Did you know that about 45% of Americans make a New Year’s Resolution?
And while nearly half the country makes a resolution, only 8% are successful in actually achieving their resolution. That’s the word from a study put together by the University of Scranton, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.
Why is it that so many plans fall apart?
When it comes to business plans for the New Year, the last thing you want is to have them fall apart. That’s because the start to a New Year can impact the rest of your year. With a good start you’ll gain momentum that may carry over for months ahead. A bad start can send you spiraling out of control until you’re able to turn it around.
So if you made business goals for the New Year (or even a new quarter or new month), what can you do to ensure you stick with them?
I recently asked several entrepreneurs that very question. Here are the top 14 replies:
1. Get a Jump Start, Keep the Plan Simple, & Set Weekly Goals
Get a Jump Start: I always get a jump start on the New Year by having the business plan done by early to mid-November. Doing this allows our team a good month head start on the year and that month truly makes a huge difference. We seem to be ahead of the game plan versus behind. Mentally this is huge for us.
Keep the Plan Simple: We have operational budgets and business plans for each division but we keep them simple enough that people know them by heart. We focus on revenue goals and growth over last year, the budgets goals, and 1-3 strategic growth goals from systematizing things better, hiring, software implementation, etc. Keeping it simple ensures there is clear communication, no confusion, and easy execution on the goals.
Set weekly goals: On Monday we set what we call Weekly Game Changer Goals (all of department heads)- this is one goal that will move that dept closer to the big YE goal because it’s a game of inches. On Friday, people check back in with our CEO and he sends out a leadership update with progress, goals hit, etc. Keeps us all on task and on our toes as we are competitive!
- Traci Bild, Author & creator of the Get Your Girl Back Movement
2. Align Resolutions with Your Skill Set
We believe strongly that your New Year’s resolutions have to align themselves with your skill sets, desires or passions. You can’t make a resolution that’s inherently separate from you and expect it to work. Rather than looking at things as a fresh start, which can be daunting, we like to think of it as putting the next level on a house we’ve already built the foundation of. A strong foundation means increased chances of success.
- Mike Tanner, Founder of OneRedCat.com
3. Delegate to Fulfill the Plan
Sticking with a business plan requires having a structure or multiple “structures” in place that prompts one to fulfill on the tasks. These can include a coach, a mastermind group, and/or a project planning system. Once I create a plan, I use BizPadPro.com to manage tasks for myself and staff.
Also, being accountable to a dynamic group of successful entrepreneurs is highly motivating factor in accomplishing my goals. In addition, hiring team members and delegating the necessary responsibilities to fulfill the plan also ensures the plan gets done.
- Laura Rubinstein, President, Social Buzz Club, LLC
4. Find an Accountability Partner
If you don’t have a board of directors, perhaps you have an accountant or business development professional in your network, who you can share your business plan with and will serve as your accountability partner.
You should meet with your accountability partner twice a month with him or her to discuss the progress and keep you aware of those business plan projections.
- Larvetta L. Smith, Principal- Chief Marketing Strategist at L3eventeurs.com
5. Use Visuals & Affirmations
Surround Yourself with Power: Post your list in front of your desk (and/or on your morning mirror) in a highly visible place so you are reminded daily of the rewards and consequences of keeping your promise. If possible, enhance your list with pictures, screen savers, and props. Visuals and affirmations create tremendous symbiotic stimulus to the brain.
- Joe Zente, President and CEO for the Austin, Texas branch of The Alternative Board
6. Connect Business Goals with Personal Resolutions
I set ambitious New Year’s business and personal resolutions:
- Business plan: Bring in a totally new retainer nature-oriented client to more than cover an expensive “once-in-a-lifetime trip” I have booked in mid-June to see orangutans in Borneo–on my bucket list for 17+ years.
- Personal plan: Overcome knee/back injuries and get in good physical shape to do this type of trip–travel for 2+ days there, jungle, heat, mosquitos, walking, primitive room. (My friends tease that I would previously have considered staying in a Holiday Inn as “roughing it.”)
To ensure that I stick to these goals, I have a tight 6-month timeframe until trip departure–and a trip that I feel passionate about as an inducement to bring in money and get fit.
I have already researched a potential client and initiated a proposal to better tell their story and achieve their goals under a new CEO around a 100th anniversary opportunity.
Also, I plan to focus on social media with photos to cover this trip and engage people and will use this to attract orangutan organizations that need good marketing communications to better tell their story.
On the personal side, I have written basic daily guidelines to achieve fitness goals for a trip that I’m passionate about.
- Rozanne Weissman, Chief Guru of Rozanne Weissman & Associates
7. Break it Down Into Short-Term Goals
We stick to our business plan by setting short-term goals and milestones in addition to monthly and quarterly meetings to evaluate the effectiveness of the business plan.
- Michael Talve, the Founder and Managing Director of The Expert Institute
8. Work on Your Inner Game
Make time to work on your self esteem and minimize your stress response. When you do this, you put yourself in a much better frame of mind to commit yourself to your goals at the same time setting bigger goals because you believe in yourself more knowing you can handle the challenge.
You become inspired as opposed to motivated. (Inspiration comes from within, where as motivation comes from outward sources)
- Leo Willcocks, Founder of LeoWillcocks.com
9. Ingrain Them in Daily Life
As a business owner, resolutions are not just a once a year thing. To be successful it must be ingrained in your daily life. I used the simple sticky note to focus my goals. Success is a journey not a destination.
- Mary Weary, Owner of Menu Maker Catering
10. Shift in the Way You Look at Work
Several years ago, I made a switch in the way I look at work. Rather than expecting to be happy when I get an outcome, I started experiencing joy when I am DOING the work. That has helped me big time in happily achieving many goals. The idea comes from ancient Indian scriptures where the approach is to never shy away from work (Karma Yoga) but never get attached to the outcomes.
- Rajesh Setty, President of WittyParrot.com
11. It’s OK to Revise
At Tiffintrove.com, we review and revise our business plans every three months: it’s easier to stick to your goals when they are fresh in the company’s mindset.
Part of our plan includes following social media outlets to see what types of food are trending so we can keep up with customers’ demands: maybe people are craving meat dishes in the winter but prefer lighter vegan meals in January as they work on weight loss resolutions. We follow and comment on current food trends so we can increase traffic to our site. What worked in January may not work in May.
The other major way we stick to our business plan is by reminding ourselves that we may not be as unique as we think. Our future customers are meeting their needs somehow; we keep coming up with new tactics to convince these future customers that even though there may be something similar on the market, our product is better and cheaper.
- Anjali Patel, Owner TiffinTrove.com
12. Success Comes From Motivation
Turn your resolutions into clear-cut, concise goals. With the New Year on the horizon, strive to be motivated and successful. This is a perfect time for a fresh approach to goal-setting and renewed purpose! Goals need to be SMART! Satisfying, Memorable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-tested!
- Dr. Michael Provitera, President of Motivational Leadership Training
13. Small Short-Term Goals are Best
Set small manageable monthly or even weekly goals that together build towards your year-end goal.
For example, one of our year end goals is to double our sales from 2013. Given that, we have goals for each month of 2014 that we believe will lead to this year-end goal. So to start, our January goal is to contact 30 skin care retailers / distributors and contact 30 skin care websites / magazines for PR purposes. Our February goal is to turn these contacts into actionable results and contact another set of skin care retailers and PR related outlets.
- Will von Bernuth, Co-founder of Block Island Organics
14. Fun Challenges Work
I’ve maintained the same challenge successfully for several years. If I do not meet my monthly goals by straying from my business plan, then I must, as a loyal and proud USC alum, make a donation to the cross town rival UCLA athletic department. To date, my competitive drive to keep from donating to that school has kept me well on track!
- Michael Lallana, CEO of Mila Venture Group, Inc.
What about you? Share your business goals with us and how you plan to keep them.