It’s hard to believe it’s 2020 already, isn’t it?
The great thing about the new year is we have a clean slate to work with. On the flip side, the danger at the start of a new year, is the tendency to get trapped in a loop of looking backwards at the mistakes you made and the opportunities you lost out on.
But 2020 doesn’t have to be yet another year of self-shaming. The five tips below will help you set your business up for success this year, and beyond:
1. Take Stock of the Previous Year
“One of the best ways to make stronger decisions for your future is by learning from your past,” says business consultant, Chris Locurto. “Rather than being a victim to your past, you can learn how to use past experiences to shape your future.”
As the advice above inplies, looking back can help us move forward. So take an honest look at the highs and lows of 2019, and determine what went well and what didn’t.
Review the “why” of each so you have a clear idea of the reasons things did or did not work. This will help you recognize which processes are worth continuing and which ones should be dropped.
Based on your answers, you’ll be able move ahead with new plan of action.
2. Create a Vision for the New Year
Now it’s time to cast your mind forward to what success looks like in 2020.
To help you determine what you’d like to achieve, The Retail Doctor suggests grabbing a piece of paper and writing down the following sentence:
“This year I want my business to _______.”
Just write one thing and make it very specific, like “Gain 100 new customers by May.” It’s called envisioning or making a goal.
“All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do.”
3. Break Down Your Goal into Actionable Steps
Goals can feel monumental and overwhelming.
That’s why it’s a good idea to break them down into actionable steps so they seem more manageable. Keep in mind, though, that if you create too many steps, you’ll make the process feel bigger than it should be.
Consider setting weekly or monthly mileposts that scale down your long-term goal into smaller, more attainable ones. For example, you could set launch dates for certain initiatives or drive accountability by setting up a system for employees to report back to you.
The Retail Doctor suggests thinking up three things that will help you achieve your goal—whether it’s hiring more people or learning new skills. Write these three things—whatever they are—underneath your goal and do something each day that will bring you closer to crossing them off your list.
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”
4. Hold Yourself Accountable
Reviewing your previous year, making a goal and breaking it down into actionable steps are all important components in your quest to set your business up for success in 2020, but how will you hold yourself accountable and stay on track?
According to Brian Tracy, “Unless goals are restricted by time limits and clear metrics, it is unlikely that your goal will be achieved. Many well-intentioned goals fail to live up to expectations because they are left to fluctuate and given up due to lose limits.”
Take a cue from the The Retail Doctor and write down three dates on a calendar or enter them in your smartphone. These dates will be your, “How am I doing?” sessions. Use the sessions to perform a brutally honest and thorough assessment of yourself—you need to see your wins and losses clearly so you can understand what works best for you in reaching your goals.
“Consider how you can improve your focus and efficiency in areas where you’re shaky,” says Entrepreneur. “Identify the factors that motivate you to stay on track.”
Even better, enlist a colleague as an accountability partner—someone who is committed to helping you reach your goals and who will make you answerable if you fail to follow through.
“Accountability keeps you striving toward your goals and reaching for your dreams. Accountability accelerates your performance by helping you make consistent, steady progress.” ~ Entrepreneur
5. Monitor Progress Through Metrics
Ever heard the business phrase, “What gets measured gets managed”?
How are you supposed to reach your goal of increasing new leads if you don’t even know the number of leads you typically bring in within a given period?
“Being able to tell what is happening within your systems, what resources need attention, and what is causing a slowdown or outage is invaluable,” says DigitalOcean.
One of the best ways to gain this insight is with a robust monitoring system that gathers metrics, visualizes data, and alerts operators when things appear to be broken.
“One of the most common reasons that we have seen that causes small businesses to fail is that they do not set clear goals,” states Ed Kent Media.
The company goes on to say that if you plan your goals the right way, it will help you measure your company’s success in ways that you never thought possible.
Goals are what keep you and your employees motivated, happy, and ready to come into work each day. If you set goals with the proper mindset, you will help increase the productivity and success of your company.
Use the five steps above to build a 2020 your business can be proud of.
Here’s to your success!
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