Each year at this time we all start thinking about how to make the next year better through personal resolutions that vary from “getting healthier” to “controlling my spending.” All our resolves are made with the best intentions, but many fall by the wayside before Valentine’s Day treats hit the retail shelves (and that gets earlier each year)!
Business owners make resolutions too.
An owner may make resolutions to:
- Increase sales
- Lower expenses
- Hire a better staff
- Expand the product line
The list goes on. But much as we find our personal resolutions prematurely derailed, the entrepreneur may look at their business resolutions and ask, “What happened?”
Resolutions are simply attainable goals. And to truly be goals they must be “specific and measurable.” But for most of us, that is still too broad.
Here’s a good example of resolutions a business owner might set:
1) Increase my sales by $45,000 over last year.
2) Lower my expenses by 5%.
3) Reduce the number of hours I spend at work from 50 hours a week to 40.
All three are pretty specific and easily measured. But there is a lot of detail missing if they are meant to be accomplished. Let’s take the same list with a different approach that includes “how” to achieve them.
Incorporating the “how”:
1) Increase my sales by $45,000 over last year by adding salads as a new product for my customers and hosting a special week-long anniversary event.
2) Lower my expenses 5% by negotiating more with my vendors by scheduling face to face meetings and making certain my retail pricing is in line.
3) Reduce the number of hours I spend at work from 50 hours a week to 40 by doing a better job of training my employees up front so I feel comfortable leaving my business in their hands.
Much more specific, right? But, we’re still not there. There has to be a little more detail and the decision of “when?” comes into play. Taking it to the next level . . .
Factoring in the “when”:
1) Increase my sales by $45,000 over last year by adding salads as a new product for my customers in March for an additional $40,000 through the rest of the year and hosting a special week-long anniversary event in September for an additional $5,000.
2) Lower my expenses 5% by negotiating more with my vendors by scheduling face to face meetings the third week of January and making certain my retail pricing is in line with signage, materials and registers reprogrammed by February 15th.
3) Reduce the number of hours I spend at work from 50 hours a week to 40 by doing a better job of training my employees up front so I feel comfortable leaving my business in their hands by May 15th.
From here, it’s a matter of calendaring the steps to make and tracking progress along the way. Breaking each goal down into small steps spread over time makes them easier to achieve as a whole. Try it.
It doesn’t matter whether you are using a calendar program on your computer or a monster wall calendar. The key to achieving your goals is to set deadlines and projects ahead of your goal dates. Start at your completion goal, and work backwards. If you’re the business owner above and want to have face-to-face meetings with your vendors by the third week of January, put it on your calendar to make those initial calls the first week of January to set the appointments.
If you want to host a week-long anniversary event in September, plan the details of the event, then work backwards on the calendar. Decide when you’ll create the marketing materials, buy merchandising or decorating supplies, when you’ll host an employee meeting to cover the details with your crew and anything else you need to accomplish to make it a well-planned, successful event that helps you achieve your goals.
How to create business resolutions that stick:
To create your personal or business resolutions, don’t spend time trying to write out the perfect synopsis all at once. Build them one step at time by following the same format I used above:
1) Start broad.
2) Add the “how.”
3) Add the “when.”
4) Detail the elements you’ll need to accomplish them and calendar those steps.
How can you use this method to help you achieve your resolutions?
Resolve to have the best bakery-cafe business your town Has ever seen.
Learn more about bakery ownership with Great Harvest:
See our other posts on New Year's resolutions for business and life:
- Follow Through on Your New Year's Goals for Small Business Ownership
- Stop Making SMART Goals in 2015. Life-Changing Goals Require More
- Resolve to Make Your Retail Business the Best it Can Be in 2014