The end of 2018 is near, and we hope that as you read this you are wearing a comfy, colorful sweater, holding a cup of cocoa, and celebrating a year of successes and achievements. As realists, we know that is highly likely that you have had at least a few challenges that you need to address going forward. Before you switch those calendars and ring in the New Year, spend some time goal setting and strategizing for 2019.
One of the best practices that we follow annually is holding an end-of-year meeting for our entire staff. This gathering allows us to wrap up the year’s loose ends, discuss our successes and setbacks, share suggestions that might improve things in the coming season, and include the voices of all of our employee stakeholders. Annual meetings help to identify concerns while simultaneously increasing employee buy-in, which builds loyalty and morale.
If the logistics of your business permit, definitely consider holding your own first annual end-of-year meeting before you launch into setting new goals.
The Goal-Setting Process
After you have had an opportunity to reflect on what went right in the past year and what needs improvement, begin the process of setting goals. These should be measurable and specific. “We will earn more money in 2019,” for example, is too vague, whereas, “We will improve our revenues by 25% by December 31, 2019,” is concise and actionable. You can easily break down the latter into quarterly targets with specific steps and review your progress regularly.
Be particular when choosing your goals for 2019. Think about the areas that you determined in your annual meeting need to be addressed most urgently. Every company will have different goals. Some might work on profits while others may want to scale up or open a new location. Improving customer reviews could be a priority, or you might decide that increasing the number of times your press releases get picked up by desirable media is top of the list. You can’t do everything at once, so select three or four goals that you and your team feel will make the greatest impact in the coming year, and commit to those.
Be reasonable. If you decide you want to make a million dollars by June 2019, you are likely to be sorely disappointed and demotivated when you are not even close. Use your past performance to help gauge your actual potential and choose attainable goals.
Make a Plan
Once you have goals in mind, make a specific plan to achieve them. Spell out the steps you need to take, who is responsible for overseeing and carrying out those steps, when and how you will measure your success.
If you already have a comprehensive overall business plan, you may only need to tweak parts of it to fit your latest priorities. If you are newer to the industry or making sweeping changes, you might need to start from the beginning. There are many resources available through local professional associations and industry organizations to help you make or overhaul your business plan.
Leaders who invest the time necessary in regular reflection, goal setting, and planning achieve the biggest business successes. Begin your end-of-year review today and start 2019 ahead of the game.
Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner ofFantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the past president for Silicon Valley NACE, and national vice president for WIPA.