once you have set some clear resolutions, it’s time to turn them into business goals. Fuzzy wish lists need to become clear, concrete, actionable and trackable plans. To do this first you need to identify the desired outcome of each goal. If your goal is to expand your social media presence, what does this actually look like? Get concrete – what social media platforms do you want a presence on? What will be the style, content and frequency of your posts? And how will your social media strategy differ on each platform?
Next, you need to outline the actions to achieve the desired outcomes. If your goal is to expand your team, what do you need to do to get that extra person on board? Setting aside a budget, outlining job roles, and finding the right candidate might all be steps you need to resolve in a methodical manner.
You will also need to outline responsibilities and resources – which member of staff will be responsible for each action and what resources will be required? How much budget will you need to set aside and how many staff hours?
Finally, you need to create a timeline. When should each action be accomplished realistically and when will the overall goal be achievable?
Remember that all business goals should be SMART, that is –
- Specific – be clear about what you want to achieve
- Measurable – make sure the goal is measurable and you will know if and when you’ve achieved it
- Achievable – do you have the time, resources and money to achieve it?
- Relevant – ensure the goal is relevant to your business and market
- Timely – set a realistic timeframe in which to achieve it.
If you’re struggling with any of the processes there are some excellent goal setting apps to help. Goal-Buddy, GoalEnforcer, Goalscape, GoalsOnTrack and Joe’s Goals are just a few examples of the many excellent programs which can help with goal setting, planning and actioning.
And don’t forget to update your business plan to include the new goals. Having them set down in that formal format can really help crystallise their importance and value.
Once your goals are set it’s time to implement them. You need to ensure that each action is implemented according to the timescale you set out by the people you gave the responsibility to. This means regularly checking in with staff, or even if it’s just you, having a system in place to check the progress of the goal. This could be as simple as tick list of actions which you tick off when they’re completed. Or it could be some more complex method that is more suited to your business. However, you choose to track your progress, make sure that you do it religiously. Without constant monitoring, those concrete business goals can easily slip back into fuzzy wish lists.
Hopefully, if you have followed all these steps, it should be clear if and when you have achieved each goal. When you do so don’t forget the final important step – reward your staff! If it’s just you then give yourself a treat. Is it finally time to have that cake you resolved not to?