Achieve More in 2024! Goal Setting and Planning for the year ahead.
The beginning of a new year offers a perfect moment to pause, reflect, analyze, and strategically plan for the growth of your business. It's a time of year where there is a 'Fresh Start' mentality, and you find yourself with a renewed sense of motivation looking at the clean slate ahead.
As a creative-minded individual, like many owners of craft-based small businesses, the temptation of new and exciting ideas often leads to a trail of partially completed projects. By the year's end, there's a collection of brilliant concepts and initiatives that never quite materialized. This is why it is so important now to set your goals and plan ahead to keep yourself on task and accountable.
If you're gearing up to make 2024 your most successful year yet but find yourself feeling somewhat overwhelmed, then this blog is for you. I'm going to break down the steps for planning the year ahead and help you put together a list of achievable, realistic goals for the next 12 months. Are you ready? Let's go!
There is no point in planning and setting goals if you are just going to file them away and forget about it next week, so I've included some great printable downloads throughout this blog that will help you complete your planning and put it somewhere you will see it regularly. Pop it in the front of your diary, pin it up on your pin board, tape it to your fridge—just keep it at the front of your mind!
Why is Goal Setting and Planning Important?
1. Direction and Focus:
- Goals provide a clear sense of direction for the business, helping define where the business is headed and what needs to be achieved.
2. Motivation and Inspiration:
- Goals keep you motivated, giving you the satisfaction and drive to continue moving forward, especially if you're feeling like you're in a rut.
3. Measurement of Progress:
- Goal setting helps you see how your business is progressing, identifying areas that are doing well and those that need more focus.
4. Prioritization of Tasks:
- Goals help you prioritize what's important, ensuring you spread your focus across all aspects of your business.
5. Long-Term Vision:
- It's crucial to have a mix of short and long-term goals to stay focused and make sure you are on the right path.
ACHIEVE MORE IN 2024!
When completing the following, it is important to take into account all aspects of your business—Marketing, Financials, Products, Processes, Technology.
Step 1 - Review and Reflect: Believe it or not, the first step to looking forward is looking backward. It's easy to get so caught up in work that we forget to take note of the things we learned along the way. Click here to download the Review and Reflect Worksheet.
Let's start on a high note! On a piece of paper or on the attached worksheet, write down and answer the following questions:
- What achievement am I most proud of in 2023? (e.g., best-selling product, a big project finished, new venture, growth or financial achievement)
- What were your business strengths? (e.g., great social media presence, record profits, high-quality products)
- What worked well this year? (e.g., great time management, a supportive team, new systems improving workflow)
Now that you know what worked well, it's time to focus on where you can improve and what lessons you have learned. Ask yourself the following:
- What was the biggest challenge I faced this year? (e.g., struggling to keep up with orders, running at a loss, new competitors disrupting the industry)
- What didn't work this year? (e.g., poor work/life balance, struggling to keep up with marketing)
- What lessons did you learn this year? (e.g., losing customers from poor customer service, burning out by working harder not smarter)
Step 2 - Visualize: Now that you have identified the positives and negatives in the last 12 months, use these as a starting point for planning the year ahead. What do you want to keep doing or improve upon, and what needs to change or be done differently?
Using the worksheet (Download Here) or a piece of paper, answer the following question:
Where would I like my business to be in 12 months time? What does it look like? Be realistic; think about your branding, financials, marketing, products/services, growth, and expansion.
Part 3 – Setting Goals: Now that we have reviewed where we are now and thought about where we want to be, it is time to plan how we are going to get from A to B, which we do by setting S.M.A.R.T Goals.
What are SMART goals? SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
An example of a goal that is NOT smart would be: "Improve my sales."
A S.M.A.R.T Goal would be: "Increase online sales by 20% over the next three months by implementing targeted Facebook advertising and optimizing the website checkout process."
Now that you have your S.M.A.R.T Goal, break down the Action Steps to achieve it. Using the above example, your action steps might look like this:
- Identify the target audience for the Facebook ads, create a 3-month Ad marketing plan, and review the progress each month and adjust where needed.
- Optimize Website Checkout Process by reviewing the currency checkout process and identifying friction points. Streamline processes and website ease of use.
- Generate and review reports at regular intervals to track progress toward the 20% sales increase goal.
Use the worksheet (Download Here) to set yourself goals that align with the objectives you outlined in parts 1 and 2 of this blog.
Great Job! By reflecting on the past, visualizing the future, and setting SMART goals, you have paved the way for growth and success in your small business. With a clear sense of direction, motivation, and a prioritized focus on tasks, make 2024 your most successful year yet. Take charge, set those goals, and watch your business thrive. Cheers to achieving more in the coming year!