Setting 2018 Business Goals
The end of the year is an excellent time to look back on your business performance in 2017 and prepare for 2018. Whether you've had a breakout year or you missed some of your predictions, setting goals now gives you the opportunity to create a plan so you start on the right foot.
Revisit Your Overall Business Mission
Many companies establish a business mission when they form, then never look at it again. Start the 2018 planning process by revisiting this statement and determining how you can center these values in your operation.
If you find that you have shifted too far away from your business mission, look for opportunities to incorporate it into your processes and policies. Sometimes a cultural shift is necessary or simply communicating your values to everyone in the company.
Don't skip over this step even if you're confident that you're upholding your mission. You always have an opportunity to improve your focus in this area.
Keep Goals Simple and Attainable
Complex and overly optimistic goals might sound enticing on paper, but in reality, you're setting yourself up for failure. Trying to put together the resources to achieve these plans makes it difficult to make progress, especially if they're not cost-effective at the smaller scale.
Put your efforts into simple and attainable goals. If you're not sure what that looks like for your company, do some research on your competitors to see what their growth rates look like. You can gauge whether your plans have a reasonable outcome of success or if you're hoping for too much.
Think in the Short and Long Term
You have to keep the short- and long-term needs of your company in mind when making decisions. If you don't keep both of these considerations in mind, you could be damaging the future of your business.
One of the most important areas to look at is whether your long-term plans are crippling your short-term cash flow. You need a steady stream of income coming in for your operating budgets, payroll and other necessities. If you're diverting too much of this for your long-term plans, then you might not survive until you reach that point.
Sacrificing the long-term health of your company for short-term gains is also a bad idea. It might be tempting to jump into a trending market or capitalize on a popular trend, but you have to determine whether the impact is worth it. Some dangers include growing too fast and creating a negative customer experience and releasing subpar products that irreparably damage your reputation.
Sometimes you need to put more emphasis on one or the other, but don't take this action without understanding the consequences of this move. In some cases, it's what your business needs, but this won't always be true.
Set SMART Goals
SMART is one of the most useful acronyms available for business goal setting. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-related. Run each of your goals through this process so you don't put yourself in a position where 2018 is set up for failure before the new year even starts.
Trying to figure out what you should focus on in 2018 is a difficult process, especially if you faced problems with your business strategy in 2017. However, by adhering to the SMART process and taking a critical look at whether you're supporting your mission, you can make 2018 a fulfilling and productive year.
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