Have you made any new-year’s resolutions about how you’re going to improve your business in 2012? Good for you. Now here’s the great news. You’re probably doomed to fail. The people who make the most positive changes in their businesses don’t make resolutions. Instead, they set goals. That makes all the difference.
Sure, it’s tradition to enter the new year with resolutions both for yourself and for your business. But be honest…when was the last time that you and your company spent an entire year truly focused on even one of your resolutions? What was the last new-year’s resolution that you kept? Resolutions aren’t a bad thing, they just typically don’t set you up for success the way clearly defined goals do.
Resolutions are easy to make and hard to keep. Sometimes that’s just a function of discipline, but more often than not it’s because resolutions are just too general. Let’s say you’re entering the year having resolved to do a better job marketing in 2012. Chances are that’s a really good idea, but it’s a really lousy business goal. What does “better” mean? What results do you want to achieve? How will you know if you’ve achieved them? When you make a resolution, you’re usually just putting voice to a vague hope that’s virtually impossible to measure and easy to lose sight of.
A clearly articulated goal, on the other hand, identifies the criteria you will use to evaluate success and commits to a date by which you will achieve it. Instead of a vague resolution to improve marketing, what if set the goal of generating three new leads every month of the year? Now it’s easy to know whether the target has been hit. If it has, you’re happy. If it hasn’t, you can make good decisions about what needs to change to achieve the goal.
Sit down and write down specific goals for your business in the coming year. They have to be specific, they have to be measurable, and they have to have a target date by which they’ll be achieved. Do that, and you’re way ahead of the game.