How to set Business Goals to make 2022 your best year yet

Kirsty Young Business Tips

Are you ready to make your 2022 New Year resolutions?

More to the point, are you going to keep them?

Despite our very best intentions, New Year resolutions don’t often work, especially given the sweeping, all-or-nothing nature of many of them!

As a business owner, setting defined goals for the year is crucial for making progress (or at least measuring if you’ve made any!).

 

Goal setting basics

Business goal setting is not rocket science, but it is far more effective if you include these six important steps.

1. What do you want to accomplish?

As business owners, you need to know what you want to achieve before you can achieve it! The key is to figure this out not only for your business, but for you as the owner too. The two are often very closely linked or reliant on each other.

Consider:

    • What do you want life to look like in a year’s time?
    • Where do you want your business to be in a year’s time?
    • What do you do in your day that could be improved?

Goals that are only in your head are just dreams. Once goals are set down, they can cement themselves into reality. More on this a little later!

You also need to think about how you will monitor and measure the progress and success of your goals. (More on this later too.)

Action: Find some quiet time to think about what you really want, personally and the business. Create a visual aid if this will help.

 

2. Set SMART goals

You may have heard the term before, but a common, tried and tested method in goal setting is the ‘SMART’ system.

SMART:

Specific: Make the goal specific. ‘I want to make money’ is not specific enough. “I have earnt £10,000 from our new product in 2022” is.

Measurable: You need to be able to measure the progress and success of each goal as the year goes on. The reporting should be so simple that a child should be able to tell if you’ve achieved it. So, if you’re measuring sales of a particular product, as above, separate out those sales figures from all the rest.

Attainable: How big you go is always up for debate, but the goal needs to stretch you beyond your comfort zones. “I want to fly a rocket to the moon” is a big goal. “I have learnt more about rocket technology in 2022” is more attainable step and much more likely to happen.

Relevant: Is this goal the right one for now? Is it worthwhile? It needs to matter to you right now. A goal of saving 30% of your income into a pension may not be as relevant at the start of your career as when you’re approaching retirement age.

Time-based: Set a time frame. However, it depends on what the goal is. It’s highly unlikely you could design, test and manufacture a new product in 90 days. This is why at Heelan Associates we like step goals. If your overall goal is to create a new product, set step goals for 90 days that work towards that overall goal.

Action: Write three SMART goals for the next 90 days. To help you start, download our free goal setting tool here.

 

3. Chunky goals

Big goals can take many smaller steps to achieve. You can set a goal to save 20% of your business transport costs in 3 months, but initially you probably won’t know how best to do that.

From experience working with business owners, we like the idea that you take the bigger goals and break them down into smaller chunks. These are the steps goals you need to take to achieve the overall goal, such as:

    • research into the challenges posed by the goal
    • selecting the best ideas
    • implementing them
    • measuring the results

For example, if you decide you want to turn over £200,000, you need to know:

    • how may sales you need to do a month / a week / a day to achieve that
    • if you have the resources to do that
    • if you need to adjust your supply chain, retail methodology or sales teams

Action: Write SMART goals and break them down into meaningful small targets.

 

4. Set aside the time required

Time will be an issue. It is for everyone.

You will need to decide what strategies you will use to carve out the time to work on each goal you set. Some goals will take considerably more time than others.

Also work out how much input achieving a goal may require from others in your business. They too may need to prioritise their time to work on the goal.

Check out our free goal setting tool which can give you some ideas on how to free up more time.

Action: Think about how you will free up your time.

 

5. Commit and then remind yourself

It’s easy to sit over the festive period and write out long lists of New Year resolutions, but can you continue this action throughout 2022?

Studies show that writing down your goals significantly improves your chances of achieving them. A common strategy for doing this is to write the goal like you’ve achieved it.

For example, ‘I earn X pounds….’, ‘I weigh X…..’

A further refinement is to add an emotive word. For example, one of our team set her goal to learn to juggle. The basis of all juggling is the rhythm of keeping three balls in the air at once.

So, her initial goal was:

“I juggle three balls”

She then added an emotive word to create the goal

“I juggle three balls with ease.”

That slight shift is important. From being a goal that might seem difficult, it becomes something you can do easily. It has moved from outside your comfort zone (I can’t) to inside (I can).

Action: Write your business goals down and review them regularly (lots of people will advocate daily). Use every means possible – written cards, goal boards, screen savers, phone reminders, memes, sticky notes on the fridge door, even automated emails. Choose whatever works for you and also those who need to share that goal with you to make it happen.

 

6. Plan to measure and review

Surprise, surprise, an accountant says you should look at your numbers! Unfortunately, it’s the only way you are going to know how you are doing with all your goals, not just the financial ones.

To measure these numbers and monitor your progress, you will probably need to create a system to track your performance. Treat each goal as a project, with defined stages and outcomes that you can measure regularly and reliably. Print off a report if you and add, comments and amendments. Onscreen amendments don’t stick in the brain as effectively as those made by the physical action of writing on paper.

Depending on the outcome of each goal review, you can either :

    • Pat yourself on the back and carry on

or

    • Look at what you can improve on to get back on track!

Action: Set a regular date to review your goal’s progress and performance. If you don’t have access to the numbers, create a system to track them.

 

Other resources

Here are some great reads and resources on goal setting:

  • How to Get Everything You Want – Brian Tracy (He has published many books, most of them will cover goals!)
  • The 12 Week Year – Brian P Moran

For thinking about the wider ‘vision’ that can be required for goal setting for your business, try:

  • Traction – Gino Wickman
  • Build a brand in 30 days – Simon Middleton
  • Start with Why – Simon Sinek

To help you start this journey, you can download our free goal setting tool here

 

How we can help with business goal setting

Yes, we’re a firm of accountants, not business coaches However, unless you know your numbers and understand at least a little of how money is accounted for, you’re not going to be able to monitor and measure financial goals effectively.

So, if you’d like to talk with accountants that do understand that stuff and want to help you achieve your business goals, book a 1 to 1 consultation with us. You