Setting Business Goals Ensure a Great Start to a New Year
In today’s episode: We discuss why it is critical for you to set your business goals for next year. You don't want to risk not growing your business by doing what you have been doing. You want to push yourself to improve and grow.
Here are the Show Notes from the Episode:
**keep in mind that show notes are raw and only highlight what is in the episode. Listen to the show for the full content**
Episode 26 – Time to Start Planning Next Year’s Business Goals for Your Small Business / Air Date: Nov 21, 2016
Welcome back to the Local Small Business Coach Podcast, I am your coach Tammy Adams.
Today we are going to discuss why it is important that you start to plan your 2017 goals now if you haven’t already.
I’m sure you have thought on and off about what you hope to do next year. They typically come in flashes. For example, maybe you are paying bills and tell yourself that you need to increase you profits the next year. Maybe even going as far as thinking of a specific number.
Maybe you mumble to yourself during the summer months how next year you really do need to hire some help much earlier next time. Or maybe you thought about some new products or services you would introduce in the coming year?
Best case scenario you have been capturing these thoughts along the way. Maybe in a notebook or an ap in your phone. This way you can easily reference them for the exercise I will challenge you with today.
So before we dive into what you should capture, let’s take a few minutes and discuss why you want to start in November and why it is critical to your local small business’s success next year.
Businesses that do not carve out a plan for the new year, tend to get the same year repeated over and over.
While the calendar flips over to a new year, it might as well just be flipping to a new month only. When you do what you did last month, you will get what you got last month. And the month before that and the month before that. Anyone that doesn’t plan out 2017 will get 2016 repeated.
Now, that might be good for you and perfectly ok. Maybe you had a banner year and you think you will get the same thing. Then again, maybe you won’t. Without a plan, you are taking a big risk.
The world is full of people that keep reliving the same year over and over. Both personally and professionally. I have a sense you are the type that wants more than that. You are the type that wants to take your business next year to the next level. You want better sales, more profit and a smoother running business.
You do this by having a plan. A plan that you want to put together now.
Why a month early? This allows you the time to put into place anything you need to hit the ground running on January 1st.
You might need to do some research or investigate any programs you might need. For example, if you identify that you need to do a much better job at sending out your invoices and more importantly that you are getting paid, then maybe you want to sign up for what I feel is the best program out there for local small business owners – Freshbooks.
Maybe in December you sign up for their 30 day free trial period and get comfortable with the system. What you will love is how Freshbooks lets you know when they open your invoice and it allows them to pay right then and their with a link to your payment processor. Even better, when they don’t do it then, it will remind them. No more excuses. If you are interested in checking this cool program out, I set up a link for you at localsmallbusinesscoach.com/freshbooks. It is an affiliate link that I make a small commission on but trust me, even if there wasn’t one, I’d totally recommend it. It is was set up for folks like us, the local small business owner.
So you get the point, use December to set up your success next year.
The next step is to set aside a few hours to sit down and brainstorm your goals. Please know, this doesn’t mean to come up with 20-25 goals. Even if you set up one key goal in each of our 4 categories, you will have a great year.
You have probably heard a million times to set up SMART goals. This basically means goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and have a time attached.
Basically, you don’t want to say you will do $100,000 in profit next year. While you have a specific number in mind, you are missing the other key parts. A much better goal might be..
I will do $100,000 in profit in 2017 by increasing each month by at least 10% over the previous year. I will identify 2 add on products that will add $300 profit a week. I will also look to reduce my product costs by 5% by identifying 5 items I can improve.
Ok, that might sound a little weird the way I’m saying it, but the important take away is to be as specific as you can and put deadlines on how you will do it. Also, don’t throw out crazy numbers there is no way you will hit it. You get discouraged and quit. If you make them too easy, you will get bored and lose excitement on attaining them. So push yourself yet make sure you have shot at hitting them if you push yourself.
Now the 4 areas you will want to come up with at least one goal in each bucket are:
Profits, Sales, Process & People. If you are a regular listener, this is not surprise. These are the core areas of your business. So if you find one key thing in each area, you will make a big dent in your business.
In the sales bucket: Maybe you want to hit a big sales goal of $200,000 in sales. Maybe you want to increase your sales by say 10% over the previous year. There might be a category that you want to grow.
Not only do you want to identify what you want to accomplish, make sure you also develop the specific plan of action you will take. Just like our earlier example, what are some areas that you can grow and develop and how will you do it?
Maybe you see an opportunity in your spring sales. How will you get a better jump on it next year. Maybe there is a category you want to grow. For example, when I wanted to grow my cake business, I spent some time looking for all the low hanging fruit or easy fixes. Then I identified my top sellers from the previous years and how I could sell more. I spoke to my customers to find out what needs I wasn’t meeting. I upped my game on our in-store cake displays to find ways to increase our sales in store. You get the idea.
Come up with the goal, then the action plan you will take to accomplish it.
In the profit bucket: Will you have a specific number you will shoot for? How will you do it? Will you reduce products costs? If so, which ones? Will you do the add on items we discussed? Will you lower your expenses? Which ones? Do you have certain times of the year that you tend to bleed more losses than others? Once again, know what specifically you will work on.
In the process bucket: Just like our example earlier with our invoicing process, pick a broken process or two that you can improve on. By the way, the good thing about fixing broken process or maybe streamlining them is that you also get the side benefit usually of more sales and profits.
Where are you losing time? What do you find yourself doing over and over that you could cut down? Maybe it is how you handle new clients and set them up. Do they slip through the cracks? Do you forget to call people back? Maybe you can have them set up a time using the new online programs that are available vs you having to do it?
What I would do is brainstorm a few different items and then see which ones help you achieve you other big goals. This way they work together to achieve the bigger goals.
In the people bucket: This one will vary depending on your business. Those of you that have no employees might set a goal on how you will have better help throughout the year. Change the process you use to get folks currently. Maybe you didn’t use any help but plan to this coming year. Have a plan.
For those of you with teams, this one can range from hiring, to how you onboard them, training them, developing them or how you are holding them accountable.
Let’s say you realize that your customer service is slacking and you really want to work on this in the new year. So you will want to identify not only what you want, but where you currently are. What type of training will you need to develop? How will you communicate the plan and the new expectation to the team? How will you hold them accountable? Don’t forget, how will you measure this new expectation?
In the other bucket: You could also have another bucket if you want. This might be for anything outside of these 4 buckets that you want to push. A fantastic example I would recommend is, how will you grow as a leader not only for your business but for your team? What steps will you take to become a better leader? A better CEO of your business? Will you read one book a month? Listen to more podcasts? Purchase a training class or attend one? Spend time with a successful local small business owner? Just find something that allows you to work on you.
Now that you know the buckets you want to identify a good goal for the new year, start thinking of what you would like to challenge you and your business with. Capture these items and develop an action plan
Now, to help get you going. I have over with the show notes at LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com/episode26 that will have a PDF sheet you can download to help write these down.
Or you can create one on the computer or use any notebook or piece of paper. Heck, even if you put it in your phone. I just want to make sure you set aside the time to work on your business and what you plan to accomplish.
No matter how great this year was for you, next year should be even better! You do this by having a plan. Just like a trip you plan to take. Identify where you want to go and the path that you will take to get there.
If you want to be a step ahead of your competition, this is how you will do it. With so few local business owners taking these steps, you will be kicking butt long before they will.
Before the end of the day, set aside time in your calendar to start this exercise. Trust me, a few hours can make a huge difference on your results next year!
So until next time, remember, if you like what we are taking about, then make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode, if you love the podcast and what we are talking about, then please leave a 5 star review so other local small business owners know this is a podcast that they can’t miss.
And don’t forget to visit the website at LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com to leave your question for me to possibly answer on the podcast in the future. You can leave it via the Speakpipe button or just shoot me an email.
Meanwhile, I wish you the best in your business and remember: Great Customer Service, coupled with Great business practices will set you on the path to Great Profits!
Bye for now…..
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My Recommended Bookkeeping Program for Local Small Business Owners: Freshbooks Link
Why? Helps you invoice quicker and more importantly, get paid quicker. Let’s you know when your clients have opened the email and they even help send reminders. Clients / customers can pay right from their phone or computer. Give it a Try: Freshbooks
**Freshbooks is an affiliate link. This costs you nothing. I only recommend due to how much folks have loved it. I am paid a small commission but trust me. Even I use it. Try it for free for 30 days and see if you don’t love it too!
Today's episode, as well as all of our episodes, is brought to you by trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com. Where we provide free tips, tools and resources for your local small business. So whether you are just starting out or you've been in business for a while and want to learn more ways to increase your profit, boost your sales, improve your processes and develop stronger teams then head on over once again to trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com..
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See you on the next episode!
Two Great Books to Help You With Your Small Business:
Highly Recommend all Local Small Business Owners Read the eMyth by Micheal Gerber. You will learn some critical things about running your business.
The second book is one I wrote based off a popular example I always use when folks are trying to understand their role as a leader with their people. Check it out.