Happy New Year! We’re almost halfway through January already but don’t panic if you’ve had to jump back into your work right where you left off before Christmas. You don’t have to have all your plans worked out from 1 January.
If you don’t have much more than sketchy details at this stage, this article should help you put some colour on the picture you have for 2024.
Pop the kettle on, grab your notebook, and let’s get started!
Part 1: Reflecting on 2023
When you run a business solo, you’re often in such a rush to get to the next thing on your list that you rarely take time to look at how far you’ve come and celebrate your achievements. Now is the time to change that!
Have a go at answering these questions:
1. What are your top three achievements from the last 12 months?
2. What three challenges did you overcome?
3. What did you learn about yourself? (Skills, talents, abilities, or things to work on in 2024)?
4. What did you learn about running your business? (Any lessons learned, new skills acquired, or fresh opportunities that came your way)?
5. What new or existing relationships did you develop?
6. What did you have the most fun doing in your business?
7. What routines will you be taking forward into the new year?
8. What will you be leaving behind because it no longer serves you?
Now, let’s set the stage for an exceptional year ahead.
Part 2: Planning for 2024
Here’s some more questions to answer:
- What would you like to achieve in the next year for yourself personally?
- What would you like to accomplish in the next 12 months in your business?
a) Do you have any new offers you want to create?
b) Will you be adding anything new to expand your marketing activity?
c) Do you plan to introduce a passive income stream?
d) Are you looking to collaborate with a business buddy?
e) What about your revenue targets?
f) How many clients do you want to serve?
g) Do you want to add X number of subscribers to your mailing list or X number of followers on social media?
h) Are you planning to grow a team?
i) What areas of your business do you want to strengthen or improve?
j) Will you be investing in support to help you with something?
3. What would you like to learn?
4. What three challenges do you anticipate?
5. What relationships would you like to grow and develop?
6. Who supports and encourages you?
7. Where and how will you enjoy yourself and have fun in your business?
8. If your year as a business owner was made into a film, what would the name of the film be?
9. Do you have a word of the year for 2024? Pick something to symbolise and define the year ahead.
So, now you’ve got some clearer ideas on what you want to achieve, how do we ensure you ACTUALLY make it happen?
Part 3: A step-by-step guide to achieving your goals
You need to take a systematic, focused, and consistent approach to achieving goals. Work through these steps:
1) Clarify your vision
Clearly define what success looks like for you.
How will you feel when you’ve achieved everything on your list?
What will your life be like?
What will your achievements enable you to do outside work that feels amazing?
You could create a vision board to pin on your wall or design one digitally and set it as the wallpaper on your laptop – mine includes a large photo of the car I want to drive!
The idea is to keep your vision at the forefront of your mind as you work towards your goals. It’s a guiding light for when times are hard.
2) Set SMART goals
Drill deeper into the things you want to achieve that you identified in Part 2 and make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound.
Instead of setting a vague goal like “increase revenue”, a SMART goal is specific as it states precisely what you want to achieve, so “generate a 20% increase in monthly revenue within the next three months by acquiring two new high-value clients”, for example.
The target of a 20% increase provides a clear metric for success. It’s easy to measure progress by comparing current revenue to the baseline.
For a goal to be achievable, it must also be realistic and attainable. Acquiring two new high-value clients in three months is doable for a solo business owner; 50 probably isn’t.
While we’re talking about what is achievable, don’t burden yourself with too many goals for the year. You want to challenge and stretch yourself but not overload yourself because that only leads to frustration and disappointment.
A relevant goal is one that matters. It directly connects to your business values and long-term vision and plays a pivotal role in moving your business towards its greater purpose. Here, the 20% goal aligns with the overall objective of increasing revenue.
The goal is time-bound as a three-month window has been set to achieve it, providing a sense of urgency and a deadline.
Not feeling the idea of goals?
If the idea of SMART goals doesn’t really vibe with you, try setting some intentions instead. Intentions focus on guiding your mindset and behaviour rather than achieving specific, measurable outcomes.
While goals are typically concrete, measurable objectives with a clear endpoint, intentions are more about the path you want to follow and the qualities you want to embody along the way.
Here are a couple of examples:
To establish clear boundaries between my work and personal life, creating a healthy balance that allows me to be there for both.
To engage in purposeful marketing, conveying the value of my services and products and building deep connections with my audience based on trust and transparency.
Goals and intentions aren’t mutually exclusive, you could work with a blend – which is what I do in my business – and create intentions that align to your unique business aspirations, personal values, and the areas where your want to focus your energy and attention for the coming year.
3) Break your goals down into actionable steps
Divide larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks to make the process less overwhelming. Create a detailed plan outlining the steps required to achieve each goal. Include timelines, list the resources you need, and describe any challenges you might come up against and how you’ll overcome them.
4) Use your support systems
Seek help from mentors, colleagues, or others in your network to guide you in setting your goals and keep you motivated and on track. They’ll also be sounding board if you need to adjust your plan to respond to changing circumstances.
5) Monitor your progress
Regularly assess your progress against the milestones you set. Are your goals still relevant? What’s working well, and what needs tweaking? Adjust your plan if needed, and keep going.
6) Celebrate your achievements
Take the time to celebrate all your achievements, both big and small. Recognising progress boosts morale and reinforces your commitment to your goals.
Part 4: Bonus strategies for success
While SMART goal setting is a widely recognised and effective method, there are various other tools you can use to help you achieve the success you want in your business.
1) Conduct a SWOT analysis
Divide a sheet of paper into four boxes and list your business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to help identify internal and external factors that can impact whether you achieve your goals. It will help you develop realistic and well-informed goals. My inner nerd LOVES this type of exercise! 🤓
You can read more about SWOT analysis here: https://www.mindtools.com/amtbj63/swot-analysis
2) Plan backwards
Start with the end goal in mind and work backwards to identify the steps you need to reach it. This approach helps you visualise the whole journey, ensuring that each task contributes to the ultimate objective.
3) Use visualisation
Use visualisation techniques to mentally picture the successful accomplishment of your goals, as they can enhance motivation, focus and self-confidence.
4) Use rewards
Turn tasks into a game and reward yourself when you complete them. Perhaps a chocolate biscuit when you’ve finished something small and a brand-new outfit when you get through something big? Select the types of reward that will help keep you motivated.
5) Try habit stacking
Integrate new behaviours or actions into existing habits. By attaching a new behaviour to an established routine, you can make goal-related tasks more automatic and less reliant on willpower.
6) Batch your tasks
Group similar tasks together and allocate specific time blocks for focused work. Batching your tasks helps minimise distractions and increases efficiency as you’re not constantly switching from one type of activity to another.
7) Use positive affirmations
Positive affirmations can help reinforce your positive mindset. They can help you overcome self-doubt and build confidence as you chase your goals.
The journey to achieving your goals is usually a lengthy and sometimes tedious process. Consistent action over a long period is needed to move you closer to the destination.
Use the advice in this article to transform your thoughts into actionable, well-defined goals. Pick and mix the strategies I’ve shared to find the right approach for you.
Remember that they are YOUR goals. There are no wrong or right choices, so go with what feels good to you.
If times get challenging, keep in mind that lots of small steps add up to MASSIVE results!
Embrace the learning opportunities that come with challenges, stay adaptable, and celebrate the milestones along the way.
- Answer the questions in Parts 1 and 2.
- Follow the steps in Part 3. Don’t forget to schedule time in your calendar for a regular review of your goals/intentions and progress you’re making.
- Try out some of the strategies in Part 4 to find the ideal combination to help you achieve your goals.
- Celebrate! You’ve spent loads of time getting your thoughts in order and laying the foundations for a fabulous year ahead.
Here’s to your success! 🥂
Whenever you’re ready, there are various ways I can help you in your business journey. It doesn’t matter whether you’re brand new or have been going for years. Check out how you can work with me here: www.carolinebrown.online/work-with-me.