The start of a new year is an opportunity to start afresh and be more successful and productive in your business. It’s a chance to review what happened in your business last year, and work out where you want to take things this year. You just need to be careful that in setting your business direction, you don’t become overzealous and set the wrong goals or over-commit yourself with too many goals. Here is how to start the new year with a laser focus, not a scattered approach, for your business.
1) Take stock of your current business.
Before you can move forward, you need to know where you’re starting from. So take a little time to reflect on where things stand in your business.
This can involve looking at the numbers – How much revenue did my business make? How much of it was profit? What products or services sold well? Which didn’t?
It’s also good to check in on how you felt running your business – What worked? What was I proud of? Did I make time for what was important? What could’ve been done better?
2) Set a long-term vision or direction for your business
I’m guessing that you’re in business for something bigger than just making a quick buck. When you express your broader purpose or vision (where your business is headed in the long term), it sets the context for the year ahead.
I like to map out my business vision by making a vision board using collage and magazine images. But you can also try to imagine what you and your business are doing in three to five years’ time. Try to picture what the future’s like in your mind as clearly as you can, and tap into your other senses to make it as vivid as you can (e.g. What sounds can you hear? What does it feel like?). Then anchor your imagination by writing a letter or diary entry from your ‘future self’ describing as much as you can about your imagined future.
3) Make one big goal for you to focus on achieving this year.
‘What only one? But there’s so much that I need to do for my business’, you might say.
I recommend only having one big goal for the year – I call it a ‘Headline Goal’. It should be clear and attention grabbing. With the right goal, it can give you a greater sense of purpose and more meaning to sometimes mundane or routine business tasks.
You’ll have to do lots of different things to make your goal happen, but by focusing your activities towards accomplishing this one big goal, it will help you fast track towards your bigger business vision.
Too often I see businesswomen become scattered or overwhelmed by having too much on their plate. Having one goal makes it easier to decide what goes on your ‘to do’ list, what opportunities to say ‘yes’ to, and what isn’t a good fit for you right now.
If you think that one year is too long away, set your year’s Headline Goal and then break it down into a smaller 30 (or 90 day) goal. At the end of each goal period, reset another 30 (or 90 day) goal that will help you move toward that one big goal.
Picking only one Headline goal for the year can sometimes be a bit tricky. So use this checklist to make sure you’ve set the right goal for you and your business:
- Is your goal focused on only one thing (and not a whole lot of small goals linked together)?
- Is it: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant (to your business vision and ideal client) and Time-based?
- How does it make you feel? (Is it a bit of a stretch that makes you slightly uncomfortable but excited at the same time?)
- Will it be a good motivator and inspire you to keep moving when things aren’t going to plan?
Above all, this one goal needs to make your heart sing. If you’ve picked the right one, it can help you through a rough patch and do all those everyday repetitive tasks involved in running a business. Having one goal also makes it easier to communicate to others what you’re working towards, and potentially enlist their help. At the very least, having one goal provides you with a focus and consistency that can transform the way you and others see your business.
Having a clear direction and goal for your business helps you declare what’s important to you and where you want to go. When you create a focus for your year, you’re more likely to be more productive, and find a way to achieve what you want for your business.
Natalia Walker, Inner Creative
Natalia Walker, founder of Inner Creative, empowers entrepreneurs to unlock their creativity to create a business that’s more aligned with who they are and what they want.