If you want your company to succeed, you can’t do it without setting better business goals and objectives for the new year, and an important part of setting better business goals and objectives is monitoring whether or not you’re on track to meet those goals. It’s easy to think that your goals are being met if your business is succeeding, but in order to really examine your business’s performance, you should be looking at data and key performance indicators that reinforce your business’s performance. And if you don’t have the data to back it up, you should either find out how to better track your goals or set more specific, measurable goals.
Before the new year starts, you should take a look at your goals and determine where you think your business should go in the new year. The last quarter of the year is the best time to assess your business’s performance in the year so far and start planning for the next year. While you can refocus your business goals at any time, the last quarter of the year is an optimal time to review your accomplishments and determine where you want to go in the next year. These last few months of the year are a time to reflect on what growth or setbacks you experienced, what your goals for the future are and how you plan to accomplish those goals.
Why set goals?
Not taking the time to identify actionable items and KPIs for your business in the new year can hamper your efforts and successes all year long. Setting specific, realistic, measurable goals are the only way to keep track of your successes and ensure you’re moving in the right direction. Without setting goals, business owners often get stuck chasing undefined ideas of “success” that they may never reach rather than making calculated and purposeful decisions toward their goals.
Having established goals allows you to set the direction of where your business is headed. Rather than simply reacting to what challenges or boons your business encounters over the course of the year, identifying your business goals and how you want to take steps to accomplish them over the next year allows you to set your business on the right course.
How should you set goals?
Look for business opportunities you might have missed in the last year. Did you see growth in any portion of your business? Can you expand on that growth in the new year? Look for trends and review whatever data you might have collected in the previous year to decide what can be improved in the coming twelve months. Likewise, review the setbacks and challenges you faced and identify ways to plan to overcome or cushion similar difficulties. Often, the highest ROI is achieved when you focus some resources on the portion of your business that just needs the slightest extra push or boost.
Next, categorize your opportunities for improvement. You may find you have several areas that can be grouped together under one umbrella effort. For example: If you’d like to redesign your logo, update the font used on your site and in other communications, and start using branded content on social media, you might categorize that group of goals as “establishing brand standards” to achieve a more cohesive-looking brand.
Once you’ve established where all of your opportunities lie, make a plan of attack. Ask yourself: How do I achieve this change in the next year? A good plan should have specific and measurable KPIs as well as a realistic timeline and action-oriented steps. Prioritize steps and action items in order to accomplish what you’ve set out to do for your business. Then set checkpoints to measure your successes and the progress you’ve made toward accomplishing your goal.
Because there are only a few weeks left in the year, don’t just think about your timeline in terms of the upcoming year. Think about what efforts you can set in motion now so that your business is primed for success as soon as the new year begins. Have some budget left over at the end of the year? Why not use it to invest in the next year? Think about longer-term projects that would be good to get a head start on before the year ends, like a new website, social media marketing or an investment in some good strategic insight and analytics.
Finally, be ready to measure your results throughout the next year. Look at the hard numbers associated with your efforts and determine if you’re on track, need to make changes or have identified a new area for growth.
Start Planning for the Near Year Now
Do you have marketing goals established for the new year? Do you know which of your marketing efforts are working and which ones aren’t? Do you know what your industry and competitors are doing for marketing? If not, Timmermann Group offers several services that can help.