It’s that time of year again. I don’t know when 2014 got here, but it’s only two days away (time is sneaky like that). With a new year comes resolutions. Would you like to make some changes in your business this year? Are you thinking of setting a new goal? Whatever you choose to do, here are a few tricks to make a great resolution for your business, and make it stick.
Sure, this may seem like the easy part. Maybe you’re ready to grow your business. Or perhaps you want to trim your costs. Either way, you have a vague idea of what you need to do.
Stop right there. You have an idea that may or may not reflect your reality. Even if you achieve your goal, it may not actually help your business!
Take a few extra minutes now to go over your year. What were your successes? What were your failures? What are your opportunities and threats going into 2014? Write all of these down. This will help you get an overall view of your business right now. From there, choose one, just one goal.
This work will help clarify what your business needs, and what goals are right for you. A little work now means a lot less work for in the long run. Plus, people who explicitly make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than those who don’t (source).
Sure, losing weight is a great goal. But have you achieved your resolution at 5 pounds? Or do you need to lose 20? Without measurable objectives, you’ll never know if you’ve reached your goal.
Objectives help you know if you’ve reached or exceeded your goal. Continuing with our weight loss goal, an objective could be losing one pound a month. This is a great objective because the weight loss can be easily measured each month.
This objective also shows a great mental trick: small, measurable, and highly doable objectives will increase your likelihood of success. Why? Losing a pound a month feels like a smaller goal than losing 10 pounds in a year.
We are creatures of the present. Maintaining long term motivation isn’t easy. By breaking up a goal into small objectives, you can cross each one off your list with a sense of achievement. Not only does this trick help you get closer to your long term goal, but also keeps your energy levels up along the way (source).
Okay, so you don’t need to know how to move a knight or a bishop to create great business strategy. But stealing from one of the greatest strategy games of all time will strengthen your business.
How? Great chess strategy is broken into multiple, complimenting avenues. Chess players are thinking about putting pieces on useful spaces, controlling the center of the board and defending their king (source). All of this together goes towards the long term goal of winning the game.
Complimenting strategies can also work for your business goals. For instance, say one of your objectives is to grow your customer base by 5% in six months. This could include starting a customer referral program, increased spending on ads, as well as SEO optimized content. Three very different avenues, but all with the same objective: growing your customer base.
The end is in sight: you know what you want, how to measure it, how you will go about it. To get the ball rolling, you need to figure out what you will do.
Break down each strategy into tactics. For example, let’s take the strategy of creating a customer referral program. Some tactics will include:
Designate a team to create customer referral program
This goes back to the trick mentioned in objectives. These tactics are broken down and measurable. Plus, who doesn’t like crossing stuff of lists? It’s why Santa’s list has each and every boy and girl. It helps him keep going through the whole night.
You’ve done all this work, all this brainstorming. Are you itching to get started? Then go for it! You’ve built all this momentum. Don’t stop now. Perhaps you set up a meeting with colleagues to go over your ideas. Or maybe you start brainstorming how your customer referral program would work.
There may be two days until 2014, but you don’t have to wait. Start today. See where your New Year’s resolution will take you.
Where will your journey take you? (Digital Sextant, Source)