For those of us running a small business, New Year’s resolutions are about more than going to the gym. For example, business owners have resolved to land bigger projects, boost their profitability, streamline processes and work less on the weekends. It’s not always easy to follow through on these decisions, though. Here are 5 easy steps to keeping your business’ New Year’s resolutions.
1. Assess the business’ strengths and weaknesses
If you haven’t set resolutions for your business, yet, start by stepping back and looking at the big picture. It’s easy to be a bit shortsighted and just focus on what’s bugging you right now, rather than considering which goals will make the biggest impact on your business-and your life!
2. Pick a “star” resolution
There are a million issues to address when running your business-and a million ideas to implement. I recommend you pick a single “star resolution” for your business in 2016. These resolutions can relate to growth: a branding consultant is going after bigger contracts this year. An architect wants to add 2 new people to her team. A music teacher plans to grow his student roster by 30%. Growth goals are good because they often enable other goals, like making more money and having a bigger impact. Other clients’ star resolutions relate to efficiency. A real estate brokerage plans to reduce marketing costs; a general contractor wants to streamline processes to free up time. Efficiency goals are great because they create time or money.
3. Make it measurable
We’ve all heard that goals are much more likely to become realities, if we can measure them. Measurement makes it easier to stay focused and track our progress. But some business goals are hard to quantify, so let me share some suggestions: a common goal I see is getting bigger clients or bigger projects. A good way to measure this is to choose a dollar amount that would count as “big” for you, and a number of clients of that size you want.
For example, a real estate broker advised is going after 6 listings of $1 million or more, and 1 listing of $5 million or more. A lawyer wants to grow his revenue. What was realized was that instead of tracking dollars billed, it is much easier for his two junior lawyers (who don’t think much about revenue) to think in terms of billable hours. So, he set a specific number of billable hours per month as a goal for each team member.
4. Create a dashboard
A common mistake people make after making their goal measurable is not setting up a system to make it easy to track progress. If a contractor didn’t measure how long proposals took until the end of the year, it’s not likely that he’ll make consistent progress. Instead, create a simple dashboard for your star resolution. A dashboard is a table where you break your goal down into milestones and record your progress along the way.
5. Communicate the goal constantly
Some people prefer to keep their goals private but what was found that the more people who know about your goals, the easier they will come to fruition. That’s because in business, you never know who can help. For example, a travel consultant mentioned his goal to update his website to a business partner, who happened to know a great web design firm. Another benefit of sharing your vision is that it raises your profile in people’s minds. People want to work with successful people. So, talking about your growth goals can make you more attractive to those who want to do business with you. To maximize this benefit, use confident language. Instead of, “My goal is to double my business this year,” try: “I am working on doubling my business this year.”