By now, you’ve likely set your New Year’s resolutions and your business goals for this year. At the end of the year, I like to look back and reflect on how much my business has changed, what I’ve accomplished and how successful I was at making my dream lifestyle a reality.
Then, I like to review my business plan and give it a refresh, adding new goals and making plans to be even more successful next year. As a business coach, I’ve seen firsthand how important it is that goals are practical and achievable, so they will take your business in the right direction and help you grow.
There are three signs that usually mean you aren’t on track to meet your goals, and that should trigger a change in how you do things.
You have Missed Benchmark Goals
I recommend that businesses set benchmark goals in addition to long-term goals. For example, if your goal is to increase sales by 20 percent in four months, set a benchmark goal to increase sales by 10 percent in two months. This strategy will help you stay on track and make it more likely you’ll succeed.
However, if you are missing your benchmark goals, something is wrong and you likely won’t reach your long-term goals.
Start by determining why you are missing goals. Is your team slacking off? Do you lack necessary resources? Are your goals too aggressive? Then, take steps to remedy the problem by getting what you need or altering your long-term and benchmark goals to be more practical for your team.
The Goal doesn’t apply to your Current Strategy
Your business strategy should change over time. You shouldn’t change it weekly or on a whim, but you should refine and develop it as your business grows. Over time your business changes, and so should the way you operate and the kinds of goals you set.
If your current goals aren’t applicable to what you want to achieve now, or if they don’t align with your current business strategy, you likely won’t meet them. In fact, you probably shouldn’t be striving for them at all, since they won’t support your current vision for your business.
Scratch goals that don’t support your current efforts and make revisions to the ones that are still relevant. Then, make sure you set new goals that support your current strategy. Relevant and timely goals are essential to executing business plans successfully.
When you set goals, remember that they should be motivational. Personally, I like to set goals that help me strive to be a little better and do a little more.
You are Aiming too high, without Being Practical
Let’s face it – there are times when we aim too high and sabotage our own efforts from the very beginning. If you find that your current goals are too ambitious or that they are much harder to achieve than you initially realized, you’ll find that you likely won’t achieve them.
Don’t confuse this warning sign with signs that you simply need more resources or need to change the way you do things. There’s a difference between pushing yourself and your team to improve and trying to do the impossible.
The problem with impractical goals is that they don’t do much for your business. They may look good on paper, but if they overwhelm your team and you can’t achieve them, they become an obstacle instead of a stepping stone to success.
To fix this problem, lower your expectations slightly. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim high or push yourself to do better each year. It does mean that you should be realistic in what you believe you and your team can accomplish with your time and resources.
You may also decide to change your goals so they are more practical, but help you achieve the same results. For example, maybe landing 10 new customers per month is too aggressive, but landing five new ones and selling to five previous customers each month is realistic and helps you achieve your desired outcome: more sales.
As you set business goals for next year, watch for these pitfalls and don’t be afraid to make changes to fix issues that are holding you back as you execute your business strategy.
If you would like one-on-one help creating a 2016 business strategy, complete with productive goals, contact me.