The new year is right around the corner (can you even believe it?!) and it’s not too late to set some amazing goals for your creative business! A few years ago I used to scoff at the thought of setting goals for my business. What’s the purpose? Why not just fly by the seat of your pants and see what happens?! Setting them just kind of felt…pointless, or like a waste of time.
It wasn’t that setting goals was pointless. They’re incredibly valuable and something my team and I now incorporate into our plans every single quarter. The mark I was missing however was how to set achievable goals. See, the way you come up with these goals and what you do with them after that initial brainstorm is extremely crucial! So if you’re wanting to grow and scale your business in the New Year and help hold yourself accountable with the goals you set, then let’s discuss!
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How to Set Achievable Goals for the New Year
#1: Be realistic
First and foremost, set realistic goals. This can apply to anything from business to health or personal goals. To be specific, it’s so important to actually have a realistic pulse on where your business is currently, where it has been in the previous year (and more!) and where you would like it to go!
For example, it would make no sense to set revenue goals that are so farfetched without a realistic grasp and intention on how that revenue will be achieved. We do this by reviewing our Profit and Loss statements as a company every single quarter so we can make goals each quarter.
At the end of the year, we all meet as a team to go over the year’s financial statements to then make projections for the coming year. That means, we get clear on our current/upcoming expenses, what is changing next year in terms of what we’re launching/selling/promoting and if we have any new products/courses launching. For the new courses, we set realistic expectations based on previous revenue from other courses. Once we have this realistic and intricate look at our financial projections, we can then splice that up into quarterly revenue goals and see exactly what needs to be achieved every month in order to meet those goals!
#2: Be specific
This is the most important part in my opinion. Visualize every detail of your goal and what steps you need to take in order to achieve that said goal. So if you have a revenue goal for your business to increase profits by 15% this year, then what numbers do you need to hit each quarter? What new or old products need to be made so you can smash those goals? Or do you need to trim back on expenses in certain areas to make this more achievable?
We like to plan our financial goals and then work backwards from there on what either needs to be tweaked or adjusted about what we’ve already been doing in order to make those goals a reality. For us, this could mean collecting new student testimonials on a course in Q1 for a course launch we have in Q2 to help sell that course and increase revenue on that product for the first half of the year. Then maybe for our Q3 and Q4 goals, we’re adding a new product/course/service to help cushion things a bit as well.
#3: Set quarterly goals and 30 day goals
Every week, Kelly (my operations manager) and I are meeting to go over our weekly agenda, aka what needs to be accomplished that week. We also check in each quarter to set goals for the upcoming quarter. On top of this, we all meet as a team (me, John, Kelly and Andrés) to create goals and make adjustments for the upcoming two quarters.
One book that has completely changed how we approach these planning meetings is the book Traction. This book has really helpful lists and exercises you can do with just yourself or you and your team to help set and maintain sights on those goals throughout the year. It’s so important to make yearly goals, but if you don’t have benchmarks or “rocks” as they call it in Traction, for each month and quarter, it will be extremely difficult to actually execute on those goals without that accountability.
#4: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
If setting goals, planning out your monthly and quarterly rocks and checking things off your list over a year in advance seems overwhelming, come back to this. You don’t eat an elephant in one sitting. Take your time and extend grace to yourself, especially if you’re a solopreneur.
The first 5-6 years of my business were incredibly chaotic. I had no clue what my business was even making or what I should be setting my sights on in terms of goals. So take this post as a bit of a nudge from your future self. You will be so grateful you took the time each year, each quarter and each month to check in with where you are at and where you’re going!