Getting your business off to the right start in the New Year is a matter of setting the right goals, and then achieving them. Use these 5 strategies for setting goals that will make 2014 your best year yet.
As people, we often fall into the trap of setting the same, predictable New Years Resolutions year after year. If you're not careful, you may do the same with your business.
When it comes to making goals for your company, take time to select goals that really matter. If growth in sales is your company's main focus, select goals that will contribute directly to growth. If employee retention is hurting, set goals that will help you keep your best employees around longer. Far too many companies set goals each year that are either superficial or simply not impactful. Don't make this mistake.
In addition to setting meaningful goals, be sure that your goals align with your company's values. Goals that are out of line will either take you off course of simply fall by the wayside. In either case, you're setting yourself up for a disappointing 2014.
The best goals are easy to remember, difficult to forget, and clearly measurable. Stay simple by selecting goals that are easily memorized and integrated into work processes. Eliminate goals that are too ambiguous or not easily quantifiable. Creating overcomplicated or unclear goals and you're setting your employees up to fail.
Bad goals can include: "Increase production" or "Become sales rock stars in 2014!" A better goal format would be something like: "Capture 400 new clients in 2014." Remember, get specific and keep it simple.
Goals set for the entire company should be shared openly for a number of reasons. For starters, it gives employees a clear understanding of what the company is seeking to accomplish. And while these goals may be set by only a few people (in management,) they will be accomplished by an entire company. In addition, transparency correlates extremely highly with employee happiness. Allow all of your employees to take ownership over this year's goals by sharing them openly.
Another great reason to share your company's goals for 2014 is the added accountability and support it creates. Openly sharing solidifies commitment and opens the door for cooperative efforts between individual workers and collective departments. But there is more to the equation...
Achieving goals often means saying "no" to distractions. This is as true for business goals as it is for personal goals. The difference between achieving a goal and falling short of the mark often comes down to self discipline and an ability to say "no" at the right times. Here are two examples:
In his recent AMEX OpenForum post, TINYpulse Founder David Niu explained how saying "no" has helped him achieve success over the past 12 months. He said, "I often tell new entrepreneurs that the blessing of being an entrepreneur is doing anything you want. But that's also the curse because you can get too randomized. Say no and focus on your mission and vision, and you'll find success." In other words, sometimes even positive opportunities can distract you from your primary goals. Beware these distractions.
A second example of the importance of saying "no" is when it comes to cultivating the right team of employees. While hiring the right people is important, it can be even more important to fire the right people. An employee who is a bad fit in terms of either culture or ability can often be the difference between reaching a desired goal and falling short. By saying "no" to keeping such an employee on staff, your chances for success in 2014 could increase dramatically.
In short, the best goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. You can remember these points by using the simple acronym, "SMART." Use this guideline to help you stay on target when creating goals, and you're sure to enjoy a prosperous 2014!