New Year. New Goals. Here’s a Guide:

Goal Setting for 2024

As the calendar turns, it’s not just about celebrating a new year; it’s about seizing opportunities and setting a course for success. For ambitious businesses, the dawn of a new year is the ideal moment to chart a path forward with clarity and precision. Whether you’re a startup ready to scale or an established business seeking to refine your operations, setting SMART (and SMARTER) goals is your roadmap to success.

In this post, we’ll dive into how to set goals that are not only achievable but also align with your long-term vision for growth and excellence. From enhancing customer satisfaction to revolutionizing your internal processes, we’ll guide you through setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound – with added insights on Evaluating and Readjusting your strategies for even greater impact.

Let’s turn your aspirations into achievements. Here’s to a year of setting goals, overcoming challenges, and celebrating milestones!

Elevating Your Business in the New Year with SMART Goals

Welcome to a New Year of Possibilities!

As we embark on a fresh year, it’s an ideal time for businesses, especially those gearing up for growth, to set impactful goals. Let’s dive into how the SMART framework – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound – can guide you in setting effective business goals.

S – Specific: Clarify Your Business Goals

Begin the year by pinpointing exactly what you want to achieve. For instance, instead of a broad goal like ‘improve customer satisfaction,’ aim for something more targeted like ‘increase customer satisfaction ratings by 20% by Q3 through enhanced customer service training.’

M – Measurable: Track Your Progress

Establish concrete metrics to measure the success of your goals. If your objective is to streamline your operations, decide how you’ll measure the efficiency gains – perhaps through reduced processing times or cost savings.

A – Achievable: Set Realistic Expectations

Goals should stretch your capabilities but remain within reach. If you’re planning to expand your product line, consider your current resources and market trends to set a feasible target for the number of new products to launch.

R – Relevant: Keep Your Business Vision in Mind

Your goals should align with your broader business aspirations. If your vision involves becoming a leader in your industry, your goals might include investing in innovative technologies or entering new markets.

T – Time-bound: Define a Timeline

Assign a deadline to each of your goals. If you aim to enhance your team’s skills, schedule training sessions throughout the year and set a date to reassess skills improvement.

Want some extra credit?

The SMART model is a great start, but for extra credit, consider SMART-ER goals. Here is a brief explanation:

E – Evaluate: Regularly Assess Progress

Midway through the year, take time to evaluate the progress of your goals. This isn’t just a checkpoint; it’s an opportunity to analyze your achievements against the benchmarks you’ve set deeply. If you aimed to enhance operational efficiency, review the metrics you established: Have processing times decreased? Are costs lower? This evaluation phase is crucial to understanding the impact of your strategies and whether they are driving the desired results.

R – Readjust: Be Flexible and Adapt

After evaluation, be prepared to readjust your goals and strategies. The business landscape is dynamic, and flexibility is key to staying on track toward your objectives. If you find certain goals no longer align with your business direction or unforeseen challenges have arisen, don’t hesitate to modify your goals. This readjustment could mean setting new targets, extending timelines, or shifting focus to more relevant objectives. The ability to adapt ensures that your business remains agile and responsive to change, keeping you on the path to success.

So now What?

  1. Write your goals down and keep them in front of you. I added my goals sheet to the front of my business binder near my desk. Whenever I grab the binder to work on something for the business, I see my goals immediately.
  2. Share them with someone who can help keep you on track. Part of goal setting is writing down your goals and putting yourself in a place of accountability, even if it is just yourself (good); share with someone else who can help you (better).
  3. Be okay with the process and results to achieve your goals. It’s been said that people tend to overestimate what they can get done in the short term (under 1 year) and underestimate what they can get done in the longer run (1+ years)/. You don’t have a crystal ball, and life happens. At least you made more progress with a goal in mind.
  4. Display them: Put them somewhere you can see them regularly. Or check them regularly in a place that is easy to find. (Yes, this is a second notice)
  5. Check your measurables regularly: Check your “Measurables” regularly to ensure you are on track with your goals. You can also get a sense if you need to pivot any of your goals. (See Below)

For Small Busines Owners

If you are a small business owner, I will recommend the following areas you should make goals for:

  1. Revenue – How much money will you bring in for the business?
  2. Profit – How much are you going to profit from the business? Quick clue: expenses have a lot to do with this.
  3. Measurables: How will you measure results? Think of some feedback data points (Like payments received) and some feedforward data points (basically, if you know customers spend $100 a week on a service, and you have a goal of $1,000 in billing, then you estimate that 10 clients will get you that goal. Tracking the # of customers you have is a feedforward data point for revenue. )
  4. KPIs – Key Performance Indicators: You will have to Google these until I write something I can link to. Basically, these are calculations that give you a sense of how your business is doing. Think of these as pressure valves or thermometers for the business. They don’t tell you everything but can give some insight into where to look or what to watch out for.
  5. Quality of Life: If you work 80 hours a week to make a million dollars by yourself, do you want to continue doing that? If you wanted to make $ 2 million, you would need another 80 hours a week, yikes! Not every dollar is worth the effort. Plan in time off, vacations, and other things that make life interesting, fun, and not always work.
  6. Your baseline: Have a clear understanding of what your baseline should be. For example, if you made 20% more this month, your average monthly income for the last six months is 50% of where you were last year. That’s a good month but still a bad year.
  7. Compare: Most likely, your business is a service or product business. You have a target audience and solve a particular problem. So do other businesses. Compare your metrics to industry standards and comparable businesses. Ex: If you are a taco trick, compare yourself to other taco trucks and consider other specialty food trucks. Compare percentages/ratios, not data point for data point.

Need some help?

If you need help with Goal Setting, I can help you with a free 30-minute meeting. If you need more help than that, I can help you hourly with goal setting.