By Violet Lim, CEO and Co-Founder at Lunch Actually Group. A version of this article originally appeared on Violet’s LinkedIn blog. Violet is a member of EO…
Written for EO by entrepreneur and philanthropist David Disiere.
It happens in an instant. The clock strikes midnight on 31 December, and every store seems awash with self-help books, diet plans, and exercise equipment. Despite this flurry of activity, about 80 percent of people abandon their new year’s resolutions by the second week of February.
Plenty of accomplished CEOs and business leaders have joined the fray of people who create new year’s resolutions. Mark Zuckerberg, for example, has been making his goals public since 2009. While he generally has focused on personal resolutions like learning languages or networking, this year he vowed to resolve problems with people abusing Facebook.
And he’s not the only executive to use new year’s as a catalyst to improve his business. John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft, decided to work as a driver to get a better idea of how his company is doing; meanwhile, Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert has focused on carving out time for self-care.
As 2018 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on ways you can improve your business in the new year. You might spend time refining clunky processes, adding new products or service lines, or updating your team’s dated practices. Resolutions are about reflection—but following through on them will make them truly valuble.
Set It and Commit to It
For many entrepreneurs, January means a new budget and the opportunity to evaluate last year’s achievements while setting forth new goals.
This is often easier said than done. Begin by observing how the market is doing—and how your business is performing—before you even create your goals. Once you have set big-picture goals, craft strategies that will help you achieve those goals.
When your strategies are simple, success doesn’t have to be hard. As you plan for the year ahead, use the following tactics to stick to your ambitious, yet achievable, goals:
1. Create SMART goals.Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. In other words, a goal like “make a profit” will not do you a lot of good. Go with something more like “make X amount of money by X date.”
Do not make your goals too lofty. If you only made $1 million in revenue this past year, your goal should not be to bring in $200 million. Your SMART goal should be something you can achieve. It also needs to be pertinent to your business. Not worried about revenue? Then, it should not be your main resolution. It is good to have goals, but they should all have a purpose.
2. Break your goal down into smaller chunks. If you only focus on the final result, you are sure to feel overwhelmed (and probably get nothing done). Create smaller tasks from your overarching goal, and give yourself 30 to 90 days to complete each task.
Imagine you want to introduce a new procedure to your entire team. Instead of doing it all at once, start by breaking it into smaller items. Your first task might be talking with other business leaders who use that procedure. Gather all of your notes within 30 days. Once you have finished that step, find a few team members who might be able to pilot that procedure within the next 30 days. In as little as 60 days, you can have a small experiment going to see whether your goal will benefit the company. A few small tasks later, and your massive goal is done. Before you know it, you have helped your entire company do something brand-new.
3. Take advantage of your available resources. To encourage yourself to change, you need the proper resources. Big changes might seem simple on the surface, but that is not always the case. By underselling the challenge ahead of you, you are giving yourself false hope. Be realistic about the barriers you will need to overcome, and then pile on the right resources to clear them.
This not only involves reaching out to people in your network who might have achieved the same goal you seek, but it also means establishing ways to track and reward yourself. Look into apps that will give you support, talk to friends and family so they can hold you accountable, and keep your employees in the loop.
4. Write down your goals. In 2015, researchers at Dominican University of California studied the effects of setting goals and working to achieve those goals. They found that people who wrote down their goals and shared them with friends were far more likely to follow through. The physical act of writing them on a sheet of paper can help ensure your success in the coming year, so take a few minutes today to jot them down on paper.
The new year is an excellent opportunity to reflect on your company’s successes and failures. That said, you should not beat yourself up over misses. Hiccups in your goals are nothing to fear. The true lesson of a new year’s resolution is assessing your missteps and turning them into opportunities to do better next time.
David Disiere is the founder and CEO of QEO Insurance Group, an agency that provides commercial transportation insurance to clients throughout the U.S. He is a successful entrepreneur who has launched business endeavors in the real estate, oil and gas, agriculture, and automotive sectors. David is passionate about philanthropy, and he works to help underprivileged children through the David & Teresa Disiere Foundation.