Just like we make New Year resolutions for our personal lives, every entrepreneur should make resolutions for their businesses. Making resolutions for your business helps you identify areas that need to be ironed out and the corporate bolts that need to be tightened to have an even more successful year.
Setting business goals and objectives is something that astute entrepreneurs do constantly, not just in January. But New Year is one of the best times to sit and figure out what you want your business to achieve throughout the 12-month period.
However, just like people soon forget their personal resolutions, the zeal to achieve business objectives is likely to fizzle out in a couple of months. Research shows that 8 per cent of people fail in their New Year’s resolutions by February. When you are inundated with customers’ demands or are busy putting out other business-related fires, it is easy to forget what is most important in ensuring that you achieve your main business goals.
To be among the 20 per cent that stick to their resolutions past February, you have to be willing to put in the work. We will discuss some tips to ensure that you keep working on your New Year business resolutions despite the daily grind that comes with entrepreneurship.
1. Publicise Your Goals
Sharing your goals with the world is scary, but it is one of the most powerful ways to keep yourself accountable. In 1961 former American President John F Kennedy proposed that NASA should put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Although 58 per cent of Americans were opposed to this objective, it definitely lit a fire under NASA scientists to achieve the seemingly impossible goal.
Making your business goals public is likely to have a similar impact on your team. With the added weight of external expectations, you and your team will feel compelled to put in the work necessary to succeed.
You might have come across advice to “move in silence.” While this is generally great advice, it doesn’t work so well in some business aspects. Keeping your employees, associates and to some extent, the general public in the dark regarding your objectives does no good.
You might be surprised that your team comes up with even better strategies than you would have thought of to achieve your goals faster.
2. Keep Asking Why
Why did you start your business? What are your mission and vision? This should always be in mind when you are making resolutions. For instance, if you have a health food store you might have the vision to help more people adopt a healthy diet. You might have been inspired to start the store by your own desire to live a healthy lifestyle or a health-related scare. Keeping this in mind throughout the year is an effective way to keep yourself galvanised to continue with your resolutions.
Once you have established your “why”, share it with your employees and target audience. The “why” is one of the biggest reasons customers stay loyal to certain brands. For example, Apple’s “why” is “challenging the status quo.” With this in mind, customers are always assured that Apple products are innovative.
Remember that humans love being part of something bigger than themselves. When they buy into your “why”, you will have loyal customers to your organisation. Of course, you might still make mistakes here and there, but with a strong “why”, you will be able to course-correct rapidly.
Having a clear “why” also helps you to stay unwavering amidst a competitive business landscape. Your “why” will help you to avoid petty price wars. You will be able to focus on meeting your customer’s needs and achieving your overarching objectives.
3. Remain Grounded in Reality
Dreaming big is admirable. However, your personal and business goals should always be realistic but big enough to challenge you. Use the SMART formula to make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
To keep yourself motivated, break your goals down into bite-sized chunks that you can work on each week or month. This way you won’t overwhelm yourself or your team with unrealistic expectations. Breaking down your big goals into smaller ones also makes it easier to track progress, course-correct, and celebrate small wins along the way to keep you and your team motivated. Even the biggest corporations you see and admire started by chipping away at small, achievable goals – which put them in position to create even loftier objectives.
4. Create Effective Daily Habits
As we have stated, the only way to achieve big goals is by constantly chipping away at them. As Jeff Bezos succinctly put it, “all overnight success takes about 10 years.”
To ensure that you do not give up by February, you have to create daily habits that make it more likely to succeed in your objectives. Whatever your business resolutions are, they depend on the actions you perform each day.
For example, if your objective is to pitch your product or service to more clients, you can schedule 30 minutes to an hour to send pitch emails and make calls every day. Do this daily for a month or two and you will start feeling a little off if you skip the habit.
These daily actions will help you stay focused on the long-term goal instead of being bogged down by unproductive activities.
5. Accept Failure as Part of the Process
When you do not achieve your monthly or weekly goals, you may feel demotivated and give up. Viewing failure negatively is capable of making people give up on their resolutions. But setbacks are a normal part of any plan.
Remember it is okay to fail. What you do after failure is what determines your long-term success. If you allow one setback to pull you into a downward spiral of discouragement, you will find it more difficult to jump back on the bandwagon.
Accept failure, learn from it and pick yourself up. If your resolutions are proving difficult to achieve, it is okay to reassess and make them more achievable.