Sometimes as a small business it feels like we are just trudging forward, any progress is good progress. But if you can take the time to orientate yourself and point your internal compass toward your long term goals, your journey to get there can start to feel more streamlined and less chaotic.
These tips are my cheat sheet for setting goals, I feel like it takes away the pressure when I can start with a big concept and then whittle my way down to an actionable list. There’s a common saying when it comes to goal setting that is also really helpful to keep in mind, make your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.)
Carve out a little time to reflect before you set your goals for the year. It’s hard to dream far ahead or reflect on the past when you are up to your eyeballs in today’s work. Physically and mentally separate yourself from your business for a few minutes, take a walk to clear your head or find a cozy corner of the house to step away and catch your breath.
Pick a theme for your goal
There are probably a lot of things that you want to accomplish with your business. Sit down with a pen and paper and start writing some of the bigger ideas that you see for your business. Do you want to be more organized? Get more clients? Make more time for yourself/your family? Pay off a credit card? Make more sales? Move online?
What is the recurring theme that keeps crossing your mind as you operate through every day of your business? Narrow your theme down to a basic idea for your goal (you can have multiple or just focus on one at a time!) Some examples would be organization, relaxation, client relation/retention, online growth, etc.
Create an action list
Now’s where it gets messy, and that’s part of the process. Once you pick a theme for your goal, write down all the actionable tasks that could get you closer to that overall goal. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed, you’re not committing to anything you’re just brainstorming ideas. Let the pen flow on the paper and write down everything that you could do to get closer to your goal.
If your goal is to grow your social media following, your actionable items could be to understand your audience better, create a content strategy, and automate parts of your social media so you can focus on better engagement.
Break down into smaller actions
Once you have an idea of what needs to be done to get closer to your goal, break those action tasks into smaller and more achievable tasks. These tasks make it easier to measure your growth and success as you knock off these achievable tasks from your to-do and get closer to your overall goal.
For example, if you are growing your social media and one of your actionable items is to create a content strategy, your smaller actionable items could be to do some hashtag research and create a list of commonly used hashtags or make a content calendar to stay organized.
Commit to the bit
We tend to set goals and resolutions once a year around New Year and then when those goals fizzle out we just wait until the next January to reset. When you are setting your goals for the year, schedule meetings and check-ins with yourself throughout the year, monthly or quarterly so that you can monitor your progress throughout the year. Sometimes your goals change throughout the year and that’s totally fine but it helps to keep your goals and direction focused on what you want to be working toward.