Many business owners start out the new year with renewed goals and ideas. They read articles called New Year Resolutions Every Business Owner Should Make or 10 Best Business Resolutions and make big plans with equally big resolutions. And then these same business owners get so busy running their business that by the time February comes around they wonder how they are ever going to keep those same resolutions.
If this is you, then you are in good company. Only 9-12% of the people who make resolutions follow through with them. 2020 through 2022 brought significant change for businesses. Keeping up with new laws and regulations, adjusting to a significantly more online marketplace, and addressing staffing shortages have brought many business owners to the point of burn out – making the idea of bringing even more changes into their business exhausting. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, change is the only constant in life.
So if change is a constant, then setting resolutions is something business owners need to do to keep their business alive and ahead of the market. But when you are exhausted, the idea of setting (and meeting) new goals can feel impossible. It doesn’t have to be. Here are some suggestions for approaching common resolutions for business owners.
1. Understand the Key Performance Indicators for Your Business
If you have not set goals for your business before, then this is a great resolution to start with. Even if you regularly set goals, now is the time to review those goals and identify whether they are the correct goals for your business. Revenue and expense goals are something all business owners are familiar with, but many business owners don’t break those larger goals into smaller identifiable pieces. What are the smaller metrics of your business that help drive those larger goals?
Typically those micro goals are focused around a businesses key performance indicator (KPI). But what makes a good KPI? A common framework used to identify KPI’s in business is the S.M.A.R.T. framework:
SMART is an acronym that means your KPI must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound. Forbes recently released an article on using SMART to identify KPI and included this example:
Professional Goal: “I’m going to increase sales”
Specific: “I am going to learn about social media marketing and invest in a social media management platform to start growing an online audience of potential customers.”
Measurable: “The goal is to increase sales by 30% within the next quarter.”
Achievable: “I can afford a subscription to Zoho Social, and I have a moderately successful business that can handle a large increase in customer demand.”
Relevant: “I want to grow my sales volume so that I can buy a new vehicle for my business.”
Time-bound: “I will subscribe to Zoho Social tomorrow and go through all of their instructional material to learn how the platform works. I will build a social media strategy and deploy it in two weeks.”
2. Goal Setting for Business Owners – Micro Goals
It’s a common business owner theme, we set broad goals that align with the vision we have for our business. Business owners commonly set goals similar to “Increase revenue by 20%” or even seemingly smaller, but still broad goals like “Increase my social media following by 25%”. Then there’s the hard to maintain goals like “I’m going to comment on 5 Linked-in Posts every day”. It seems easy, but EVERY day? For a business owner that can be as difficult as committing to climb Mount Everest.
As entrepreneurs, we’re programmed to “go big or go home”. We read books that tell us to keep reaching for the stars and see motivational quotes like “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Walt Disney as our anthem. But setting too many broad goals only sets you up for failure rather than success. The concept is examined in a recent Harvard Business Review article. To Achieve Big Goals, Start with Small Habits by Sabina Nawaz. In the article Nawaz says:
“It’s great to dream big, but the way to achieve big is to start small — through micro habits. Micro habits are small components of a larger habit. By breaking down an ambitious job into smaller, more achievable ones that you build over long periods of time, micro habits help you complete big goals. … To succeed with micro habits, you must be deliberate and choreograph steps to sustain them.”
3. Start Planning for Succession Planning
For so many business owners the idea of creating a succession plan is a daunting and overwhelming task. With that viewpoint, it’s so easy to put the planning off to “next year”, except what happens when the time comes and suddenly there are no more “next years.”
Except that succession planning doesn’t have to be done all at once. Think of this as another micro-goal project. This year, resolve to just start the planning. What does that mean? Start by envisioning your perfect retirement. How old are you? Are you retiring all at once or cutting back on hours overtime? What does your life during retirement look like? Do you still need income from your business, or can you sell and live the retirement life you want? What are your options for succession? Any family members interested in taking over? How about employees? Or would you prefer to sell the business?
Just start the planning. Give yourself the management goal of starting to think about what your perfect retirement looks like this year. Start your “thinking” time by reviewing some of our succession planning articles, like this one on emergency succession plans or this one that talks about starting to think through your succession plan. Then next year you can give yourself another piece of the goal. By breaking this daunting task down into manageable bites, you’ll find that it’s not such a daunting task after all.
Business Resolutions for 2023
No matter what you decide to resolve for this year, think carefully about what goals will make the biggest impact on your business and break them down into smaller, manageable pieces. Sometimes the only way to achieve big results is actually to start small.
Should you have any questions about succession planning and your business or would like to schedule an initial consultation, please contact Navigant Law Group, LLC at (847) 253-8800 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Our attorneys’ unparalleled focus on goal-oriented, detailed planning and advice will have you ship shape in no time. Want to succeed in your business and make your personal goals a reality in the new year? Come chart your course with Navigant Law Group, LLC!
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