Running a small business is no easy feat. Regularly, you are juggling multiple plates in the air; yet are still responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly. With the constant balancing act, it can be a challenge to determine what needs your attention at any given moment. And with the end of 2021 inching closer, the task of planning and prioritizing initiatives in the year ahead add to the mix.
Want to be proactive for the year ahead? Don’t sweat it. In this post, we will give you sure-fire tips on how to prepare for the upcoming year, where to prioritize your time, and how to make sure your goals align so you can hit the ground running.
Reflection is key
To plan for the future, it’s necessary to reflect on the past. Questions you can ask yourself are: How did my business perform this year? What were the highlights? Is there anything I’d change? These are some great questions to get the ball rolling.
Once you’ve had the chance to reflect on the year as a whole, now it’s time to plan. However, you may still find it challenging to determine what initiatives to prioritize and where to focus your time.
Hint – it is not one area over another
Now, depending on who you talk to, every small business owner has a different idea of what to prioritize. For some, it’s marketing, for others, it’s finance, while for others, it’s operations. However, in reality, it should be all of the above. The truth is, all of your business functions are interdependent. And while they may be interdependent, that is not to say you can’t break them into manageable pieces.
A great way to do this is to review all the different functions of your business which can include: operations, human resources, finance and accounting, marketing, research and development and more. While this list might seem extensive, in reality, it is what you take on, each and every day. For each of these functions, you’ll have several tasks that are non-negotiable and must be completed as they are critical for your business. While on the other side, there are activities that may already be on your radar, but you may be unsure of how to prioritize.
Goal setting for your business functions
This is where creating goals for specific business functions come into play. By establishing goals for the different areas of your business, you can operate your business like a well-oiled machine but take smaller steps towards a bigger accomplishment. This also makes it manageable to prioritize your time across different areas of the business without feeling overwhelmed.
For example, after reviewing your yearly financials, you realize you have room in your budget. By taking a step back and reviewing all areas of your business, you can highlight some gaps in your stock and production operations. A primary goal for the year ahead could be to hire an additional employee to help resolve some of these gaps.
Once you’ve established your primary goal, it’s easy to plan a series of actions that follow. For example, if your goal is to hire an additional team member, actions could be to determine the official responsibilities of the role, prepare a job posting, promote the position, interview candidates and onboard a new team member.
While this example is more geared towards operations and human resources, it can easily be applied to other areas of your business. By reviewing the different functions and creating goals and actions for each, you can be more strategic and better determine what activities to prioritize and allocate enough time to complete them.
Work smarter, not harder
If you’re still looking for additional tips on goal setting, make sure to check out our recent blog post, where we highlight how to create SMART goals to help ensure success and stay motivated along the journey.