It’s that time of year again!
The time for New Year’s Resolutions.
When everyone talks about them, posts about them, and hopes that it will inspire them to accomplish the resolution. The same time of year that comes shortly before most New Year’s Resolutions are dropped (because, frankly, they’re set up to fail for the most part!). BUT!... That’s not what I want to talk about.
Getting off my New Year’s Resolution Soap Box…
Here’s what I really want to talk about: the mistakes Small Business Owners make in January.
#1: Rewriting the Whole Business
Similar to New Year’s Resolutions that try to change someone’s entire life overnight, most Small Business Owners feel like they need to rewrite their whole business model to be successful. So when it comes time to create year-end goals, we try to rewrite our whole business model.
The reality is, most Small Business owners have pretty decent business models. We don’t need to redesign the whole thing, we just need to tweak and shift the business enough to leverage the business model better.
If you’re working on setting Year End Goals, make sure you’re not trying to rewrite your whole business plan. You’ll set yourself up to fail, and likely spend time and energy on something you don’t actually need to do.
#2: Not Communicating
This is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes I see business owners make (and have to fight myself to avoid!).
After setting Year End Goals, business owners forget that the whole business and therefore all of the employees have to be moving in that direction. Either they share the goals only with upper management (which, in many cases, is just themselves!) or they forget to share it with the entire company.
A few months ago, a small business owner and I were chatting about her business. She was frustrated because she had so many wonderful visions and goals for the business, but her team never seemed to support her or help her find ways to achieve it.
Then, as we chatted, she looked around and realized she’d never actually told them.
In her next team meeting, she decided to share the goals and visions with her team. She sat down and said “here’s where we’re going long term, and here’s where we need to be by the end of the year to get there.” The next time we chatted, she had been blown away by her team! They had flipped a switch and were so inspired, motivated, and creative that they were bringing ideas to her for how to get the company moving forward in the direction of the vision. It was amazing.
Communicating your vision with your team is incredibly important!
As business owners, we make the mistake of assuming that everyone knows our goal is growth. It seems so obvious, because that’s what businesses have to do. But the obvious is rarely as obvious as we assume. And without clear communication, a team won’t be able to move itself toward the goal because the team won’t know what it is.
Here’s my challenge to you: Share your goals ALL the way through the company.
It’s not just upper management that needs to know. The whole company needs to know what direction to move in, and how that impacts their job. It will help them find additional ways to bring the company into a more efficient form of functioning. Especially if it helps them out.
For Example, one of the goals I am super vocal about with my team is to give away a certain amount of money in profit share to them per year. The first time I shared that with them, everyone’s eyes got a little excited, and we set up the profit share so that the more work they put in, the more profit share they get.
But in order to give away the amount in profit share I want to, we have to grow to a certain point every year. So my goal became their goal, and we were able to sit down and find actual action-items to bring us closer to that goal.
Next time you feel unsupported by your team, stop for a minute and think about the last time you told the WHOLE team what your goals were for the company and how it helps them.
#3: Revisiting Goals in December
It’s much easier to hit a target you can see, so why do we forget to revisit our goals during any month other than January and December?
It’s easier to forget them, or let them sit at the back of the desk until December when you need to revisit goals. But it’s much more effective and you’re far more likely to achieve them if you keep them front and center.
So how do we avoid these mistakes?
My best suggestion is to set up a “Once a month, All Hands On Deck” meeting. Go over goals, long-term and short-term so that you and your team keep them in mind.
Keep the meeting fun, and allow for chatter back and forth where it makes sense. This serves two purposes! First, your team should look forward to the meetings! If it’s just you monologuing….well, hate to break it to you, but no one likes that! Second, it will serve to spark ideas from the team on how to achieve those goals and that is the real gold. during specific parts of the meeting. Doing that will make everyone look forward to the meeting, and that it doesn’t become a drag but instead helps motivate them toward the goals.
One last note: don’t get too granular with your whole team. It’s ok to do that in one-on-ones when you’re working with specific members on specific action items. But my recommendation is, instead of saying “We want to send out this many promotional mailers monthly,” say “We want to achieve this in sales…here’s what we’re currently planning to achieve that…any thoughts from you?” give them the general “improve this are of the company by X%” so This creates they have room to find avenues of improvement on their own.
If you communicate your vision and give them space to take ownership, they will blow you out of the water every single time and your company will move forward exponentially.
About the Author:
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with more than 5,000 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!