As a business owner and entrepreneur, how can you take motivation from the New Year and set realistic achievable goals? - Sponsored Content

As we head into a holiday period and the New Year, as a business owner and entrepreneur the chances are you will have earned a well-deserved rest. You should have some quality time to relax and enjoy the festivities with your family, but you will also reflect on what went well in business during 2016 and what didn’t go so well.

Therefore as you start to think about getting back to work, with that New Year enthusiasm, how do you make 2017, be that breakthrough year!

How do you set yourself realistic business goals?

1. Do your homework; Carry out a Market Audit!

  • Review last year’s figures and the previous years, by sales channel, by customer and by industry sector. What are the trends?
  • “Future Proof” your business by being clear of the market drivers; i.e. Social, Technological, Economic and Political market forces that effect your customer’s and their customers buying behaviours.
  • Be clear which products and/or services make you the most margin , focus to sell these to the customers and prospects in the industry sectors least effected negatively by the external market drivers.
  • Check out your competition , what are they doing well or not so well? Then position yourself in the market with a different offer and approach, otherwise you will only end up competing on price.

2. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time framed!

All well and good, but we all know most New Year resolutions are broken. So how can you as a business owner make sure yours won't be?

3. Visualise the goals – when you have achieved your goal, visualise what does this look like? Ideally as a picture, don’t just plot a financial figure or bonus value, but visualise what you intend to buy or invest in; such as, reinvest in the business, a family holiday, new car, boat, new TV, weekend away etc. Then make sure you can see this vision from your desk – Pin a picture on your wall! Even use as a screen saver on your computer or phone.

4. Create a plan – what extra business activities and tasks need implemented and focused on to achieve the overall goal? Break this down into sizeable and manageable chunks, such as monthly, weekly or daily targets.

5. Share your plans – with your employees and business associates, accountant, bank manager and business advisor. Get buy-in, support and engagement creating “Goal Congruence” an essential ingredient!

6. Delegate tasks to your team - You will never achieve your goals on you own. Ultimately it is through your people that you will achieve success. A football manager doesn’t play and score goals, he coaches and directs his team.

Why is it useful for business owners to re-evaluate where they are going? How often should they do this?

7. Set milestones and review frequently - at least monthly and adjust and adapt tasks accordingly. This is normally where most business growth initiatives fail , because if you have no feedback loop to review, learn, plan and agree the next steps, you will either give up, go off on a tangent or the goals and initiatives will drift and become another of those ideas that you will get back to one day!

8. Keep the momentum going – it will be tough initially as change always brings up new challenges, so keep your energy high, keep reviewing and communicating regularly, sharing the steps, the results and challenges, then plan and work Smart.

What would make for a good business related New Year resolution?

Be realistic, don’t over stretch yourself, a 5-10% annual business growth in turnover should be achievable even in a competitive market. If you can also improve internal processes and keep costs in check you could add at least 20% profit to the bottom line within 12 months.

Note; it takes time and you will need to adapt your own and your employees behaviours and therefore change daily habits.

And what would be a bad one or why would it fail?

  • If you set goals without doing your research
  • Not being specific on what you want to achieve,
  • Being vague in communicating your goals and plans.
  • Not following up or through on actions
  • Trying to conquer the world
  • Being unrealistic in time frames and over stretching yourself

And remember,

“Rome wasn’t built in a day!” John Heywood.

Peter Fleming, Business Doctors, Cumbria and North Lancashire.

If you are looking to grow your business, Business Doctors Cumbria offer a free business health check where we can help you to set a clear vision and understand the steps you need to take to fulfil your aspirations. Contact us for more information on 07966 686 112 or email: