The year 2016 has arrived and with it, our annual declarations of New Year’s resolutions and fresh starts. My resolutions this year are to win the lottery, compete on Dancing with the Stars (as a star of course), and limit myself to only ONE pound of chocolate per day. In reality, statistics show that only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions (one pound of chocolate daily – who am I kidding?). The more important statistic is that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to achieve their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. Explicitly, in this sense, means having a goal with clear steps and a defined timeline. For example, “exercise more” is not explicit whereas “jog three miles twice per week” is.
In business, the parallels are clear: to grow sales, be more profitable, or reduce debt, you must have a clearly stated plan of attack. What are you going to accomplish, how are you going to do it, and when will it be complete? We also have to look back on the previous year to identify what went well and what didn’t. As George Santayana famously said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
The first of the year is always a logical time to tackle this analysis and goal setting exercise. The process typically involves three core questions:
- How did you do (in 2015)?
- How would you like to do (in 2016)?
- By when would you like to do it?
Not sure where to begin? Don’t worry, that’s what we’re here for. We’ll start by reviewing your 2015 financials to see what money came in and where it was spent. We’ll also evaluate your current marketing and determine which outlets are bringing in new customers and which ones aren’t. There are a number of other topics we can explore depending on what your specific business needs in order to succeed. Then based on the information we gather from our analysis, we’ll work together to set some targets for the New Year. They’ll be explicit, realistic, yet still ambitious enough to ensure your business is reaching its full potential.
Here at the UGA SBDC, our sleeves are rolled up and our pencils are sharpened. Give us a call or email us and we can get to work planning your goals for 2016. I’ll bring the chocolate.
(Source: Jordan Tippett, Business Consultant, UGA SBDC Brunswick Office)