Take a moment to think about the steps you take when driving to a new location. The first thing you probably do is write down the address so you know where you are going. Next, you’ll get directions to tell you how to get there. You need to know how long it will take, what roads you will be driving on and any other necessary details. And finally, you have to get in your car and take action. You may know exactly where you want to go and have the perfect plan for getting there but if you never put the car in gear, you won't get anywhere.
The process of setting business goals is similar; you have to know what you want to achieve, develop a plan and follow through with action. If this sounds simple it’s because it is - goal setting doesn’t have to be complicated.
Here’s my five tips to create powerful business goals for the New Year:
1. Pause, reflect, learn
Taking time to reflect is often the most important step in the goal-setting process. Sometimes it is helpful to start at the end and work your way backward. What is the big picture goal you are working toward achieving in 2018? How does this fit in with your overall vision for your business or reaching your KPIs, and the impact you want to make? It can also be helpful to reflect on what you accomplished in the past year and learn from what didn’t turn out the way you hoped.
2. Identify what isn’t working
It’s just as important to learn what isn’t working. Are there things that have been holding you back? This could include a hesitation to delegate, trying to do too many things at once, not making time for work/life balance, etc. In business, sometimes one of the best decisions you can make is learning what to say “no” to. Now that you understand what has and hasn’t worked, take some time to think about what things you will let go of in the New Year. When you identify the things that aren’t important you make more room to focus on the things that truly matter.
3. Clarify your top priorities
A common goal-setting mistake is setting too many. So if you have a list of 17 things you want to change, you may want to cut back. When you set too many goals, it’s harder to focus and it’s more likely you won’t achieve any of them. Do you want to do a better job prospecting, increase sales or improve company culture? Whatever your priorities are, figure out the top three to five and be as specific as possible. Running your list through the ‘Critical’, ‘Important’ or ‘Nice-to-do’ filter can give enormous clarity in choosing which projects will make the biggest impact.
4. Create action steps
Goals without action steps are meaningless. Now that you have your list of priorities, you need to reverse-engineer your goals and create detailed action steps for each. Think about everything you would need to do to achieve your goals in the coming year. For instance, if your goal is to increase revenue, maybe you need to do a better job upselling your existing clients. Perhaps there is a conference that would be helpful for you to attend or a new marketing plan you could implement.Whatever the goal, think through all of the required action steps and assign each action step a due date. This is the best way to hold yourself accountable and to continue to build momentum throughout the year.
5. Regular Review
Once you have set your business goals, it’s important to continue to review them on a regular basis. If you set a goal and then forget about it until June it’s not likely you will make much progress. As a proactive business professional, there are tons of things that threaten to distract you on any given day. In short, life will continue to happen. Set aside time daily or weekly to review your goals, make any necessary adjustments, and figure out the regular action steps you need to be taking to keep you on course.
Goals can provide direction, keep you motivated when things get difficult, and provide a framework to help you move forward. After all, it’s hard to be productive if you don’t really know what you are trying to achieve. Regardless of what stage your business career is in, regularly setting business goals help you stay on track and allow your business to continue moving forward.
Now is the perfect time to consider software solutions so you can hit the ground running in January. Contact us to find out how you can fill your pipeline with valuable prospects and create action steps to turn them into clients.