The new year brings about an urgency to create new goals, make resolutions, change some of our habits, and look toward the future. This applies not only to our personal lives, but to business as well—whether you’re in the start-up phase, already established, or in the process of scaling your business.
Planning is key to accomplishing any goal, whether big or small, and it takes a consistent, conscious effort to complete smaller action items to accomplish these goals.
Here are some tips for goal setting and planning for your business.
Write Your Goals Down On Paper
This may seem archaic, but there’s something to be said about writing goals down on a tangible piece of paper. It helps to instill a sense of accountability, especially when you post them somewhere that is highly visible. Don't simply list goals, but first create 3-4 focus areas of the goal and then write down some action items you will need to take to complete each of those focus areas. Doing this will break your goal down into digestible pieces that will be easier to focus on as you work your way to accomplishing the major goal. You will also want to create deadlines to hold yourself accountable and keep you on a planned schedule. Some action items may come to you as you work through the overarching focuses, so prioritize identifying those focus areas and you can fill in action items as you go along.
Utilize Calendars To Plan
Seeing goals or ideas for content that you may post on social media or for internal purposes will help for those who are more visually-minded and prefer to see a calendar view as opposed to a planning document. This can help you plan your day-to-day activities and appropriately pace yourself. A realistic pace will allow you to strategically plan your goals with attainable outcomes that are more likely to be achieved. Planning activities day-to-day is another nod to tackling your goal in smaller, digestible pieces.
Use Scheduling Tools
Scheduling tools are very helpful when you are required to post in real-time—for social media, especially—when you may not have time due to your busy schedule. Posting consistently on social media platforms is an integral component for many businesses, and doing so throughout the day at peak times when your audience is on social media will yield the best results in terms of engagement, views, and potential sales. Scheduling tools like Later and Planoly are great tools for social media post scheduling, where you can upload content and media, while choosing the best times of day for it to be auto-posted. Many of these scheduling tools have free versions, but also include paid options that include even more features.
Perform Frequent Goal Check-ins
Similar to what you may do with your team, frequently perform a goal check-in with yourself (or your team) to track the progress of those goals and make adjustments as needed to stick to your plan, realize new projections, and ultimately accomplish your goal. If you aren’t sure how to effectively articulate your goals and could use some design thinking tools to assist, you can visit our sample documents section of the Business Resources and Innovation Center’s webpage to view documents like the Value Proposition Canvas and Business Model Canvas that will help you flush out your ideas and have a clear insight as to what goals you could prioritize for your business.
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
Although you will set deadlines to accomplish key aspects of your goals, don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t completely accomplish the goals by that deadline. These deadlines can serve as a guide or aspirational marker to keep you on track, but the purpose is to have a framework to keep you accountable and to push you to accomplish your goals overall. Plan, but also give yourself some grace to adjust and pivot as necessary.
Here’s to goal setting and outlining the trajectory of your business by strategically planning for 2021!