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Planning and goal setting for 2016
  • 29 December 2015
  • Eric Michaels

Planning and goal setting for 2016

Taking your small business to the next level requires more than wishful thinking. Without a clear blueprint for where your organization is headed, everyone from your most trusted long-time employees to new hires could wind up be flying blind and wasting resources. Small business owners have to take action on this front. Here are some tips for effective planning and goal setting in 2016.

Dedicating time to plan
You can’t establish a road map for an entire year of business in just a few days. Several weeks should be set aside for developing strategy and tactics. Have your key team members dedicate multiple hours over the course of a few weeks to allow ideas to develop. Everyone taking the time and energy to focus and thoughtfully discover the strengths and weaknesses of the business is the first step is to improving your operation.

Learning from common mistakes
As you turn your attention toward goals for 2016, your team should take stock of what worked and what didn’t during the past year. Lapses and miscalculations should be acknowledged and adjustments made to prevent the same thing happening in the future.

Creating a work environment where employees thrive is crucial for modern businesses, so for small business owners, establishing a great company culture should be at the top of your list of goals. Additionally, as the digital marketplace continues to grow, size up your company's online presence. Whether it’s improving your mobile website, entering the world of email marketing, or developing a social campaign, it may be high time that you expand your efforts and initiatives in this area.

Goal setting from top to bottom
Every division of your business needs its own set of goals. Similarly, management must identify areas where it needs to improve -- such as establishing better communication or providing employee evaluations. Also, remember that before 2016 begins, the company’s financial goals need to be set.

As for employees, every person who works for your company should have key objectives to strive for in the coming year. Sales goals (based in part on last year’s performance) are an excellent place to start, and personal goals (e.g., learning new skills) should also be part of the plan. Most employees take great pride in meeting benchmarks, and your company will be better for it.

Looking ahead
Along with goal setting for all of 2016, small businesses can use monthly forecasts and reports to keep track of progress. Depending on the type of business, this can include revenue by sector, gross and net profits, and other drilldown data. This monthly accounting may sound premature for companies that are just getting off the ground, but learning the routine will be helpful for you as you expand. Using the information from these monthly reports, your team can readjust its goals for the next period. This exercise allows even the smallest companies to identify weak spots and address them before they become damaging. Conversely, ignoring this process can lead to wasted capital and missed business opportunities.

For small business owners, planning and goal setting is crucial. Not only will it help you clarify your company vision and better pursue your mission, it can also be the key to achieving your business goals and realizing a more profitable 2016.

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