The holiday season is over and the New Year is here. As people are making personal resolutions and plans, many business owners are making important decisions and setting goals for their businesses as well. As any business person can tell you, setting goals is different than actually achieving them. Why not take the time to really evaluate your business, get a good understanding of where you are right now, really think about where you want to be, and take a realistic look at how you can get there? Now is the perfect time to evaluate your business and figure out how to set smarter goals that you can achieve this year and in the future.
The first step in getting smart about setting goals for your business is to take a good look at where you are right now. You need to be realistic. Tough questions may be hard to answer initially, but will pay off in the end.
Some questions to ask:
- What do my finances look like?
- What debt do I have?
- Do I have a large client roster, or just a few large accounts?
- How much market share does my company have?
- What am I doing to rise above the competition?
- How has my industry changed in the past year? Am I keeping up with those changes?
- How can I become more valuable to my customers?
- Do I understand my customers? Do I know how or what I am providing for them?
- What areas of my business should be running more smoothly?
- Can I hire new employees to make the business run more efficiently?
- What training or education can I get for myself or my employees this year?
- What support system have I created? Do I have a mentor or business adviser?
- How could we expand, geographically or with new products or services?
- What are some strategies I can use to build my business?
Once you've evaluated your situation and reflected on your business, you can look forward to where you want to go in the next year. Understanding your current situation allows you to make reasonable and attainable goals for the future. Create a record of your goals by putting them on paper. This gives you something to focus on, a visual reminder of what you're working towards. Sharing your goals with others you trust is another step in achieving your objectives. Trusted business associates, family, or friends can keep you on track.
Make your goals specific and realistic. Take your big dreams and break them down into short term objectives. Instead of focusing on increasing your sales by next year, figure out how much you want to increase your sales by each quarter. Long term goals are important, but the short term objectives will be easier to accomplish and make your big picture ambitions easier to attain.
Once you've broken down your big picture goal into short term objectives, you have to prioritize them. Figure out what needs to be taken care of in the short-term, and what is more realistic in the long-term. Your deadlines could range from the end of the day to the end of the year; some may even have a date even further into the future.
So now that you've got both your big picture goals and your short term objectives established, it's time to get to work! How are you going to turn your goals into a reality?
Look into all of your options. Ask those in your business network that you trust for information and resources. Get creative about how you work towards your goals. Are you unable to send all of your employees to an industry seminar? Look for Webinars employees can view from work. Can't afford to buy the new computer equipment or software you need to stay competitive? Equipment leasing offers great opportunities! Do you need some trusted advice or an outlet for business discussions? Look for a qualified business coach or peer advisory group.
The road to reaching your goals won't always be a straight and easy one. There will be twists and turns and bumps in the road. By asking the tough questions, developing realistic short and long term goals, you will be well on your way to making smarter decisions and goals for your business in 2010.
Labels: Business Tips