Now that we’re in the infancy stage of 2013, the daunting task of defining New Year’s Resolutions is done, and it’s time to start doing. Despite mixed opinions of the worth of resolutions, they are very rewarding if set up properly for success.
Often times resolutions are goals that are easier said, than done. It’s easy for a small business owner to resolve to have a leaner business in 2013, or get new clients, but here is the problem with those resolutions- they are just words. They have no viable vision, or specifics that make them attainable. Like any kind of goal setting, resolutions should be as specific as possible with strategies and tactics to support them. Goals should be tied directly to the success of something else, e.g. if reducing your overhead will enable you to pay for the accounting help you desperately need, that’s just one extra motivator.
However, first let’s understand some key differences between goals, strategies, and tactics (which surprisingly elude many). Think of them like a pyramid, the more you go down the pyramid, the more specific they become. Your goal is what you want, your strategy is what needs to happen to get what you want, and your tactics are what steps or tools are needed to reach your strategy and achieve your goal.
Here’s an example:
Goal: Have a leaner business in 2013
Strategy: Reduce overhead costs by 15%
- Reduce paper and toner costs by going paperless
- Store and share documents in the cloud with a service like DropBox
- Ditch the landline phone and opt for a VoIP plan
The above tactics should derive from a comprehensive look at the company’s current expenditures and how reducing them would help you achieve the 15% savings.
Once you’ve defined a structure for your resolutions there are a couple of final considerations to take into account- timeline and accountability.
Setting a timeline is one of the greater challenges for completing resolutions- how much time is enough time? Well, the answer depends on the goal. Something like the above is easier to achieve, though not all resolutions are created equal. If your goal is ongoing, then tailoring your goals to smaller periods of time is the best course. Once one period of time comes to an end, asses the outcome(s) and adjust accordingly. If your goal can be achieved as a one-off, then set a time period that puts the most urgency into its completion.
Finally, accountability should be highly considered. Both personal goals and business goals should be shared with someone that matters. This will create that final motivating push that will keep you on your toes towards your goal. As a business owner, share what you want to achieve with your managers, or even your employees. If they feel included in your plan they will be more conscious of their activities and feel motivated to help you achieve the company’s goals. Plus, they’ll keep you on track by checking on the progress. The more public the resolution, the more pressure there is not to disappoint.
Regardless of what your goals are, whether you make them December 31st to set you up for the new year, or on June 1st, make them more than words, make them count, make them actionable, and let the feeling of achievement propel you further.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous year ahead!