Happy New Year! How and when do you set goals?

Posted by Derek Mason

3rd January 2023

When do you set your goals? The start of January can feel like a natural time for goal setting unless your financial year runs on a different schedule. At Super Structure Associates, we set goals for both the financial year and the calendar year. There are no hard and fast rules, and you need to do what’s right for your business.

One of the things that can help with planning and goal setting is to hear what other business owners are doing. It’s why I’m sharing my own process with you, so you can take what’s useful and ignore the rest.

Our financial goals are in line with our financial year – from 1st October to 30th September – and we have a chart on the wall in the office so everyone in the team is aware of our progress towards the goals. We always celebrate our wins, and there’s cake all round if we hit our monthly target. Sometimes we don’t quite hit a monthly target, but if we still hit the quarterly target, we treat that as a win.

If we don’t hit our targets, we reflect as a team on why that was. It could be that project delays outside our control had an impact, so we look at what we can control and how we could do things differently next time. This keeps the team on board with being nimble and making changes as we go along.

Our other goals for the business, beyond financial targets, run from January to December. “New Year” goals connect well with my team, as January is a natural time for a fresh approach. The goals we set are in multiple areas, including training, staff development and team building, along with more obvious goals around good customer service, marketing, lead generation and lead nurturing.

Treating staff well is just as important as treating customers well. As Sir Richard Branson put it, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”.

Developing your staff is important. Research shows that the salary you can offer is not necessarily top of the list of priorities for staff. People also want to feel valued and appreciated and to have opportunities to learn and progress. So, when we set goals for the year, we take individual training needs into account. We get our staff to choose one personal goal and one professional goal for the year and we track the progress on achieving these goals each month during our 1-1’s. This helps the staff develop professionally but also personally in achieving a personal goal each year.

We also reward progress and longevity. For example, when staff have been with us for five years, they get the chance to choose an outing for the whole team. Our most recent five-year anniversary celebration featured a trip to Topgolf, followed by a meal and drinks. It was a good opportunity for us all to have fun together away from the office.

As well as goals that prioritise staff training and rewards, we set goals around attracting customers, such as targets for 5-star reviews on Google and targets for the speed with which we follow-up on enquiries.

With economic challenges on the horizon, now might be a good time for every business to set the goal of re-engaging with clients past and present, to maintain good relationships and lay the groundwork for future business.

How do you approach the new year? What goals are you setting for your business? I’d be interested to hear from you if you’d like to share any of your plans and ideas for 2023.

And, as always, if you need assistance with the structural elements of an upcoming project, please do get in touch.

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