Hopefully you were able to read Jennifer’s earlier post “Kicking Off Your 2015 Reflection Session" and have spent some time answering the questions in her six specific areas of focus. From this information, you should have been able to compile some goals and changes for your business. Perhaps it’s just a jumble of phrases and suggestions jotted in a notebook or a long list of items to be accomplished in the coming year. Having a list is great but now how do you implement it? Sure, you can just reference the list periodically and check off the items that you accomplish (this is exactly what I did the first year) but where do you start and when will a specific task be most effective? How will you hold yourself accountable and what happens if your goals change mid-year? I will answer all these questions with a few suggestions I’ve compiled to help tame your list and get you headed in the right direction for 2016.
Start by creating categories and placing like goals together. This will show you where you need to concentrate your efforts most and where your weaknesses are in your company. If you have any categories that are fraught with goals this may be an indication that you need to delegate some duties or outsource certain tasks. For example, if you have many goals related to administration and office duties perhaps you need to delegate some of those tasks or hire an assistant. On the other hand, categories that have few goals means you feel comfortable in that area of your business and need only minor adjustments. Good job!
Lastly, take a look at the relationship between categories. If your goal is to increase income you may need to make adjustments in networking or sales. Once you see your list in it’s entirety it’s not uncommon to come up with additional item. Categorization will also help with the next step of scheduling your goals during times when you will be most effective.
The wedding industry is seasonal and so your goals will be as well. Winter is a great time to concentrate on marketing and education as many of us are not as busy with events. Not coincidentally, it is also the time of most bridal shows and professional conferences. I tend to concentrate on branding and design during the slow months as well as researching new products and techniques specific to my industry. I am the busiest during Spring and Fall but it is also the time is when I have the most cash flow so I try to schedule big purchases during those months.
You may also have concrete deadlines for publishing opportunities or competition submissions. Placing these on your calendar at the beginning of the year will give you time to prepare and help ensure their completion.
Scheduling also can be applied on a weekly or monthly basis. Designating a day of the week strictly for deep thinking, strategizing and planning will help you better complete your goals throughout the year. We all get bogged down with day to day tasks and sometimes you have to make time for yourself and your business. It is much less overwhelming to attempt several goals a week or month rather than tackle a large list at once.
There are several ways to hold yourself accountable. I suggest finding a trusted colleague or partner to share your goals and keep you focused. This is especially helpful as your goals may change throughout the year or become challenging during certain times. I have never accomplished all my goals in a given year and many have changed once I began the process. You may find a certain goal does not fit your brand, is unattainable at this time or you simply change your mind. That’s O.K.
Another option is to announce certain goals via social media or with family and friends. This has the benefit of creating reminders in the form of conversations throughout the year. Start with something small that you wouldn’t mind sharing publicly to see if this motivates you.
Goal setting is an effective way to keep your business on track in the coming year. Be specific, get organized and don’t pressure yourself to get it all done in record time. Your business is ever evolving so leave room for change and inspiration. Keep reading for more ways get ready for an awesome 2016!