How to Properly Set Business Goals for 2021

Executing on Plans / December 21, 2020 / Kristie Holden

Happy New Year! It’s time to look ahead and set your business’ goals and objectives. Setting goals for your business can not only help you grow or improve it, but also give you a clearer vision for the direction you want your company to be taking. 

setting business goals for 2021 - a team of people planning around a table

If you’re just starting out your new business, or have never set a business goal, there’s no need to worry! Here are some of our tips and strategies for business owners looking to start their 2021 business goals. 

1. Evaluate your goals of 2020 versus your progress

First and foremost, you’ll need to compare your business goals to how you really did for this year. While the pandemic certainly took many by surprise and likely had a major impact on your business, it’s important to think about how you adapted and what you can do going forward to ensure you’re able to keep your business going. You’ll also want to think about how the pandemic could affect your business in 2021 and how you’ll stay proactive and prepared for whatever the New Year might bring. 

On the flip side, if you’re starting a business during the pandemic, you’re going to want to analyze how other businesses in your field are doing and what strategies successful ones are using. Taking the time to reflect on 2020 may be difficult to do, but it’s important in helping you to adapt and move forward. 

2. Take a good, hard look at your financial situation

Whether you’re reflecting on your business’ progress in 2020 or analyzing your competition, you’ll want to also look into your own financial health before setting your business goals, too. If you’ve put a lot of your own money into the business, it’ll be important to make sure you’re in good financial standing to survive and continue to grow your business. Investing in your own company can leave you with a lot of financial strain and unneeded stress, if you’re not careful towards the beginning stages of outlining a thought out plan. Plus, it’s essential to analyze not only your businesses income, but how you’re going to track your income and remain organized from a personal finance perspective. 

To make sure your money is properly tracked on a consistent basis, and you know how much is going in and out of your bank account as it pertains to your own savings, it may be beneficial to sign up for an online checking account not only for the convenience, but for the features it provides as well. As you’re creating or navigating a financial strategy for yourself and your business, it’s essential to be as systematic as possible, therefore keeping certain expenses separate, and knowing how much money you’re saving and spending at all times. 

After taking an honest look at how much money you have in your emergency fund and spending, you’ll have a better understanding of how ambitious you’re willing to make your goals. If your business has done well under this past year’s circumstances, you’ll likely be willing to focus on growing your business and setting higher goals for your team. 

3. Define your business’ needs and wants

Now that you’ve taken an opportunity to assess your business and your own personal finances, it’s time to define your business’ needs and wants. This will help you determine what business goals would make the most sense for 2021. Make a list of everything that comes to mind, from revenue goals to growing your staff. If you are struggling with determining your needs and wants, asking your staff and analyzing reviews of your business may shed a light on possible issues with your business. Having your needs and wants in a concise list is the first step to seeing where your business stands and will lead you to determining your future goals. 

4. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.

Once you’ve listed your business’ needs and wants, it’s time to take a look at them and turn them into goals! When turning them into goals for the New Year, you’ll want to make sure they’re properly formatted and clear to understand. 

SMART goals are the epitome of what your written down goals should look like. This means that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Having your business goals adhere to this criteria will help you and your team to have a clear and thorough understanding of these goals and what they mean to your business. Not only that, but having your goals include these characteristics allows you to better see the steps that need to be taken in order for them to successfully be achieved. 

5. Write them down

You have clear and specific goals for 2021; now you’ve got to make sure they’re written down and easily accessible to everyone on your team. As touched on previously, writing down your goals will be crucial to making sure that they’re remembered and give you a clearer focus. According to Forbes, writing down your goals has even been shown to result in greater chance of goal achievement. Creating a vision board of sorts with your written down business goals for everyone on your team to see can help you, and the rest of your staff, remain focused on what’s important for the business and how they can achieve success. If your staff is all working from home, posting a PDF of your business goals for 2021 to the team will work just as well!

6. Commit to your goals and set a deadline

Now that you have created your SMART goals and made them available to your team, it’s time to stick to them! Since your SMART goals will be time-bound, they will need a deadline to have them accomplished by. This will allow you to prioritize your goals and make sure you are focusing on the most time-sensitive and important goals first. Goals without deadlines are easier to let slip through the cracks, so having a date to accomplish these goals will be key in making sure you’re fully committed.

Setting goals for your business, especially in times of stress, can be a difficult task. However, it’s well worth its benefits in making sure that you’re focused and doing everything you can to grow and nurture your business to be as successful as it can be. Now it’s time to get to work and focus on the New Year! 

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