With 2019 changing to 2020, now is the perfect time to set business goals for the new year. These goals will give you a clear direction as to where your small business needs to go and align everyone in the company toward that direction.
While coming up with business goals is easy, learning how to set the right goals and determining how to best achieve them requires some guidance. Follow this three-phase process for successful goal setting and planning.
Phase 1: Before the goal-setting exercise
Before jumping to where you want to go in 2020, you need to assess where the company currently stands.
#1. Conduct a SWOT analysis
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Strengths and weaknesses are internal to your company — things that you have control over and can change. This may include your team members, location, and patents.
On the other hand, opportunities and threats are external to your organization. While you can take advantage of opportunities and prepare for threats, you can’t change them. Examples include prices of raw materials, customer behavior, competitors, and government regulations.
The SWOT analysis will help you make the most of what you have and reduce the chances of failure by mitigating threats and understanding where you’re lacking.
#2. Look back at the past year
To effectively plan for the future, you need to review what happened in 2019 and evaluate your company’s performance:
- What has changed in the past year? Did your business expand? Did you hire new staff?
- Did you achieve the goals you set at the start of the year?
- What were your most significant achievements? How did they impact business growth?
- What were your biggest disappointments? Did the company do anything to address them?
- A helpful exercise that we utilize here at Leverage IT is the Paterson Centers “Four Helpful Lists” (https://patersoncenter.com/) to gain insights into what is going well, what is going wrong, what is confused and what is missing.
Answering these questions will help you learn what worked and did not work for you in the past year and will support your growth in 2020.
Phase 2: During the goal-setting exercise
#1. Set SMART goals
Based on your SWOT analysis and year-end business review, create goals using the SMART goal-setting format.
|Specific||What do you want to accomplish?||We want to gain 60 new customers from the new office building.|
|Measurable||How will you know if you are doing well?||We will measure progress by tracking the number of new customers coming from the new office building.|
|Achievable||How will you implement the goal?||We will create a customized sales promotion for first-timers and publicize it by distributing flyers in the new office building.|
|Relevant||Is the goal connected to your overall objectives?||This will help increase the number of new customers and profits.|
|Timely||By when should you achieve the goal?||We should achieve this by the end of the second quarter of 2020.|
Using this format sets you up for success since you’re able to clarify your ideas and focus your efforts.
#2. Make mini-goals
One of the reasons why many fail to achieve their goals is because when the due date is so far away, people tend to put off taking action until it’s too late. To avoid this, create mini-goals that move you toward the big goal.
For example, if the goal is to gain 60 new customers from the new office building within six months (or by second quarter of 2020), you should aim to get 10 new customers every month or 30 new customers each quarter. If you hit your mini-goals, you’ll know you’re on track.
#3. Make an action plan
The best way to turn a goal into reality is to create a detailed action plan.
An action plan is a written document that outlines all the necessary tasks — with corresponding timeframes and resources — to accomplish the goal. This helps you keep projects on schedule and within budget.
For example, if the goal is to win 60 new customers from the new office building in six months, what actions do you need to take to achieve this? This might include designing a flyer, hiring people to hand out flyers, and talking to the building administration to schedule flyer distribution.
Make sure to include the specifics of each task. For example, how many flyers should you give out per day to win one customer? Who is responsible for talking to the building administration? By when should the task be accomplished?
Define the investment required for each task. How much will each step cost, in terms of dollars, time, and energy? What additional resources will you need to acquire?
Phase 3: After the goal-setting exercise
#1. Communicate your goals and action plan internally
Make sure to cascade the fruits of the goal-setting exercise to your entire organization. Everyone should understand the importance of those goals to business success and how each staff member’s performance impacts the goals.
#2. Regularly monitor and evaluate the progress
A regular cadence of monitoring, reporting, and reviewing your goals and analyze your progress with teams and the company. This will help you resolve any issues and make tweaks to the action plan to keep you on track.
Reach your 2020 business goals more easily and efficiently by partnering with Leverage IT. We’ll hook you up with customized IT solutions and services that will drive growth and productivity. Get in touch with us today!