New Year resolutions – we’ve all made them and broken them − often before the end of January! There’s something about New Year celebrations that makes us yearn for a fresh start, but is there a way to make that desire for change more permanent? Are your 2016 New Year resolutions achievable?
Here’s a twist that can make your resolutions more realistic, more beneficial and less prone to that embarrassing quick fade.
Align personal goals to your business
If you try aligning your personal and business goals, this can deliver more benefits than you might anticipate. For example, suppose your goal is to take a month’s holiday next September – perhaps the first real holiday you’ve had in years.
If you’ve booked your tickets in advance, your goal has a fixed deadline and you’ll need to have the business ready to operate without you by the time you leave. So what do you need to do? You might decide the critical steps are to:
- Start delegating more tasks to employees, beginning gradually to test their competence.
- Create an operating manual so everyone can follow clearly defined procedures on all business processes.
- Improve the accounting system (such as moving to a cloud-based program) so you can check the health of the business while you’re away.
- Monitor the key performance indicators of your business so that senior staff can quickly take action on any slips from defined parameters such as a dip in the gross profit margin.
Aligning your personal goal of a holiday with your business goals provides both purpose and motivation to empower your original resolution. Your goal is simply to take a real holiday, but achieving it will deliver extra personal and business benefits:
- Learning to delegate to others means the business becomes less dependent on you, allowing you to take more time off. Also, the business will seem more valuable to others when the time comes to sell or pass it on.
- Improving the accounting system will lead to better money management and allow you to monitor cash flows in real time from anywhere in the world.
- Recording business processes in an operations manual should lead to greater efficiency, increased cost saving and more consistent customer service. Documented processes will also make it easier and faster to train new staff, allow employees to cover when someone is absent from the business and allow you to franchise the business in the future if this is your aim. You’ll also add significant value in the eyes of a future buyer.
When it comes to setting your 2016 New Year resolutions, use the SMART system (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time frame).
- Specific: Be precise about what you want to achieve because vague or abstract goals such as “I’ll get fitter this year” are destined to fail.
- Measurable: Adding facts, figures or percentages to your goals allows you to track your progress. What is measurable tends to get done.
- Achievable: Are you capable of achieving your goals and what steps are required?
- Realistic: Your goals need to have an element of challenge to take you out of your comfort zone, but they should also be realistic. What results can realistically be achieved given the resources you have available?
- Time frame: Meeting deadlines is how you get things done.
Two more tips
1. Keep it simple
Break goals down into simple, small steps. For example, in order to complete your operations manual by the time you go on leave, aim to complete one section a month for each process such as customer service, shipping, order follow ups, credit management or inventory control. Break this down further into smaller steps – e.g. what needs to be done each week, fortnight etc.
2. Use Graphics
Creating a graphic such as a chart, calendar or graph not only allows you to check progress, but provides a visual impact which can be a strong motivator to keep everyone on track.
Have fun making your 2016 New Year resolutions, but the key is to make them achievable. If you would like help and support in running your business, speak to the experienced team of professionals at BSN & Co. We can help relieve some of the load.