When you get in a car to get from point A to B, you need a plan to reach your destination. The same is true for achieving goals in your business — it’s hard to reach the end result without a plan to get there.
The transition from one year to another is a great time to set goals. Goals are necessary to help you focus and measure the growth of your business. A 2019 study found that participants’ success rate towards achieving a goal increased if they wrote the goal down, committed with action steps, and built-in accountability checks. Participants in the study who didn’t take any of those actions — just thought of a goal — saw a 43 percent success rate. While those who did all three had a 76 percent success rate.
Everyone’s goals are different. It largely depends on what you want to achieve as a business owner and only you can answer that. Below are three tips to help you set goals for the new year.
Reflect on the past year
In order to move forward, it’s actually a good idea to look back first. Reflection is a powerful tool to analyze and learn from your past business experiences. Start by asking yourself some questions to really unpack what went well and what didn’t. Here are a few examples: When was I happiest in my business? What period did I experience the most struggle? If I could redo this year, what would I do differently? Did I reach my goals? Reflect to figure out what’s next for your business.
Think about what you want to accomplish
Once you’ve reflected on how the year went, it’s time to set some new goals. What those goals will be is entirely up to you. Do you want to reach a new financial milestone? Do you want to experience growth? Do you want to learn a new skill and add it to the services you offer? There are so many possibilities. Remember, to write down and think through the action steps it will take to achieve them. Accountability is also key. That can be as simple as sharing your goals with a friend.
Goal-setting becomes meaningless without specifics. A classic example is someone who sets a goal to lose weight. What’s missing from the general goal are the specifics. How much weight and in what time frame? When you get down to the nitty-gritty, it makes it easier to think through the details and measure your progress. Sticking with the same weight example, if someone wants to lose 24 pounds in one year — that breaks down to micro-goals of two pounds a month. It can be uncomfortable, but try to be as specific as possible when setting business goals.
For more on developing new goals and business strategies for 2021, check out this post by Entrepreneur.com.