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Setting business goals for the next year provides a path from where you are right now to where you want to be and measure your progress along the way.

5 steps to setting business goals for a successful year

It’s late-November. Days are shorter and projects will wrap over the next month. Can you feel the year winding down?

When things slow down, I like to take the opportunity to dig deep and make goals.

No matter where your company is in its life cycle, you can benefit from setting business goals. They provide a path from where you are right now to where you want to be and measure your progress along the way. Thinking and planning for your next year will keep you focused and motivated to move forward.

Step 1: Dream Big

The first thing to do when setting your business goals is to make sure you aren’t limiting yourself. At this stage you shouldn’t be worrying about the how to’s and the what if’s. Instead, envision a big and wonderful future for your business. At the end of this step, you should be able to answer this question: What is the ultimate goal for my business?

Step 2: Brainstorm

Grab some paper and set the timer for 25 minutes. Make a list of everything you can think of that could help you achieve your ultimate business goal. At the end of this step, you should be able to answer this question: What does your business need to do? (e.g. Get more customers? Hire more staff? Outsource tasks? Develop a new product?)

Step 3: Set Goals

Review your brainstorming list and determine 3 large goals for the year. (Don’t overwhelm yourself by setting too many goals from the start. If you find that you are accomplishing them sooner than expected, you can always add more.)

For example, if you determined that you want to get more customers, your large goals may be:

1. Refine your target audience
2. Rebuild your website to speak to that audience
3. Create a free offering (lead magnet)

Once you have set your 3 large goals, you’ll need to break them down into smaller milestones.

For example, the small steps to creating a free offering:

1. Pick a topic
2. Specify the format (template, checklist, how-to video, free trial, etc.)
3. Make an outline
4. Write the content
5. Create the resource
6. Integrate with your website

Step 4: Commit to a timeline

Look at your 3 large goals. How long will each goal take? Some will be continual (e.g. writing blog posts). Others will have a definitive ending date (e.g. launching a new website). Once you’ve added the large goals to your calendar, set deadlines for the smaller tasks. Add the smaller goals to your calendar as well.

Step 5: Stay on track

Regular meetings with an accountability partner are a good way to make sure you are keeping up with your goals. Another way to stay on schedule is to add weekly and quarterly reminders to your calendar. Reviewing your goals each week/quarter will allow you to celebrate your wins or reschedule tasks if need be.

Make it happen

To be successful at setting business goals, you need to map out your plans, break them down into digestible chunks and focus on the finish line. When you commit to doing what it takes to get you from point A to point B, you are sure to succeed at what you set out to do.

Alli McAuley

Hi, I'm Alli McAuley.

I help passionate entrepreneurs, like you, create a strategic brand and website that stands out to your dream clients so you can run a successful business online.

My ultimate goal is to empower you with the tools you need to live your best life by doing the work your love.