Setting goals at the start of a new year is commonplace – whether it’s to be healthier, spend more time with loved ones or embark on those adventures you’d always wanted to tackle, there’s something for everyone to work towards. And for business goals, it’s no different.
So what plans have you got for 2020? What do you want to achieve and how will you make it happen?
If you’re still yet to get your business goals and plans set, and need some guidance, don’t despair. In this article, a group of our Sage Business Experts share some of their goals and offer some tips to help you with yours.
1. Alina Cincan: Focus on one or two business goals
As usual, my list of goals is pretty long (and doesn’t get any shorter from one year to another). However, chasing all of them is never a good idea, so focusing on one or two major goals is key. It’s much more doable, less stressful and you’re much more likely to achieve them.
For 2020, one of my main goals is – surprisingly, perhaps – to learn to let go.
As a small business owner, I’m guilty of trying to do everything and be involved in all aspects of the business. However, as I’ve learned over the past couple of years, this leads to burnout, stress and decreased productivity.
Delegating tasks doesn’t come naturally to me – but I have tried to do this and have seen positive results, therefore I’m aiming to do it more often. That will also give me more free time to go through my long list of goals I mentioned previously…
Find out more about Alina’s business at Inbox Translation.
2. Jenny Garrett: Measure what you do
Our business goal is to build on the success of 2019 in which we tapped into new markets – we want to develop long-term strategic relationships with our clients.
In 2019, we created new systems and processes that have streamlined our approach. This has helped us to be less reactive, and saved time and energy too.
I would advise you to measure what you do, so you understand what makes an impact to your company’s bottom line and you can stop those activities that don’t deliver.
The old adage “what gets measured gets done” is very true. And the sense of accountability created by setting targets and planning keeps us on track.
As my business has evolved, I’ve needed to take time out to make sure the work I do aligns with my values. My advice is not to just chase the money but to do the work that’s meaningful to you.
Find out more about Jenny’s business at Jenny Garrett Global.
3. Jeremy Corner: Embrace the cloud
My main business goal for 2020 with Blue Eyed Sun is to enrol more people in our mission to rid the world of single-use, plastic-lined coffee cups and bottles by using reusables.
To facilitate this, we plan to double sales of reusable cups, water bottles and lunchboxes on our B2C (business to consumer) website, GreenMagpie.net.
On the B2B (business to business) side, I’d like to get BambooCup by chic.mic (recommended by German consumer organisation Stiftung Warentest as the number one choice in a study of 12 bamboo cup brands) into more major retailers to help with our mission. We’re also excited about our new Bioloco brand of eco-gifts, which launches in 2020.
In the office, we will migrate our accounting software into the cloud and go completely digital with our accounting paperwork. This will make it easier for our team to work remotely and to integrate our other systems that are already in the cloud.
I also plan to cut back on external commitments by saying “no” more often and being more selective about what I say yes to.
Find out more about Jeremy’s business at Blue Eyed Sun.
4. Grace Marshall: Make yourself accountable
Don’t go for SMART goals.
Specific, measurable and achievable sounds sensible but, let’s face it, is a bit boring. Goals need to be meaningful to be motivating. Dream big, then take small, specific actions to achieve them.
And make yourself accountable by telling someone else. For example, one of my 2020 goals is to write my next book – the title I’m working on at the moment is about struggle and the role it plays in productivity.
Now I’ve told you, the chances of someone asking me about it will make me far more likely to make it happen.
Find out more about Grace’s business at Grace Marshall.
5. Janice B Gordon: Focus on opportunities – and make them happen
I recently worked with a business owner who had an amazing business but they only saw the problems and not the highlights.
Let’s face it, 2019 was a challenging year.
However, we make the journey harder by how we react to our circumstances.
I did some work with the business, looking at their milestone events and creating a positive timeline and then a strategic plan for 2020.
Make a promise to yourself that in 2020 you will see only opportunities and act to make them happen.
It doesn’t matter how many goals you set in 2020 – and you may achieve some or all of them – if you choose to see the problems, you’ll have missed the opportunity.
My goal in 2020 is to think and believe that in every circumstance, there is an opportunity.
Find out more about Janice’s business at Janice B Gordon.
6. Sue Keogh: Be ambitious (and realistic) with your goals
Don’t just write a business plan and file it away. Think about ambitious but realistic goals so you feel you like you are making progress. I like to do mine in a Trello board, which I can update gradually throughout the year, rather than on a long-winded Word document.
For 2020, I want to get much better at forecasting and long-term planning, and use the tools at my disposal to do so.
Find out more about Sue’s business at Sookio.
7. Sid Moore: Think about problems your clients and employees have
We have two business goals for 2020 at Moore Accountancy.
The first is for staff flexibility. We already offer a lot of flexibility but want staff to feel that they have the actual ability to choose their hours rather than it being an underused option.
As a small business with lots of IT and clients expecting nine to five responses, having unlimited holidays or ‘hangover mornings’ is not really an option.
However, at our regular team meetings and in the upcoming appraisals, we are planning on promoting commuting out of hours and working from home.
Our other goal is to work on client communication. Whether it be the response time to an email or acknowledgement of paperwork being received, we think there is room for improvement.
We’ll be looking at developing our use of practice management tools and getting the team into a routine of responding to all emails within 24 hours of receipt, even if it is a holding email. Hopefully our clients will then feel the appreciation we have for them.
Seeing what clients or staff currently have an issue with is where I would start in choosing goals. It’s then important to try and break this down into what the root cause of the problem is, and then use step-by-step ideas to improve it.
Being realistic about how much time can be spent on these while still doing the client work is also important.
Find out more about Sid’s business at Moore Accountancy.
Final thoughts on business goals
Setting goals and working to achieve them can really put your business on the front foot. Breaking your annual goals into monthly ones, for example, can help you to focus on the steps required to achieve them.
Whether your business goals involve cutting down on admin or processing paperwork, reducing manual tasks via automation and other tools so you can spend more time adding value to your customers, or enhancing the skill set of your employees so they can succeed within your company, put the time in to document them. Then refer to them regularly and measure your progress.
And with a bit of luck (and hard work), you’ll smash your goals and take your business to ever-dizzying heights.
Grow your customer base
Want to grow your business? Growing your customer base will help you achieve your goal. Read this guide for advice on reaching new customers and retaining your existing ones.