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Setting New Business Goals for the New Year

All business owners have goals they’d want their business to achieve. The problem is finding, and following, the right path to get there.

As an independent contractor, you’re in charge of steering your business’s journey in the right direction, but you’ll find that pretty difficult to accomplish without a clear vision of your goals in the first place.

Establishing goals requires you to analyse your business and discover where your strengths and weaknesses lie so you can ask yourself what it would take to shape it to your envisioned future. Making time to do this properly might be difficult to fit in with your busy schedule, but you’ll learn that your goals become more attainable if you do.

The beginning of a new year makes for a great time to finally lay out your business goals if you haven’t done so already. And even if you have, it pays to assess them once more to really get #Readyfor2017.

Start with your long-term goals

Enterprise Journey vision

Figuring out your long-term objectives first will help you break it down into smaller, easier-to-achieve milestones. Long-term goals usually need a timeline of around three to five years; however, keep in mind that they can change quickly due to new trends and standards in your industry.

Contemplate on why you started your business in the first place. You’ll find that goals feel more natural and meaningful when you have this cornerstone in mind.

Don’t shy from thinking big. So many large and successful businesses today sprouted from an individual dreaming of a future that might have felt impossible when they began.

Visionary goals like these usually fall into these categories:

  • Service: Improving customer satisfaction, retention, etc.
  • Growth: Expanding the business through the addition of new employees or creation of new ventures.
  • Profit: Increasing profits or margins by a certain percentage.
  • Social: Giving back to the community through charitable donations, volunteering, etc.

However, don’t feel limited by these at all. Make your goal inspirational; something to strive for in your journey to building a worthy enterprise. Don’t fall into the trap of setting goals because they are what others expect, such as making a certain amount of profit, etc. Set goals that are important to you and reflect what you want.

Determine your short-term objectives

Reaching for easy targets

With your long-term goals clearly set, you can now plan how to accomplish them through smaller objectives that you can hit on a weekly or monthly timeline.

Here’s an easy-to-remember acronym to use in setting more effective short-term goals: make them S.M.A.R.T.

  • Specific: Where long-term goals can be abstract, short-term ones need to be concrete and defined.
  • Measurable: Place an actual value, such as a dollar amount or percentage, that this objective will add to your business.
  • Actionable: Plan out the specific actions that need to be taken and by whom.
  • Realistic: Though you’ll want goals to be challenging, keep your available resources in mind to make sure they’re still achievable.
  • Time-bound: Set a deadline for the goal so you can stay on track throughout the year.

Here’s an example of a SMART goal:

Long-term objective: I want to increase the revenue of my direct sales business.

Specific: I will make an additional three product sales every week.

Measurable: Each sale will add $100 to my weekly revenue.

Actionable: I will improve my presentation and visit at least three more prospects every day.

Realistic: I will condense my presentation to a maximum of thirty minutes to allow for more prospect visits.

Time-bound: I will aim to hit this weekly target consistently for three months.

SMART goal: I will make an additional three product sales every week for three months by improving my presentation and visiting more prospects. This will allow me to increase my business’ revenue significantly.

The key to the SMART goal process is to be motivated to set and work on realistic and attainable goals because of the buzz you get when you achieve them.

Keep in mind the importance of tying these short-term goals with your long-term ones. If done correctly, focusing on completing smaller milestones becomes easier while you steadily progress step by step to achieving the big ones. Say you want to increase profits by 25% in 2017. The large figure may seem daunting but if you consider aiming for a 2% increase every month, it will feel very doable (again, the power of setting a Realistic goal).

Organise your goals

Planning your weekly goals

By now you should have more than a handful of targets you’re eager to hit. Before you do, organise your list so you can keep track of your progress.

You can use any kind of tool to help you here, from a small notebook to an Excel spreadsheet to even a dedicated software solution. Having your list of goals readily accessible lets you stay focused on ticking them off one by one.

More importantly, this will allow you to more easily discover the possible conflicts and contradictions that may result from having numerous goals. For example, say you want to both improve customer service and attain the highest possible margins. It will be nigh impossible to achieve both at the same time since improving customer service is costly.

Be honest with yourself in recognising which goals you can achieve by yourself and which you need help with. Don’t hesitate to get professional support for things you’re not good at. For example, independent contractors should consider taxation and accounting services such as CeTaX™ so they can leave that administrative side to experts, which lets them focus on growing their business.

Designate accountability and recognise accomplishments

Celebrate your accomplishments

Having a shiny new list of goals is all well and good, but it’s practically useless without proper implementation.

Break down the specific activities or tasks that each individual in your business should be accountable for. Discuss your objectives with them and motivate them to see the big picture so they can work towards the overall goals. Note that accountability and motivation are both necessary to turn your goals into reality, and offering one without the other is simply counterproductive.

And finally, one of the most overlooked parts of this entire process: rewarding the people who actually strive to achieve the business’s goals. This doesn’t have to mean a financial incentive; sometimes sincere recognition is all that’s needed to build a culture of appreciation within your business.

The same concepts can be applied by independent contractors without employees. You’ll of course be accountable for nearly everything, but don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments and recognise your efforts in your enterprise journey.

Make sure you’re #Readyfor2017 by setting your business goals through these steps.

Oh, remember – go easy on yourself. Don’t set too many goals and remember to make them achievable. This process needs to be simple, motivational and maintainable. Take it one step at a time.

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One response to “Setting New Business Goals for the New Year”

  1. James Valente says:

    I enjoyed this achieve your goals blog post. Thanks for sharing this information.

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