New Year’s resolutions are often associated with goals that people set and – stop me if you’ve heard this one before – ultimately fall short of achieving. Don’t fall short of your business aspirations in 2019 and use specific goals to grow your operations, revenue streams and your brand’s online presence.
Discover how you can impact your business in 2019 with New Year’s resolutions:
With a fresh calendar year comes a whole new set of items on your personal and professional to-do list that need accomplishing. However, when it comes to the organization you own, manage or even just work for, you need to set yourself up for success by setting up the right kind of goals in 2019.
A few years ago, I decided to quit smoking and swore by the very thing I’m urging you to avoid – a New Year’s resolution that was abstract and ambivalent as to the “how.” I didn’t have a plan; without that framework, I literally had no idea how I was going to accomplish my goal. I just figured everything would work itself out.
As it turns out, things started sliding in the opposite direction. I was as diligent as I could be under the circumstances, sometimes abstaining from cigarettes for days at a time. However, I never shied away from opportunities to impede my own progress and, as a result, I was no closer to my goal four months into that year.
Finally, in a fit of near-desperation, I confided in a friend who had previously pulled off the same feat. Over the course of two months, his structured guidance helped me kick the habit without the use of the patch, specialized gum or anything else of that nature. What was the difference? I set the right kind of goals.
How does this relate to your business? If you’re not meticulous with your planning and dishonest about the nature of the goals you’re setting, there’s a good chance your organization could simply be treading water, as I did, instead of making real progress and reaping the long-term financial rewards.
Pave the way for bold, precise execution with exacting New Year’s resolutions that have your organization’s best interests, both now and for the future, in mind. Let’s get started!
Set Detailed SMART Goals
I’ve talked about goal-setting on the blog before and, if there’s one takeaway I could give you for the new year, it’s this: make them as detailed as possible.
My original New Year’s resolution to quit smoking was the opposite of detailed – it was broad, general and didn’t specify how and when the task was going to be accomplished. By forgetting to bring any ammunition to the table, my goal lacked the firepower to really make a difference in my life.
The same is true for a lot of small business owners and organization managers out there – they know what they want but they can’t break it down into smaller, more manageable concepts. Avoiding this mistake can mean the difference between growing your organization’s reach and revenue in the new year or falling short of expectations.
Try using some of these tactics to ensure that your goals for 2019 are as detailed as possible:
- Make your resolution(s) time-sensitive and organize your day-to-day with that overall deadline in mind (you can also break this goal down into several shorter deadlines);
- Include how you’re going to achieve your goal (e.g. – “I want to increase revenues by 5% through the creation of new programs/classes); and
- Know what metrics your organization will use to measure short and long-term progress, as well as what insight you need to improve performance over time.
For more information on the goal-setting process and how you can use those targets to construct a detailed business plan, check out our blog post now!
Blend Ambition with Realism
resolutions made for the new year are usually relatively ambitious. Whether you’re a seasoned business professional looking to reach that next pinnacle of performance or simply taking the first steps in your journey as an entrepreneur, you should always be setting your sights high instead of settling for the low-hanging fruit.
Essentially, it’s ideal to aim for something that will be tough to achieve but not impossible either. There should be a good chance that you fail in your pursuit; otherwise, what’s the point of setting a goal in the first place? If the process of accomplishing a goal was easy to begin with, are you really moving forward or just laterally?
So, ambitious goals are a must, but that drive can’t let any New Year’s resolution for your business spiral out of control and into the realm of unrealistic. This is where your metrics, Key Performance Indicators and data-based insight come into play. Based on the information you glean from the planning process, you can paint an accurate picture of what kinds of goals will help you grow while still being doable in your predetermined time frame.
Here are some other questions to consider when setting ambitious yet still realistic goals:
- What is your organization’s performance like now? If your current growth or revenue generation remains constant, where should you be in 3-5 years?
- What challenges are standing in your way from achieving your goal(s)?
- What new skills and/or knowledge do you need to overcome said obstacles?
- Does your potential goal feel too “safe?” If so, how or why?
Resist the Temptation for a “Quick Fix”
Another reason why so many New Year’s resolutions fail is that the methods used to achieve the goal focus on the “quick fix” instead of a permanent long-term solution.
Weight loss resolutions are a well-known example of this. It’s allegedly much easier and/or faster to try the latest fad diet, shed those pounds in a month or two and then, once the number on the scale becomes acceptable, promptly cease dieting altogether because, hey, the work is done, right?
The problem with this approach is that, unlike consistent healthy eating and exercise, the emphasis is on cutting corners instead of going through each stage of the journey with purpose and precision. The same pitfalls exist in the world of business, with many organizations trying to circumvent the process instead of doing their due diligence to overcome those obstacles organically.
Bottom line: Quick fixes and constantly looking for the easy solution will only neuter your organization’s ability to achieve those goals. Real growth – growth that stands the test of time – is never earned through cutting corners.
Take Bad Habits Out of the Equation
To a certain degree, many New Year’s resolution center around the idea of breaking bad habits. From leading a healthier lifestyle to freeing up more time to pursue your passion(s) in life, setting goals is only part of the mission to growth and fulfillment. Excising those nagging distractions from your daily routine and putting a greater emphasis on productivity and efficiency is an important part of reaching those targets.
Think about your day-to-day at your organization: Regardless of your title, responsibilities or workload, how much time do you spend working? How much time do you spend in meetings that should be relegated to an email or two? How many times do you get last-minute requests or questions from colleagues that eat away at the time you need to spend on important tasks? How efficient (or not) are your operations – do they add or reduce stress to the situation?
Those potential obstacles are also just the tip of the iceberg. Online research, competitive analysis and even browsing Facebook or Twitter (let’s be honest, we all do it at least occasionally at the office); these are all distractions that, if not addressed head-on, can lead to the formation of bad habits. Once those bad habits become routine, it can be very hard to break out of them.
To ensure that your goals are met or exceeded, you need to optimize the way you and, if needed, your organization works. Try implementing some of the tips and build a more efficient day-to-day for your business:
- Set a time limit for meetings (if you need to go over time, schedule another session);
- Block off one or two-hour stretches in your day where you can focus solely on items clogging your to-do list. This means no phone calls, meetings or other interruptions; and
- Use online tools like Outlook, Trello, and Slack to keep your team organized and ensure that projects are being completed on schedule.
Execute Smaller Stages with Consistency
Finally, we come to the most important part of any New Year’s resolution strategy: the execution phase. Like it or not, it’s the doing, not the planning, that ultimately sets you and/or your business apart and allows you to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Just like the goals you set initially, your organization’s pursuit of those accomplishments and how you go about meeting or exceeding those expectations are going to be unique to your vision. The important part is setting yourself up for success by using strategies outlined in this blog post and optimizing that achievement process. You need to give yourself the best possible chance to reach your goals.
This also extends to the “how” in your execution, which is to say you need to put your best and boldest foot forward. To bring this full circle to the quitting smoking story I started us off with, another contributor to my false start on that journey was my timid approach to execution. It lacked conviction and confidence; part of me didn’t even think I could pull it off. There’s no room for second-guessing yourself in life or in business – a tentative disposition will relegate you to “talker” status, instead of being a “doer.”
Whatever your New Year’s resolution will be in 2019, take the proper steps to make those aspirations your reality. There’s a lot that can go astray once you set your yearly objectives; it’s only through an optimized, pragmatic approach and a healthy, confident state of mind that accomplishments go from being pipe dreams to attainable, hard-earned truths.
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