Before you launch into setting goals in your enthusiasm for the New Year, have a think about who you are as a business; what you and your team represent to the market; how the business is currently performing; and, once goals are agreed, how you are going to demonstrate your commitment to actioning your goals in 2020.
# 1 Be clear on your purpose – your vision, your why and your values

Your vision

Simply put, if you don’t know what your business vision is and where you are headed – how would your clients/customers and team know where you are going?  Whilst you may think that in your head everything is moving in the right direction – it may be that without exceptional communication, very few others know where you are headed.

If your team and customers don’t know what you represent, how you make a difference and how you stand apart in the market – how can you fully realise your vision?

A vision is your aspirational goal, the future for your business – it isn’t about making a certain dollar figure – a vision needs to resonate with your team and telling them that they need to generate $x million for the shareholders does not make people want to jump out of bed in the morning.  Your team need to know that what they do contributes to something meaningful.

Your why

You have probably seen and/or heard of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle – and if you haven’t, I highly recommend that you watch this video.

Essentially, Sinek says that people do business with you because of ‘why’ you do what you do – not because of what you actually do.  If people feel a connection beyond the product or service, they are more likely to want to do business with you.

One of my clients saves girls from sex slavery and his business serves to facilitate this, such a noble cause.  Whilst many of us can only wish to emulate what my client does, thinking bigger than ourselves and really showing customers, that as well as making their lives easier with what we do, we are thinking beyond the dollars and the benefits and features of our offering and doing something meaningful, will set us apart.

Your values

This is about the ‘way we do things around here.’  Now, I am an advocate of having house rules that set out expectations to teams and reduce the time managers spend on enforcing these, however, my utopia would be everyone just living the values.  By this I mean that the values serve as guidelines to support behaviours that we want in our businesses.

In our business, we have what I believe are pretty awesome ‘pacts.’  These are our values and I honestly feel that if people live by these, they can’t go far wrong.  We have made these pacts part of what we do, how we recruit and the questions we ask candidates, they are interwoven into our induction and appraisal processes, we reward those that live the pacts… and yes, we even have them on our office wall.

# 2 Undertake a business review

When setting goals it helps to know where you are now and where you want to get to, with real consideration to what is going on around you.

Current reality and intended future

I love confidence and passion but as a realist I often need to help clients get clear on where they are and where they can ‘realistically’ get to.  Often the business owner that wants to sell for $20 million in a year with a stagnant business and a turnover of $3 million and EBIT of $50k … is very unlikely to achieve their desired outcome – this result takes planning and defined action.

Look at your current performance, know how you are tracking in all aspects of the business and then map out how you intend to bridge the gap to realise your aspirations.  Undertake a SWOT of the business – what strengths can you build on and leverage and what weaknesses can you transform to assets? What is happening in the market that could help or hinder you – politically, economically, socially, technologically, environmentally or legislatively?

What is it that your target market want, need and value?  How do you know this to be true – have you undertaken any customer insights research?

Have you checked what is happening with competitors and the wider market?  What often surprises me is business owners that claim they want to grow, yet don’t keep up with the trends, don’t remain competitive and ahead of the curve and minimise investment … and then blame the economy or a political party when they haven’t grown.  Stay relevant – stay necessary – stay connected.

Our free business health check gives you a clear idea on how your business is tracking and provides recommendations to address concerns. How are you tracking?

# 3 Commitment to the ‘how’

This is where the rubber hits the road.  You know where you are going, your team are on board with the vision and how they fit in to the big picture.  You know how you are placed in the market, what your offering is and who you want to buy it.  Now, it is about determining the actions that if performed, will enable you to realise you vision and goals.

Build your roadmap – your strategic plan containing your high-level outcomes. My recommendation here is don’t over complicate it – ideally get it on one page.  With your core goals identified, then ask yourself what needs to happen with your people, sales, marketing, operational processes/systems and finances to make the goals a reality. Then, ensure you agree who is accountable for delivering and have dates in place for milestones and completion of activities.

You’ll find a template for your one-year road map here.

Staying on track & accountable

Finally, review your business plan regularly – make your one page plan your screen saver; put it on the lunch room noticeboard; review your performance against your plan every month as a minimum and report on it to the team so they know how they are progressing; and, have everyone working towards the goals.

We manage our business goals and actions using our Business Growth Dashboard.  This provides a monthly benchmark of how we are tracking, how we are progressing and who is accountable.  To try our Dashboard for one free month, just complete our Business Health Check and we will be in touch.


Sharn Rayner, Managing Partner – Business Advisory  I   027 226 8104

AdviceFirst is a Financial Advice Provider (FSP23242).