The start of a new year always gets people motivated to make changes in their life, work on personal and professional development, and try new things. Unfortunately, a lot of people struggle to stay on track with their resolutions, and most get broken or forgotten by the time February rolls around. Maybe you broke them already? The last thing you want as a small business owner is for your new business goals to meet the same fate as that resolution to lose 5 pounds or eat more vegetables!
You need to come up with well thought-out, concrete goals that will motivate your work and drive you to accomplish more this year with your business. If you want goals to stick, that you’ll be able to put a checkmark beside before next year rolls around, I recommend the following 6 strategies.
1) Invest in a goals workbook
If you write it down, it will happen! I’ve talked about the importance of keeping a journal or thought book before, and I believe the same tactic works well for setting goals. It’s too easy to lose track of the most important goals you want to strive towards if you don’t write them down somewhere. Having a goals workbook dedicated solely to your business goals and strategies for meeting them helps keep you focused on the most important things. I am a huge fan of this workbook, while it is a little whimsy for my taste, it asks me all of the right questions and has sections for every single area of my business. Every year that I have completed it, I have been able to reach all of the goals that I set!
2) Do a daily/weekly check-in
This is where a lot of people get derailed when it comes to their resolutions. If you aren’t doing regular check-ins, how do you know whether or not you’re making progress towards your goals? By examining what you’ve done each day and each week that directly impacts your goals, you get a real sense of accomplishment that helps you stay motivated. Conversely, if you haven’t been doing anything remotely related to the goals you’ve set, checking in can get you back on track and help you prioritize tasks which will contribute to helping you reach your goals.
3) Set goals that are actionable
Every business owner has grand aspirations; it’s natural to daydream about the amazing places your own enterprise can take you in the future! However, what you really need is a roadmap to get you from where you are now to where you’d like to be. That means setting specific, actionable goals that you can easily track progress towards. Instead of a general aspiration like “I want to make more money”, write out exactly what you want to get done this year, and be realistic about it.
4) Stick to your business budget
Setting up a business budget and sticking to it will not only help your business succeed, it can help you set manageable goals and accomplish them. Knowing what resources you have available to direct into various aspects of your business lets you think realistically about what kind of growth you can actually achieve this year, and where money is best spent (e.g. advertising, hiring part-time help, etc.)
5) Create a vision board
Even if you aren’t the Pinterest-perusing type, or much of an artist, creating a visual display of your goals in a place you will see it everyday can help inspire you to stick with your goals. By bringing together different types of information in an easy-to-absorb visual format, you give yourself a daily reminder of what you’re working toward.
I have a vision board that I can see while I work all day. It is broken into 4 categories: Business Goals, Family Goals, Personal Goals and Future Goals. Next to each categories are 2 sections: What do I want to achieve? How do I get there? I have written out my roadmap for each of these goals in these sections with visuals that support the goals. I look at these goals every day while I am working and it really helps to propel me in the right direction.
6) Work on yourself first
Sometimes in order to move forward with our businesses, we need to do some professional development on our own. In fact, I wrote a whole blog about it! Whether you decide to read books on small business ownership or more technical aspects of what you do, or take classes to acquire new skills, learning helps push you forward. This in turn can feed back into your business and help you grow it in new directions. Or perhaps you need to focus on networking this year, and developing your communication and collaboration skills with others who can help your business thrive. Think about what the single most helpful skill you could work on this year would be, and come up with a plan to develop it more!
Of course, sticking to your goals is even easier when there’s someone else on your team to help you get things done on time! If you’ve never done so before, take a bit of time to think about the many benefits of hiring a virtual assistant. Schedule a free consultation with me to talk about your business goals for the new year and how I can help you achieve them! Happy New Year, and best of luck to you and your business with keeping those resolutions.