The start of the year is the perfect time to dust off last year’s business plan and set some new goals for the future.
While some entrepreneurs love planning, others feel overwhelmed by the process. How do you decide on just a handful of goals that take priority, with so many moving parts that make up a business?
These tips can help you get started brainstorming how your company can plan for greater success in the years ahead.
Redefine your brand
Is the elevator pitch you used a year ago – even six months ago – still accurate? Unless you are crystal clear on who you are as a company, whom you’re here to serve, and what you hope to achieve in the next one to three years, it’s going to be hard to come up with meaningful goals.
Take a look at your company vision, mission statement, and core values. If they need tweaking to reflect where your business is today and where you want it to go, start there. Then you can move on to setting some useful long and short term goals.
Big picture planning
Entrepreneurs dream big—and they should! Thinking big can lead to ground breaking products and services that become the foundation of innovative, successful companies.
When it comes to goal-setting, thinking big is great, too. But in order to make those big ideas like “increasing market share” or “growing profits” happen, you need to break them down into smaller, specific goals and strategies tied to a budget and timeline.
For instance, while your overarching objective may be to “grow profits by 50% by December 31”, your smaller goals might include:
- Launching a social media campaign the first week of March to attract 2,500 new prospects by months’ end; or
- Increasing total sales by 40% with the opening of an online store by July 1st.
The key is to define goals that are measurable and achievable.
Define smaller goals
Thinking through how you’ll achieve your larger objectives can be a fun exercise – one you can turn into a group activity, including your entire team. Sit down and discuss what you know about your customers. Review your historical sales data and look over your up-to-date budget and forecasting.
With all the relevant information at hand and everyone at the table, you can come up with strategies that align with your company vision, assign deadlines, and get buy-in on what everyone needs to do to see your ideas through to completion.
It’s worthwhile to take some time to reflect on your personal goals as you think through your business goals. Maybe you’ve been wanting to get involved in mentoring, improve your networking skills, or attend more conferences. Self-development is, in a sense, professional development – and vice versa, so include them in your plans.
Of course, coming up with business goals is just one part of the equation. You’ll also need to monitor your progress, noting milestones and sharing your company achievements with your team on a regular basis. Tracking your results will help your employees stay motivated – and it also gives you the chance to adjust your goals and strategies in time to achieve the best possible results by year’s end.