Shop Talk

Ask the Experts: It’s time to set goals for 2015

Do you want your company to earn more revenue? Do you want to improve customer service? Is focusing on your social media efforts on your to-do list?

Take an hour or two this week to spend some time reviewing 2014 and determining your business goals for next year. If you don’t know your destination, then it is most likely that you will not achieve all that your company is capable of in 2015.

“Without clear goals, your business doesn’t have a direction,” said Sarah Levitt, a self-employed executive coach and motivational speaker in Raleigh. “The goal-setting process gives you a chance to make sure that your goals are in alignment with who you are. It is an opportunity to really consider your goals instead of just being dragged behind an avalanche of work.”

Many people set their goals at the beginning of January because it feels like a natural time to start fresh. However, Levitt said owners shouldn’t resist setting goals at other times of the year.

Levitt suggests setting goals that focus on what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve them.

“Check to make sure that the ‘why’ aligns with who you are as a person and a business owner,” Levitt said. “For example, if someone wants to expand the size of their business, they may realize ... it is not really about revenue but about having more discretionary time with the people that they love.”

Levitt said that it is also essential to break goals into smaller pieces.

“People often abandon their goals because they are overwhelming,” she said. “The best goals have an action plan that is strategic in the long term but tactile in the short term with small, actionable steps.”

Levitt also suggests sharing your goals with others.

“You should also have people to help you hold the vision of your success, such as a coach, good friend or business mastermind group,” Levitt said. “Inevitably, there will be stumbles and setbacks ... and your success rate will be higher if you have the pieces of support in place from the beginning.”

Many owners are so focused on achieving that they forget to celebrate their successes and milestones.

“Take time to really savor each success,” she said.