Creating Strong New Year’s Resolutions for your Small Business
With the end of the year approaching, small business owners are preparing to spend time with their families, tie up their taxes, perform reviews and continue to fight for their share of holiday sales. Another activity many will be engaged in is creating a list of goals and resolutions that they plan on carrying into the New Year with the aim of improving the health and competitive ability of their companies. When setting a business resolution, as with a personal resolution it is tempting to aim for a radical change, such as giving up a certain guilty pleasure food or promising yourself to give up a vice cold turkey. For this reason, a large number of resolutions never make it more than a couple of months into the year before being forgotten and repackaged for next year. In order to create a set of resolutions that can work for your business, you must think about the goals you can reasonably achieve and how to build on them.
Create goals that incorporate measurable milestones. One of the most common aspects of goals that go unachieved or forgotten is vagueness in the short term, contrasting with a lofty goal in the long term. It’s a strong, ambitious goal to aim for a 50% increase in sales, but if you don’t have a plan in place that can help you increase your sales month over month by an achievable margin, then you shouldn’t expect things to simply fall into place. Create a resolution that you want to achieve and then work backwards to set up intermediate milestones to keep yourself on track to success. In this way you offer yourself clarity of direction as well as the encouragement that comes from achieving stepping stone goals.
Ask your employees for ideas. When you are planning new directions for your business, asking your employees what they think can demonstrate your commitment to their morale and engagement, and can yield some interesting ideas from different perspectives than your own. As the manager of your business, you may not be as exposed to the daily challenges your team must contend with. Their goals might include implementing stronger processes in areas you wouldn’t have thought of yourself.
Measure the results of your changes to determine if they are working. It may be the case that a change you implement to your business has an unanticipated effect that needs to be triaged to stop loss or reduce pressure on another department or function within the business. Measuring the results of your changes will help you know when an idea is performing as you had predicted and when it may be developing in an unanticipated direction.
Photo Credit to Jamie McCaffrey on Flickr