As a growing entrepreneur, you probably feel as if the years are getting shorter and shorter. As we come to the close of 2021, I’m sure you can attest to this feeling. If 2020 and 2021 have taught us anything, it’s that each year brings challenges, opportunities, and potential that we could never imagine. While business operations don’t stop from December 31 through January 1, it’s a good time to reflect, reset, and plan for the year ahead.
If you aren’t in the habit of intentionally planning for the upcoming year, I want to challenge you to do so, and I am going to give you a few high-level items to focus on during your preparation.
When you look back on 2021, did you hit all of your goals? Some of your goals? What were some of the goals that you didn’t hit and why? Believe me when I tell you that, it’s okay if you didn’t hit all of your goals. As an entrepreneur, you have to be fluid with your decisions and pivot along the way. The important thing to focus on is why the goals were or were not achieved.
What did you do well? This is probably the most important question to reflect on. What progress did you achieve in the growth of your venture? What were the big wins? Are there new offerings that you are providing that were unexpected? Make sure you take time to identify the accomplishments of you and your team.
Adversely, you also have to reflect on your growth opportunities. What did you mess up? Did you fail? Did you make a mistake that caused you not to achieve your goals? One of the most important aspects of growth is the ability to be self-aware of faults, admit the need for improvement, and identify what didn’t work. Without doing this, you are doomed to repeat these mistakes next year.
After you reflect on 2021, it’s time to move on, take the lessons from everything, and prepare for next year. The most important way to prepare is to set goals. While it seems simple, too many new business owners fail to set year-to-year goals.
So how should you set goals? To start, be realistic. You are planning the next year for your business, so you need to set goals that are attainable in that time frame. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set big or audacious goals, but if they are impossible to achieve, you will eventually quit striving for them.
Next, is to create categories for your goals. At StartUP Columbus, we recommend using the same categories year-over-year to truly see growth within your business. Here are some recommended categories:
- Personal Development
- Social Impact
You may be thinking, “But a lot of these sound like personal goals…” That’s because they are! As the business owner, you and your venture function as one. If you are not setting goals and developing yourself, you are failing to get your business to its full potential.
When preparing for the new year, think about the WHO that needs to be involved with achieving your goals. One thing we tell entrepreneurs at StartUP is that even though you are in business for yourself, you do not have to be in business by yourself. Having the right team and the right people is critical for growth.
And a team doesn’t just mean employees. Do you understand the ins and outs of your finances? If not, have an accountant on your team. Are you unsure what strategic steps are needed to reach the next level? Have an advisory committee on your team. Do you need to create more digital security? Include a team member that will train your staff on cybersecurity.
As an entrepreneur, you have a lot of technical skills to run your venture. Don’t be afraid to identify what areas you need support in and bring on people to focus on those areas.
Now, you just have to START. Whatever plans you’ve made, goals you’ve created, and dreams you have, there is always something you can do today to start. If you find yourself unsure of how to start, send us an email. We are happy to work with you on setting goals and growing your organization as you move into the new year.