Most people who are familiar with new year’s resolutions are also familiar with a feeling of defeat within a few weeks or months of setting their goals. They realize they’ve gotten too busy to achieve them, that their goals are too challenging or overwhelming, or they just abandoned them completely without reason. In fact, 46% of people give up on their new year’s resolution by the end of January, and 64% give up on their goals within six months.
This is true in the workplace, as well. So how do you set new year’s resolutions for your small business that will outlast that fresh start enthusiasm? Here are three proven tips on making your small business new year’s resolutions last all year long:
- Be really specific. The goal that continually tops the list on personal new year’s resolutions is “lose weight.” For small businesses, it is simply, “increase profits” or “grow my business.” What is missing in these statements? Specificity.
Would you be happy losing one pound? How about increasing your yearly profits by $50? If you aren’t specific in your goals, it’s nearly impossible to create a plan to carry them out. If you can use numbers in your small business new year’s resolutions, do so. For example, “We will take our annual sales from $150,000 to $200,000 in 2016,” or “We currently have 200 clients. We will obtain 100 new clients in 2016.” Specific statements like these give you a benchmark to analyze data.
Tip: Make your small business new year’s resolutions pack an extra punch by putting your statements into a can-do format using words like “will” or “can,” rather than “hope to” or “want to.”
- Create a plan of action, and then set the wheels in motion. Small business new year’s resolutions don’t resolve themselves. You and your employees will have to work together to create a plan and stick to it to accomplish the goals you set. For each goal you decided on, list the action steps it will take to make it happen. For example, if your goal is to obtain 100 new clients in 2016, your actions might be:
-Spend 10% more on advertising/marketing efforts
-Hire two new employees focused on client acquisition
-Hold one meeting per month to discuss ideas for new client acquisition
Each of these tasks should be assigned to someone on your team, and given a deadline. Employees should report the progress of these action steps regularly to help you stay on track with your small business new year’s resolutions.
- Review regularly and especially at year-end. Your small business new year’s resolutions can ultimately become a plan of action for the year, and thus should be revisited and even tweaked or edited accordingly. Plan to review your new year’s resolutions quarterly, and then a large year-end review for your entire staff. Schedule specific meetings for discussing these goals now so you don’t haphazardly throw something together at the end of the first quarter.
When you review your small business new year’s resolutions with your team, be sure to discuss which items you can check off your list, what worked, what didn’t and why. Do what you can to move the team forward and continue working on the goals throughout the entire year. By making this a yearly process, you can see and record noticeable changes in every aspect of your business, according to the goals you set.
Ben Sutton is the founder of Mazuma USA, an accounting firm providing tax, bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses. Since founding Mazuma, Ben has established himself as an expert in the small business world. He’s still driven by that same desire to provide accounting help to all small businesses – from photographers, bloggers and creatives to lawyers, doctors, and dentists, everyone needs affordable accounting help. Ben is a Certified Public Accountant, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But Ben considers his greatest achievement and credential to be his happy wife and four children.