Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Goal setting tips for your small business

With a new year now on the horizon, it's timely to reflect on some tips to help your goal setting for 2012 be as effective as possible.

You know that setting goals provides you with a reassuring sense of direction - which is essential during times of uncertainty. With clear goals and priorities you become less vulnerable to impulsive decisions or changing winds. You steer your course through stormy weather with much greater composure and purpose.
  1. Review the major achievements, disappointments and lessons for your small business in 2011 - this may influence how you approach 2012. As Churchill said "Those who fail to learn from history are forever doomed to repeat it's failures"
  2. Ensure you have established your long term goals and your broader business strategy before defining your 2012 goals
  3. Write down and record your goals - this is a display of more commitment
  4. Be mindful of the so-called SMART goal setting principles. S for setting some Stretch goals for the business (ie. they pose some challenge for you); M for Measurable, in other words they will have some mile-stomes attached to them which allow you to track your on-going progress; A for Achievable - you see them as within reach and "do-able"; R for Resources - you either currently possess or can obtain the resources necessary to achieve the goal; T for time-frame - you set a deadline to have competed the goal by (so that it's less likely to drag on ...... a deadline helps create a sense of some urgency for goal completion)
  5.  Ensure a sense of balance and set goals right across your business - not just focused purely on sales and revenue targets. For example, think about whether you might set goals in areas such as ... Upgrading technology or business systems . Staff training to improve skills in the team, Broadening your mix of customers (if you have too many eggs in one basket), Improving your network of contacts, Considering sponsorships to lift your business profile in your local community, Enrolling in a business management course to polish your own skills, Reductions in staff sick leave or absenteeism, Improve relationships with existing suppliers - or source new ones .......
  6. Be willing to re-assess your goals if circumstances change too drastically from when they were first set. Flexibility is just as important a business quality as determination. If your store were the victim of floods for example, then your goal of enrolling in that business course may have to be delayed in the light of the more pressing priority of focusing upon store refurbishment and recovery.
But when all is said and done with goal setting, what will ultimately count is the discipline you have with your follow-through.  Perhaps you can recall times in the past when you've been full of enthusiasm and energy, establishing New Year Resolutions for yourself, vowing to change bad habits or to commence a new diet, or to start jogging in the mornings....... And yet within the space of a few weeks you find yourself back to "same old, same old" and those resolutions are a distant memory.

A great article with some good advice on following-through with goals can be found at Performance Development Australia And if you are considering any type of self-improvement goal for yourself, have a look at Personal Development for more resources and ideas