Are you on the path to achieving your dreamy goals which you've set for yourself and your business? Setting these goals is hard work and requires dedication and time. But without them you are letting luck decide your path for you. Not the best strategy, right? So take it into your own hands to guide your business towards success.
How does the new year make you feel?
Are you excited to get going and start something new? Or is it stressing you out, because you haven't done a review of your past business year nor set new goals yet?
Let me tell you, that I'm a bit of both.
I love statistics, so reviewing my past business year is super fun for me, because I can actually see my progress (and areas where I'm still lacking). But setting goals leaves me with an uneasy feeling - because it's hard to set your goals!
But by doing so you can steer your business towards your bigger goals. Without it you are like a raft just drifting wherever the winds and currents take you. And it might be the opposite direction you would have wanted to take.
That's why setting goals is so important! Even though you might not achieve them all - which is ok by the way - by simply trying to do so you will improve our business significantly! And you'll also start to see growth in yourself. That's why looking back is so important as well. If you compare yourself to how you've done things one, two, maybe three years ago - you'll realize that you are an entirely different person.
So here are my tips on why and how to set goals for your business year ahead.
1. SEE THE LARGER PICTURE
If you don't know where you wanna be five or ten years from now, how are you gonna make it a reality? That's why setting goals for yourself is essential. It helps you to stay on track to actually achieve what you set your mind to.
By focusing on the daily tasks you get the work done, but you are not working on your business. It's important to keep your company running and manage your daily tasks, but your monthly, quarterly and yearly goals are what will change you and your business for the better.
2. REVIEW & COMPARE
If you don't know what you've already achieved or look at your strategies up until now, you will have a hard time figuring out how to move forward. You don't want to rely on luck when it comes to your business. So how can you make an informed desicion about setting your goals?
Look back on your past business year, write down all the data you can find, and compare it to previous statistics and plan ahead using it as a base. This way you will see if newly implemented strategies are working or if you need to adjust them. If you don't have the data to support your decisions you are not aiming for your goals.
Setting yearly goals is about the bigger picture. I'd still recommend to check back on your goals and statistics about every three months to see if you are still on track.
3. PUT YOUR GOALS IN WRITING
Writing down your goals turns them from vague ideas into solid plans. You start to make yourself accountable, because you can read them again in a few months time and remind yourself what you set out to do. This way, your goals and dreams will stay fresh in your memory and it's easier to target them.
It will also be easier to review them later on and see, if your strategies worked for what you intended to do.
It will also make you think about your dreams way harder. Just having a thought or an idea doesn't have a specific structure. But if you write it down, you will think about all aspects you need to to make it a reality.
This is when SMART goals come into action. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. And it's the structure you have to start using for your goals, because this formula contains every aspect that's important.
4. GET CLARITY
Taking the time to work on your business is always beneficial. Sadly we rarely ever do it, because daily business takes over. That's why setting your goals in the beginning of a new year is always a great idea.
When you actually sit down, take a moment and look at your business from an analytical perspective, you'll reach clarity in many ways. Maybe you suddenly realize that you've gotten off-track or you see that you are currently offering services that no longer make you happy.
I know that this happened to me this year. And if I hadn't sat down to put in the work, I wouldn't have realized this and struggled on as before. So really think hard about who you are as a person and a business and reflect on internal structures, workflows and goals. You might also have this moment of clarity, which will ignite a spark in you and make you excited for what's possible.
5. THERE'S MORE THAN FINANCIALS
So many people only think about financials when it comes to setting goals. While having a ballpark idea of your income goal is great (and necessary), it's by far not the only category you should think about!
What kind of customers/clients do you want to work with? Do you want to branch out into different countries? Would you like to try out a new marketing channel? Is your website getting you enough traffic and inquiries? Are your clients/customers giving you positiv feedback after working with you?
None of these questions have anything to do with finances, but paint the bigger picture of your business. Finances are just one metric to measure success.
Let's compare two scenarios:
Scenario Nr. 1:
You only attract dream clients and they are a delight to work with. They leave you raving reviews and come back to you for more services regularly. They appreciate your quality work and always pay on time. You get to take an extra day off to stay home with your kids. This way you generate 100.000 in yearly revenue.
Scenario Nr. 2:
You make 200.000 in yearly revenue and surpass your income goals every single time. To do so you have to work six days a week and often squeeze in projects, because your clients expect quick results from you. You have very little wiggle room to express your own ideas, so you feel burnt-out from all the hard work.
Which one seems like the better goal now? If money is your only objective than definitely number two. But if you aim to create a great work-life-balance and lasting client relationships, than I'm sure you'd pick number one over two any day.
6. GOALS CAN CHANGE
Setting goals should always be a tool to help you and never restrict you in any way. We are all humans and therefore we are bound to change. It's the natural course of life - and some things just happen unintentionally. Maybe your family situation has changed (like having a baby or needing to take care of a family elder) or a business opportunity dropped in your lap, which you weren't expecting. It doesn't mean you shouldn't go for it. If it's something that makes you excited - do it!
By setting goals you can look back at them and see if it's still what you want to achieve today. And if plans have changed it gives you the opportunity to ravage all the good parts you want to keep and discard anything you no longer see worthy of persuing.
Changing the course doesn't mean that the strategies you implemented weren't working. You can still use the statistics and move them over to your new goals. This way you reduce the amount of work on yourself and the trial-and-error phase you'd normally have.
Are you still looking for a solid structure to help you set those dreamy goals of yours and make them a reality? I've created a free 29 page workbook that will help you to analyze your past, present and future to steer your business in the right direction - towards success!
Level up your business with regular tips on branding, product design and strategy. My Magical Biz Letter (aka newsletter) is for business owners young-at-heart who want to get the party started and leave a lasting impression with their audience. Ready? Let's go!
Written by Nina Schindlinger
As the founder and creative director of MilkyRosa design agency I’m your partner in crime for projects regarding branding, product design and talking strategy for your business. I create bold designs for business owners young-at-heart to spread joy and positivity. It’s my mission to make your company tangible for your customers and create an experience they will remember.