Tips for setting business resolutions
by Haley Armand Tarasiewicz
When people hear ‘New Year’s resolutions,’ they often think of exercising more, decluttering or spending more time with family and friends. But these are personal goals; what about your business? According to Keri Forbess-McCorquodale, MS, CEAP, LPC-S, LMFT, president of Solutions Counseling and EAP, the New Year is the perfect time to reflect on where you’ve been, dream of where you want to go and create impactful resolutions to bridge the gap. “Much research has shown that business professionals who create conscious, well-thought-out goals are more likely to achieve long-term success.”
So how do you set clear, actionable and attainable goals for your business? Forbess-McCorquodale offers the following suggestions to help make 2021 the year you hit every business target you set.
Identify priorities using a SWOT analysis.
When setting big, overarching company goals for the year, you must know what your priorities are. A SWOT analysis identifies your business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, helping you to define your top three focus areas.
Define SMART goals for your focus areas and make them SMARTER.
All too often, goal setting gets sidelined in business. In fact, research shows roughly half of all employees don’t know what is expected of them at work and get frustrated, confused and disengaged. The SMART system gives organizations a smarter way of setting objectives to create, track and accomplish short and long-term goals.
Tips for making SMARTER goals:
Specific—be clear and specific about the outcome to be achieved and designate a lead member.
Measurable—specify the key results or milestones that indicate meaningful progress. This could be a number, an event or an experience.
Achievable—set ambitious, yet attainable goals and solidify a strategy for achieving them.
Realistic—ensure relevance by aligning goals with overall mission. Designate priority and importance of each goal in your plan.
Timely—set a clear deadline and milestone dates to track progress.
Evaluate—evaluate progress, prioritization and action strategy frequently with your team and discuss challenges and provide feedback/guidance.
Recognize—recognize effort, collaboration and milestone wins. Reward significant achievements and successful goal attainment.
“When your goals are this defined, it becomes easier to visualize the outcome and objectively determine if you have achieved it or not,” says Forbess-McCorquodale. “Along the way you will also acquire information to help you set additional goals for the future based on successes and shortfalls.”
Review the goals with your team and get their feedback.
Successful business owners know that the people who work for them are their most valuable asset. Your team is essentially your brand—they develop and work on your products and talk with current and potential clients. They can tell you what is working and what is holding your business back. It is important that you sit down with them, review the goals and get their feedback. They may agree—giving you their buy-in and commitment, or they may have useful insights you haven’t thought of yet. By involving your employees, Forbess-McCorquodale says you make them feel valued and engaged, and at the same time ensure your goals are achievable.
Create good habits.
To make a goal a reality, you need to create a schedule and build good habits around it. The actions that will achieve your goals need to be scheduled and regularly reviewed to resolve any issues before your window of opportunity passes. Automate as much as possible, for example, use a shared calendar for all team members that includes check-ins and deadline dates. Create task plans with clearly defined objectives and responsible parties to organize duties. Write your goals down and display them on an office wall to keep them visible and top of mind.
Business goal-setting might sound a little overwhelming, but Forbess-McCorquodale says it is much less overwhelming than feeling like you’re drowning in work and no closer to achieving your goals. “So, develop business resolutions this year to make 2021 the year your business booms.”
For more information on Solutions’ services for businesses, call 337-310-2822.