It’s so easy to get sucked into the day-to-day tasks of running a business and completely lose sight of your big picture goals but it doesn’t have to be that way. This year give yourself the gift of clarity with a simple 4 step system to set and achieve your business goals.

Step 1: Set clear intentions

First and foremost, it’s really important to make sure you’re building a business that not only makes you money but also feels good, one that you’re excited to work on and talk about. So the very first step to take is to spend a little time, even if it’s just 30 minutes, setting some intentions for what you want to see in your business over the next year.

That process can be as simple as asking yourself some baseline questions to better understand how you felt about your business over the last 12 months:

  • What worked?
  • What didn’t?
  • What do you never want to do again?
  • What did you love doing that you want to do more of in 2022?

It’s also important to ask yourself what your ultimate goal is with your business:

  • Do you see yourself building a small business that’s completely contained inside your home?
  • Do you see yourself building a business that employs other people in your community?
  • Are you hoping to eventually own a warehouse or a storefront?

Taking a little time upfront to review where you’re at and where you want to go will make it so much easier to set goals you’ll actually want to achieve.

Step 2: Brainstorm potential goals

Take some time to write down all of the goals and dreams you have for your business (let your intentions be your guide if you’re feeling stuck.) At this stage, no goal is too big or too small – write down anything that comes to mind.

You may end up with a list of 20 possibilities or you may have 4. There’s no right or wrong number to start with so trust your gut and try not to censor yourself as you brainstorm.

Once you have a full list of possible focus areas, it’s time to narrow down to your top 3 goals. To help you find the right focus areas, refer back to the intentions you set in Step 1 and make sure each of your potential goals is aligned with where you want to take your business in the coming year.

Find a mismatch between a potential goal and your intentions? Cross it off the list and keep going.

If you’re struggling to settle on your top 3, a good rule of thumb is to make sure you have one in each of the following categories:

  • Sales target/growth goal
  • Audience growth
  • Community building

Note: depending on the season and maturity level of your business you may focus on either audience growth or community building.

Step 3: Review your goals to make sure they meet 5 key criteria

Once you’ve narrowed your list of goals down to your top 3 (at most), it’s time to review and refine them to make sure each one is:

  1. Narrow: each goal should be focused on one clear objective and one platform/source (if applicable.)
  2. Strategic: focused on one clear strategy, not the tactics you’ll use to get there.
  3. Measurable: there needs to be a firm number and/or a specific date that tells you when you’ve officially hit your goal.
  4. Resources are available: you need to be able to access the time, money, or talent required to complete the goal.
  5. Based in fact: each goal needs to take into account your current and planned capacity (time, money, talent) and something you can realistically achieve in 12 months or less (e.g., if you’ve never built a business before and don’t have investors or mentors backing you, it’s unlikely you’ll grow from $0 to 7-figures in just 12 months but 6-figures could be a definite possibility.)

Step 4: Create action plans

Last but not least, for each of your goals you need to create a clear action plan. This is where you get to dive into the nitty-gritty tactical details. If your goals follow the 5 criteria listed above, it should be relatively easy to lay out a clear, step-by-step plan to achieve each goal.

If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend breaking each goal down into 3 separate projects or phases depending on what you’re working on. From there you can list out the steps to bring each project or phase to life.

Once you have your action plans laid out, you now have a clear roadmap to follow to make sure you stay on track to hit your goals (and to help you stay focused on the big picture even on days when you’re knee-deep in tasks.)