Now that the holidays are over, it is time to launch right back into our routines and begin planning for the rest of the year. For a lot of people, that means making New Year’s resolutions. Whether you plan to exercise more, spend more time with loved ones, or take that big trip you’ve been planning, a new year always brings the feeling of an opportunity to make a fresh start. While you’re making resolutions for your personal life, it’s a good time to consider what you want to achieve in your business as well. 

Decide What You Want to Accomplish

There are a lot of great articles already written about the top resolutions to make for your business, which often discuss goals related to cash flow, social media, reducing costs, etc. Those articles are certainly a useful starting point, but what if you’re just starting out? Or what if you’ve already mastered your business’s accounting and marketing? (Let us know your secrets if you have!) It’s hard to tell someone else which resolutions they should make or what goals they should set—be it personal or business.

The most important thing to consider when setting your goals is what do you want to accomplish? The answer to that is going to be different for everyone. I started making jewellery a few years ago and mostly sell to friends and family, but have also launched an Etsy shop. My goals for this year are much more modest than most—I want to improve my product photography, streamline my offerings, and build a social media presence. Because I’m not looking to drastically grow my business, my goals are going to be a lot different than someone who wants to pursue full-time self-employment.

Take some time to think about where you want your business to be 12 months from now and the steps you need to take to get there. If you’re having a really hard time deciding what you want to accomplish, it wouldn’t hurt to review one of those articles I mentioned above, like this one from Tweaking those resolutions to fit your business will make them more meaningful for you and increase your likelihood of sticking to them throughout the year!

Set Achievable (and Measurable) Goals

Okay, so you’ve made your list of resolutions for your business for 2018. What’s next? Turn your resolutions into SMART goals—make them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. Putting the time into creating robust goals will make you more likely to remember them and take the steps to achieve them.

Let’s look at how we can adjust my goal of streamlining my offerings to make it SMART:

  • Specific: Narrow down the number of products I make and sell, which will help simplify my inventory management and material orders.
  • Measurable: Have under 10 jewellery items in my shop, based on best-selling items.
  • Attainable: This is realistic and achievable because it only requires a few hours of my time and an analysis of previous sales. 
  • Relevant: It will simplify how I run my business and allow me to manage inventory and orders in my free time.
  • Time-based: I would like to achieve my goal by May 31, 2018.

The process of creating a SMART goal really only took me a few minutes, but now my resolution has changed from something that would be nice to do to a realistic and achievable goal that will help me move my business forward. You can do the same with your resolutions, and if they seem too large to accomplish right away, break them up into pieces and set measurable targets for each part.

Keep Yourself Accountable

Staying accountable to New Year’s resolutions is always difficult. Making your own lunches or going to the gym every day only stays novel for so long. The easiest and most effective way to stay accountable is by sharing your goals with others, which is why I’ve included some of my goals in this post. Now they are there for everyone to see and there is more incentive for me to accomplish them.

However, just telling someone else your plans may not be enough. Specifically ask them to keep you accountable by reminding you or setting up regular check-ins to see where you are at in the process. If you have a business partner or significant other, that is a great place to start. These individuals are invested in your business (financially or otherwise) and want to see you succeed in this venture.

You could also reach out to a trusted mentor, advisor, or relevant professional (e.g. accountant, lawyer, etc.) and work with them throughout the year to accomplish your goals. Some of our clients even ask us to follow-up with them to keep them accountable, so don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our Business Advisors! Another interesting article I read suggested that you create an annual mantra to guide your decisions throughout the year. While I still think specific goals are important, having a mantra could help keep your goals top-of-mind and allow you to focus on why they are important to you.

Whatever your resolutions or goals are for 2018, we wish you great success this year!