Creating Successful Business Resolutions
With a new year on the calendar, you’re filled with renewed ambition for your business. You even sat down and wrote out a list of resolutions.
- Enhance social media presence
- Land a big new account
- Make projects more efficient
- Increase profit margins
But successful resolutions – for your business or yourself – need to be expressed in specific terms. Workable, detailed goals turn your ambitions into productive plans. Here’s why.
You spend hours tracking the metrics of sales performance and customer retention. You analyze your data closely for signs of trends that need your attention. Your resolutions need the same specificity. When you put together a list of challenges to propel your ambitions, replace abstract ideas with concrete steps toward defined results.
“Enhance social media presence”: Which platforms do you plan to use? What’s your audience target? “Land a big new account”: Which one? What evidence will you offer to convince a big fish to swim in your pond? “Increase efficiency”: How? By cutting steps, adding automation, improving employee training? “Increase profit margins”: OK, by now, you’ve figured out the types of questions to ask yourself.
Make it measurable
The classic personal New Year’s resolutions – lose weight, work out, improve your diet – typically last for a month or two before they fade. The successful resolutions – lose 10 pounds and keep them off, work out for 30 minutes five days a week, replace snack foods with fresh fruit or vegetables – can propel lasting personal change. Reachable goals make it easy to measure progress and accomplishment while common sense makes them fit within the boundaries of real life. The same principles apply to business resolutions.
Stick to chewable bites of ambition
You can’t turn a five-year plan into a one-year objective, not without overwhelming yourself. Immense objectives look unapproachable. These types of big goals work best as sequences of small steps. You wouldn’t eat your entire dinner in one bite. Set a series of weekly and monthly mini-goals, and then nibble away at reachable interim commitments that help you progress toward larger milestones in shorter steps.
Be a realist
Realism builds results because it helps you plan ahead and prepare yourself to work around inevitable complications. Ironically, too much positive thinking becomes an end in itself. Instead of moving toward a goal, you visualize yourself at the finish line, substituting the happy vision for the work you need to do to reach end of the journey and stalling your momentum. If you plan your response to the negatives as well as looking forward to the positives, you can overcome obstacles when they arise instead of feeling like you’re the Titanic hitting the iceberg.
Leave room to be human
Whatever you’re trying to accomplish, whether it’s solving a business problem or ending a bad habit, one slip backwards isn’t a signal to call yourself a failure and abandon your goals, so don’t ambush yourself with perfectionism. If you start to see pattern in when, where or how your plans go off track, however, something about your process isn’t working for you. When you figure out where the problem lies, you can find a way to work around it.
Bottom line: Concretely actionable goals give you the best opportunity for success. Approach them with a balance of positive outlook and practicality to make them useful and productive. Instead of trying to fulfill a set of wishes, work your way toward realistic objectives – and remember to celebrate your progress as well as your ultimate accomplishments.