As you reflect on 2022, how do you feel about your business performance? Did you achieve most or all of your goals? Are you celebrating all the milestones you reached? Ready to head into 2023 with an air of complacency?
If like most business owners, your answer is no, you may have struggled to hit business targets. You know the general things you want to achieve. Growth, more per-customer sales, higher profits and the like are on everyone’s radar, but meeting these broad goals is not easy.
The key is to set clear, actionable goals for your business. And you need to have strategies in place for how you will reach them. Read on for a guide to making 2023 the year you hit all your business targets.
Prioritise Your Objectives
One of the greatest business challenges is doing everything at once. You need to source new clients, keep current ones happy, streamline processes, keep on top of finances and motivate your employees. As you set major, overarching goals for 2023, you need to identify the priorities.
A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) can be a powerful way to be clear about the things that need the most attention. By analysing these things relating to your business, you will quickly identify the areas that need to be addressed first.
Once you have undertaken your SWOT analysis, you need to use your discoveries to set priorities. Don’t set yourself too many goals as you will end up spreading yourself too thin. Remember that the discoveries here are not the actual goals; they are just the priorities that you want to focus on first. Later on, you can use them to set SMART goals that are specific and measurable.
Review The Goals With Your Team
Successful business owners are aware that employees are their most valuable asset. Keep this in mind when defining your business goals.
Your team is on the ground day in, day out. They work on products and communicate with clients and customers. They can tell you what is and isn’t working and give key insights into what’s holding your business back. After you complete your SWOT analysis, take it to your employees and get their feedback. They may agree with your assessment but they may also have some useful suggestions to add.
Keep your employees involved in the creation of business goals and strategies. This will help keep them motivated and inspired to be productive. By contributing to the goal-setting process, those team members will feel engaged and valued. Simultaneously, they will keep things grounded and help ensure the goals are achievable.
Goals Should bB SMART
After undergoing the previous steps, you should have 3-5 business goals laid out. Now you are ready to develop them from mere ideas to actionable objectives. You do this by making the goals SMART:
Specific: What exactly is the objective?
Measurable: How will you be able to assess progress?
Achievable: What process will you implement to succeed?
Relevant: Does the goal relate to your larger objectives?
Timely: When will the goal be achieved?
Take any one of the basic goals you identified in the previous steps and look to make more precise targets to shoot for. This could be gaining 10 new customers within a certain timeframe or getting a certain number of new subscribers. Be realistic about what is achievable and whether the goals you create meet the SMART requirements.
Identify Your KPIs
The tried-and-tested method of measuring progress towards a business goal is to identify KPIs.
This stands for Key Performance Indicators. They are numbers that can be tracked to indicate whether or not progress is being made. These can be fantastic motivators. When you ensure your goals fit the SMART criteria, you should have already established some KPIs.
For example, if your goal was to get a certain number of new clients for your business from email marketing, you’d need to keep track of leads and conversions from email campaigns. You might also want to set KPIs relating to the number of new mailing list subscribers and other behaviours relating to how they engage with emails.
KPIs will be a presence throughout your business. They include things like monthly sales targets and KPIs for individual staff members. As we have said, they are very important motivators as well as ways of measuring progress.
Build Good Business Habits
If you want things to happen, there needs to be organisation and the encouragement of good habits. If you aim to lose weight, you need to schedule exercise time and plan healthy meals. Your business goals will benefit from a similar approach.
Bring in automation wherever possible. Use calendars with reminders for yourself and your employees. Take advantage of smart to-do list software to organise your tasks with deadlines and prompts to keep you on schedule. Stick key goals on your office wall or put them in the staff meeting room so people don’t forget them.
A crucial step is to consistently review and analyse progress. If any issues arise, resolve them swiftly. Check that the KPIs you implemented are working and look for ways to optimise processes so that improvements can be made wherever possible.
It’s wise to have regular business plan review meetings a few times a year. This will enable you to work with your team on priorities and strategies. Working on goals and objectives throughout the year will keep everyone on the same page about both the short- and long-term so everyone stays on track.
If all this sounds overwhelming, you should find reassurance in the fact that it would be more overwhelming to be drowning in work and miles away from your goals. Identify your priorities, set SMART goals, define your SPI and put things in place to keep everyone on-task. This will put you in a strong position to head into 2023 with the right framework for success.