Tips for Goal Setting in 2018
1. Review What Was
Before jumping head first in 2018, it’s important to take a moment to review the year just gone. Ask yourself what worked? What didn’t? Who or what left you energised? Who or what left you depleted of enthusiasm? You can’t set (or get) goals until you know where you are today, and that means taking time to review what happened yesterday. (Need help? Download this PDF to start the process).
2. Everything in Moderation
When it comes to goal setting, less is more. I ask my clients to drill down to just three main goals for the year. These should be things that really impact your business (and your life, as they’re so intertwined!) not only in 2018, but for 2020, 2022 etc. I find when business owners set more than three main goals, they tend to lose focus and then welcome overwhelm and despair into their worlds. If you initially have more than three goals, look at how you might group them. For example “increase products sold” and “increase revenue” can be grouped under “increase revenue” with products sold simply a tactic to hit your main goal.
3. Get SMART & Understand Your Levers
Setting a goal without a deadline is a procrastination party in the making. Aim to make your goals specific. You can do this using the famous SMART method or simply use the equation (made famous by Sean Covey) from X to Y by date. For example, instead of saying, ‘I want to make more money’ you may say, ‘I want to move from making $400K per year in January 2018 to making $600K by January 2019’.
This allows you to then work backwards, setting up smaller goals/check-in dates along the year. Next, understand which levers you can influence that will have a direct impact on goal getting. These should be things you can track weekly, monthly or even daily, so that you’re not left at the end of the year with an incomplete goal and no way to go back and fix things. For example, if you sell products, a lever may be dedicated retention marketing activity on a weekly basis (i.e. setting up a loyalty program, creating automated emails to people who bought X sku every three months to replenish, or engaging with key stockists on a regular basis to push up order frequency and volume).
4. Map It Out
One of the most important steps in goal setting (and getting) is to plan things out. Review your goals, your levers (and their frequency) and the key dates for your business (i.e. Fashion Weeks, Trade Fairs etc.) and map this into a three, six or 12-month plan (using Asana, Google Sheets, Trello, a basic Excel sheet or even a paper diary). For example, if you have a revenue goal of $500K for the year, that works out to be a weekly revenue goal of $9,615. You might then adjust this figure for seasons (such as 50% in the Oct – Dec quarter if you’re in retail) then look at which levers you’ll be using to hit these weekly or monthly goals.
By identifying each goal’s smaller steps/tasks and mapping these into a calendar, you begin to structure your year, identify any potential bottlenecks and plan out your weekly, monthly and quarterly activity.
5. Pivot with Purpose
While I’m a huge advocate for planning and goal setting, I understand life can change and priorities shift. Pivoting is possible, so long as it’s done with purpose. Don’t get so paralysed by goals that they become the enemy. They should be helping, not hindering, your progression as a small business owner. By ensuring you’re checking in regularly with your goal getting plan, you can identify where you may need to tweak (or remove) items to bring you closer to where you, and your business, need to be.
Fiona Killackey is a business consultant and the founder of My Daily Business Coach, a consultancy that helps creative small business owners (and their teams) understand, create, analyse and improve their marketing, content and overall business. Stay tuned for her tips for better business goal setting next week!
Fiona is also running a full-day workshop on Marketing for Your Small Business Saturday March 4th with Natasha Morgan. Tickets available here .