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January 2022

4 Ways to Attack (and Attain) Your Business Goals

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

When you run your own business, you’re the person deciding on the direction. You’re in control of start dates and marketing promos. You’re the one who must hold yourself back from the shiny object syndrome.

And yet, so many of us fail on that last one and it’s easy to understand why.

Open your social media feeds or search on the internet for business advice and you’ll find dozens of articles that tell you what you need to be doing for your business this year—things you need to implement, apps you need to download, widgets needed on your website, and a host of other projects you would be remiss not to implement immediately.

And they all sound so wonderful. Things your audience will love, will drive more sales, help you become better known.

But if you take off in hot pursuit of them all, you won’t accomplish any of them.

Pick a Goal, Pick a Timeframe
Yes, there may be many things you need or want to do for your business, but you have a better chance of completing them if you concentrate on 1-3 goals at a time. If you have more than three things you want to institute in your business this year, you can still do them after you complete the first three. Some professionals have new goals each month, quarter, or every six months.

Treat business goal setting the way you do eating. Don’t pile mounds on your plate just because it looks delicious. Take one helping first and when you’re finished with that, come back for more.

Cluster Your Goals
If you have an auspicious agenda this year, cluster the goals that naturally fit together. For instance, if your goals are more followers on social media, being consistent in your blog posting, and implementing a new training program for your employees, know that the first two can easily be stitched together as good blog content gives you something valuable to post to social media (and thus, get more followers). The third goal is better as a standalone.

Select a Quarter for New Launches
My writing business has two facets—business marketing writing and fiction writing. My business writing trumps my fiction writing because it pays the bills. But my fiction will never have a chance to pay the bills if I don’t give it the attention it needs to take off. The same may be true for an area of your business. For instance, perhaps you own a food truck, and you’ve considered adding a brick-and-mortar location. If those thoughts are just thoughts, your café will never take shape. You must open to see if your business idea will work.

But there’s a lot of planning involved before you can do so. Pick a quarter (or season or even a month) and dedicate your free time during that period to work the pieces you need to get closer to your launch goal.

Which brings us to…

Schedule Time and Purpose
It’s great to use free time to explore ideas for your business but your free time is likely limited, and it can be frustrating to save something for your free time only to be discouraged when your free time is usurped by something else. That’s why you also need to set aside time in your schedule each week for goal attainment.

This is not an hour set aside to think about your idea, although that is a necessary thing early on. But if you want to be successful in meeting your goal, you need to map out what it will take and break that up into smaller, attainable pieces that you can schedule. In our restaurant example, a task might be listing all the restaurants in an area of town you’re considering for your café. It might be reaching out to the local chamber to find out what development projects are in the works. Whatever you assign for this time should be measurable. At the end of your time block you should know whether you accomplished it or not. If your goal was thinking about opening your restaurant, you may have done that but there is no end point. You could “think” about it for the next decade. However, if your task was to call three landlords for potential spots, you know definitively whether that was completed or not.

This year don’t try to do it all. Pick 1-3 things that will advance your business and map out how you will get there. Then assign time to make it happen. We all get excited about ideas, but the real excitement should lie in your ability to accomplish them. That starts with making the most important ones a priority. Just like in your personal life, you make things a priority by giving them your undivided attention.

New Year, New You, New Biz: Find Your Motivation in 2022

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

If you’re like me—and almost everyone else in this country—the end of the year is a time to look back and assess. I enjoy the nostalgia and reminiscing that occurs at this time of year, but it can also be a time of dread. It’s a time to realize you either hit the mark or you didn’t. And if you did, you may be apprehensive about being able to do it again in the new year.

So, we make resolutions.

We tell ourselves we’re going to do X differently this year. And most of us fall short of X because we forget about it, or we fall back into old routines because they are easy and we know how they work.

But this year, if you’re going to take on a resolution, we have some tips for you. The goal is to make resolutions more intuitive and doable. Here are a couple of ways to do that.

Make It a Team Effort in Business
Create improvement goals you have for your business and assign each of them to a person or department. If your company is large enough you could assign the task to an interdepartmental team. In the case of smaller companies, give it to someone you think would enjoy the task and be good at it. For instance, maybe you have been threatening to do live-stream videos but can never find the time. Maybe someone on your staff loves making TikToks. Enlist their help to either do it or act as your mentor or accountability coach. The reversal of roles can be fun.

Tell Everyone
The more people you announce your intentions to, the more embarrassed you will be if you don’t succeed. Risk of embarrassment can be a powerful motivator.

An announcement should never be just a tweet. Instead, use multiple formats/mediums to announce your intentions too. Video, blog posts, social media posts, and/or live streaming can be entertaining ways to stay true to your commitments.

Derive Your Why
Just as it is important for your employees to understand the why behind your business, it’s smart to make sure you fully understand the why behind your resolution. Digging down to the most motivating reason can help you stay the course. You may find that tying someone else into your reasoning is a more effective motivation than your own.

For instance, did you resolve to lose weight in 2022? Why? Because you hate that your pants don’t fit? Or is there something more motivating? After all, non-fitting pants can be remedied by drawstring sweatpants (trust me on that). Try for something more motivating. Maybe deep down it’s not about the number on the scale but that you’re worried that because your parent had heart disease at a young age, you will too. Health is motivating but burgers and fries are delicious, so tie it into something larger than you. Maybe you don’t want your children to experience the same grief that you did with the loss of your parent at a young age. Sticking to a resolution for someone else can be a lot more motivating.

Choose a Resolution That Matters with Quick Measurable Results
If you want to be successful in attaining your resolution or goal, you must choose wisely. We tend to fall into ruts and assign ourselves little. If you view yourself as a winner and someone who always attains their goals, you will be motivated to take on harder ones. If, on the other hand, you see yourself as someone who gives up, guess what will happen when things get hard? You’ll revert to what you know (or think you know) about yourself, and you’ll give up.

If you want to change that scenario, you must change how you view yourself. That takes more than just positive talk. Your brain wants examples of how you followed through or what you successfully completed. That’s why you should start with a resolution to do something that you can see quick, measurable improvement almost immediately. After you accomplish that smaller goal, with that “win” in hand, you can tell your brain you do complete things. Then tackle the more difficult one.

If you’re considering taking on a resolution or making some big changes in your business or yourself, consider these motivational suggestions. They’ll help you make effective use of your time and direction and assist you in building confidence in your skills in 2022.