Looming at the end of each holiday season is a reminder that the New Year is approaching and with it, many feel compelled to declare New Year’s resolutions. For many, it is a tradition with a love-hate relationship. Though resolutions are made with the best of intentions each year, come February, the persistence and determination wane, and it’s not hard to fall into the same rut. This is true not only for personal goals, but also business objectives as entrepreneurs. Now that another January 1st is around the corner, the question remains, what steps can entrepreneurs follow to set goals or resolutions while also staying on track?
Most business owners realize that goal setting is an integral part of running a company—but how to make those goals relevant to a business is another story. According to Drew DeMasters, Author of Landlord Marketing Secrets, a good starting point is to remember that every entrepreneur is in the business of customer service, regardless of the product or service they sell or the market they operate in. It follows that before setting any goals for the New Year, a successful strategy begins with a focus on what the customer wants and what is best for them. After all, a business without customers is not a business at all.
Next, examine last year’s goals, those that were met and those that weren’t, and why. By exploring the company’s successes and shortcomings, a business owner can set more realistic and attainable objectives while still pushing themselves to achieve more year-over-year.
Despite knowing the industry and the clients they serve, many companies don’t prepare an actionable plan for how to meet goals that are laid out for the New Year. Those entrepreneurs who do have a strategy often keep it in their head, which makes it difficult for them and for others within the organization to contribute effectively. Therefore it is helpful to follow a “SMART” approach to setting goals: making each objective Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable and Timely. Put goals in writing to keep everyone involved accountable and aware. Set short- and long-term checkpoints during the year to make sure that steady and quantifiable progress towards the objectives is made and take daily actions toward meeting each goal.
Once comfortably ensconced in the day-to-day of 2012, a business owner’s New Year’s resolutions may be quickly forgotten. However, with these strategies, they’ll be toasting to successes instead of dreading January 1st this time next year.