2016 is almost here! Where has the time gone? Hopefully you’re already starting to think about next year’s goals for your business. If you haven’t yet, don’t worry - you’re not too late. We’ve put together four smart, simple steps to follow as you set your business goals for 2016.
1. Write them down.
Where do you want to be in one year? Think about the goals you plan to achieve in 2016. Then write them down or type them out. Review and edit as many times as you need. Ask your stakeholders and employees to review them too. Print copies, give them to your employees and display them around your office. By keeping these goals visible, everyone involved will be on the same page and regularly reminded of what they’re working toward.
2. Be S.M.A.R.T.
When goal setting, determine five or more business goals you want to reach or exceed by the end of the year. Make sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Challenge yourself by aiming high, but keeping them realistic. For example, writing “I want to grow my business” is not as S.M.A.R.T. as, “I want to increase sales from $100,000 to $150,000 by December 31, 2016.”
3. Reflect on last year.
Create subcategories under each of your goals and specify action items to get you there. Think about business opportunities that succeeded last year. Were there marketing initiatives that brought in crowds of customers? Walk back through those processes and look for ways to enhance them. Next, look at what did not work. Some of our most valuable lessons come from our biggest challenges. What problems did you face this year? Include in your goals how you plan to avoid or improve them next year.
4. Check your progress.
Remember when I said be specific? This will come in handy when it’s time to check your progress. The clearer your goals are, the easier they’ll be to track. Whether it’s quarterly, monthly or even weekly, assess the advancement of your goals regularly. You know your peak seasons and timelines better than anyone, so keep any variations in mind as you measure. If you see that you’re falling behind, find out why and make adjustments as soon as possible.
We’ve created a template to help you organize your 2016 S.M.A.R.T. goals. Download it here.