Set Goals and Make Them Happen for Business Success in 2021
Show the New Year Who’s Boss with a Clearly Defined Business Strategy
It goes without saying that all of us were put through the wringer in 2020. Business owners had it rougher than most, so it’s natural to feel a bit shell-shocked right now. However, now is not the time to wait and hope for the best. By taking a proactive approach and establishing clear goals now, you can set the stage for unparalleled success in 2021.
The good news? It’s easier than you probably think! Here’s what to do:
1. Know Where You Stand
Setting business goals for 2021 is pretty pointless if you don’t know exactly where your business currently stands. Sure, you probably know if it’s doing okay or suffering, but it’s still important to methodically sit down and essentially take the pulse of your business before moving forward.
Some things to ask yourself when performing this assessment include:
- Where is the Money Going? – Take a cold, hard look at where you are investing money for your business. Identify expenses that can be reined in to make room for new goals in 2021.
- What are the Weak Points in Customer Journey? – Put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes. At what points along the sales journey are they likely to stumble? For example, perhaps you’re able to get their attention but can’t seem to close the deal consistently enough.
- What Mistakes Can Your Business Learn From? – It’s important to celebrate successes, but it’s arguably more important to learn from mistakes. Where did your business falter in 2020? How can you avoid making those same missteps again?
- Is Your Brand Mission Clearly Defined? – Finally, do prospective customers have a clear understanding of the overarching mission of your brand? What pain points do your products and services specifically address?
2. Identify Clear Goals
All too often, business owners go into the new year merely hoping for the best. Without establishing clear, definable goals, however, your business will be stuck spinning its tires.
When it comes to establishing effective business goals for 2021, it pays to make them as SMART as possible:
- Specific – Instead of saying that you’d like to, say, increase revenues in the new year, set a specific goal. For example, you might create a goal of increasing revenues by 10% over the first six months of the year.
- Measurable – Every goal that you establish should be measurable in some way; otherwise, you’ll never be able to tell if what you’re doing is making a difference. For instance, you might create a goal to get more traffic to your business website; this can be measured with many easily available analytical tools.
- Achievable – Tempting though it may be to shoot for the moon with your business goals for 2021, they still need to be based in reality. For example, saying that you want to establish your brand as the authority in your niche sounds nice, but there are probably more attainable steps along the way that would make for better goals.
- Realistic – Likewise, it’s important to be practical with your goals. Setting a goal to establish a whole new product line, for instance, may sound motivating; however, it’s important to make sure that it’s within the realm of possibility for the next 12 months.
- Timely – Every goal you establish should have a deadline that you will strive to meet. This will help to keep you moving along and actually achieving them. Open-ended goals are easier to ignore and put on the back burner.
3. Establish Initiatives for Achieving Your Goals
Establishing business goals for 2021 is a great start, but you also need to outline precisely how you will achieve them. Creating initiatives for each of your goals will help to keep you on track with them. Some points to keep in mind here include:
- Be Specific – Like your goals, the initiatives for achieving them should be as specific as possible. For instance, if you want to increase online visibility in 2021, a viable initiative might be to hire an SEO agency.
- Brainstorm Several Initiatives Per Goal – Don’t settle for a single strategy per goal. You could miss out on something that would have worked better. Try to create five to six initiatives per goal. For the example about increasing online visibility, your initiatives might be to hire an SEO agency; to flesh out your social media profiles; to post content more regularly and to branch out into different forms of media, like videos.
- Identify KPIs – For each goal, identify Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, so that you can track and measure your success. For instance, for the above example, things like number of followers on social media and visits to your website are clear KPIs that you can track to, well, stay on track.
- Set Up Mini-Steps – Break each goal into macro goals, or mini-steps, to have something to focus on every step of the way. For the above example, your first step might be to investigate SEO agencies that can help.
- Prioritize – Finally, prioritize your goals for the year. From there, prioritize each of the associated initiatives, so you know where to focus first in the new year.
4. Create a Clear Strategy for Implementing Your Plan
Once you have established clear, achievable goals for 2021 and have defined initiatives for each of them, it is important to put it all together into a clear blueprint for the year ahead. Think of it as a business strategy for 2021. As with any effective business plan, you should put it on paper. The strategy should outline the goals you want to achieve and the steps you will take to achieve them. It should be as specific as possible.
Spread the Word
Every member of your team should be made aware of the new business strategy for 2021. In fact, your team should be included in the brainstorming process before the plan is finalized.
Create a Schedule
Using the business strategy that you developed for 2021, create a calendar, or to-do list, to follow in the months ahead. Have clear steps to follow every month of the year. Better still, break things down to weekly goals to really plugging along.
Don’t forget to celebrate each small achievement along the way. Doing so is a terrific way to stay motivated and on track!
Revisit and Reassess Throughout the Year
Finally, think of your business plan for 2021 not as something etched in stone but as a work in progress. Allow for some flexibility, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Track your KPIs to stay on top of what’s working and what isn’t, and adjust your initiatives accordingly.
5. Make it Happen!
Once you have established goals, created initiatives for achieving them, and put everything together into a cohesive business strategy for the year ahead, all that’s left to do is, well, to do it! After a tough year like 2020, it’s normal to feel apprehensive about what’s ahead. However, a year like that is unlikely to come around again for a long time, and a positive attitude will get you farther than anything else.
As uncertain as these times maybe, there’s no reason that your business can’t experience its best year yet in 2021. Make it happen by getting down to business with your goals and initiatives for 2021. A year from now, you’ll be glad you did!