Getting through 2020 has required many of us to change direction and become flexible in ways we hadn’t imagined before. Although some things are beginning to reopen, many business owners continue to face a complicated landscape. It doesn’t always have to be this way, though, and if you start planning now, you can set and achieve goals in 2021. When the going gets tough, planning ahead can make you and your business more resilient and ready to adapt to anything the future holds.
Consider Opportunities and Low-Hanging Fruit
Before you set your 2021 goals, be sure to consider all of your opportunities for lowering costs and increasing revenue. The pivots you’ve made to adjust to this year’s challenges might open new doors, like online sales or selling to new audiences.
Think about which options fit your current skill sets and would be simple to implement. A few options to consider:
Improve your website by adding helpful tools like online ordering or chat support – expand your selling capacity and create a more convenient and efficient experience for both your staff and customers.
Remote work experience:
You might decide to permanently do away with the expense and maintenance of a physical office this year. In 2021, investigate the benefits and flexibility of making your remote team permanently virtual. Start by investing in your team’s cloud-based work experience. Create a seamless management platform with tools like Zoom, Asana, and Dropbox, and free up your business to work with top talent around the world.
Digital marketing opportunities:
If you’ve been marketing at expos and tradeshows, you might feel that your options are limited. By exploring digital marketing opportunities, you can discover new ways to connect with your audience, even if that’s B2B. Engaging in storytelling and case studies are great ways to creatively promote your business while staying top of mind.
Simplify your supply chain:
Many businesses that had complex or fragile supply chains suffered when economies around the world were disrupted. In 2021, explore opportunities that simplify your supply chain by working with local and transparent suppliers so that your business is more resilient. This could mean new partnerships, products, or services.
Stay flexible, open-minded, and creative so that you can keep your eyes open for new opportunities to grow your business, even in challenging times. Some scrappy business owners do their best work when the going gets tough!
As you pursue and achieve goals in 2021, pay special attention to your employee and customer needs. For example, if you’re shifting your business online, but your target audience is 50+ years old, you may need to provide extra support so that they can continue to have a seamless customer experience. Employees will need lead time and extra training to adapt to new systems.
Achieve Goals in 2021 with “S.M.A.R.T. Goals”
I’m all for dreaming big and getting creative with your long-term goal setting. But when it comes down to designing actionable goals, you need a proven framework to force accountability.
By creating S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) goals, you can increase the chances of creating positive change and growth for your business. Here’s the breakdown:
Goals should be clearly defined. When you can, add a specific number to your goal. For example, instead of saying you’d like more sales, make it specific by saying 10% more sales, or 50 more discovery calls per month.
When creating your goals, decide what tools or metrics you’ll use to determine if you’re meeting your goals. For example, if your goal is to increase your sales by 10%, you’ll need to refer to your revenue or profits and check back regularly to measure your success.
Set goals around what you can actually control. For example, you shouldn’t aim to create a viral social media post, since it’s not up to you if your post becomes popular. Instead, you could set a goal to post more consistently (i.e., three times per week) and engage with ten new accounts per day. These attainable activities bring you closer to creating more engagement and exposure for your brand.
Goals keep you on track with what’s important. There are a million different directions you can take, and a new opportunity each day it seems. Work to prioritize which goals are the most relevant so that you can focus your energy where it matters most, and then stick to accomplishing it before taking on new commitments. This is why it’s so important to learn to say no!
Deadlines create a sense of urgency with a deadline, and so that you can break your goal down into milestones along the way. This way, you ensure that you’re achieving them within a meaningful timeframe, and you can track your progress along the way.
To Achieve Goals in 2021, Take Care of Your Team
It has never been more important to make people the priority (don’t forget about you!), whether they are employees or contractors. As you move forward in your business, make sure you’re taking care of your team. 2020 has taken a massive emotional, financial, and spiritual toll on many people. Keep an ‘open-door policy’ and can create a culture of empathy and support. Reward and recognize supporting and caring behavior among employees. Take a moment to research options for emotional and psychological training and professional help should your team members need it. Let them know that they are people first and employees second and that you are there for them. There are a staggering number of people who don’t have adequate support systems. You might be all they have, and they may be giving you their all. Show up for them.Your team is key to ensuring your business goals are achieved. Take the time to show thanks, appreciation, and care for their well-being.
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