As a business owner, there’s no doubt that 2012 began long before the ball dropped or the calendar turned.  If you had planned to survive and succeed in the New Year, you did just that—planned for it. This year is hours from closing, but you’ve likely already set your new 2012 budget, assessed the last one, and have begun mapping out the next 12-month stretch for your business.  Will you be hiring?  Losing key employees to retirement?  Facing an expansion or closing?  Perhaps a structural realignment?

Basing your objectives for 2012 on the successes, challenges and changes brought about in 2011 is a good thing.  These are indicators of what has worked and what needs work for the future.  The New Year should be, however, new.

While not everyone likes or participates in the ritual of making resolutions, there are few business owners who will disagree with the practice of goal setting—on both administrative and personal levels.

A coach I once had made each player set personal goals at the start of each season and even before each game.  To simply say “my goal is to win” was not acceptable—to him that went without saying.  Success, you see, was not an option or something we might do if put down on paper—it was understood.  He wanted us to strive for the little things that would collectively and ultimately lead us to that title.  If we all focused on our part, we were much more likely to succeed as a whole (so went his theory).  Time and again, we won games, swept tournaments, and were recognized as all-conference individuals alongside our honors as a team.  We were motivated individuals who, when focused on achieving personally, were more aligned to succeed as a unit.

This same theory can be applied to business.  If each employee sets personal goals within the larger framework of the company’s mission, there is a greater chance that the company as a whole will prosper.

You might be familiar with the SMART theory of goal setting.  This theory asserts that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.  The graphic below briefly explains and helps to cross-check each of the tenants to the SMART theory.



Have you put as much effort into planning for 2012 as you did in closing out 2011? What goals can you set as a business owner to make sure that the coming year is a prosperous one? Will you start by setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals for the organization?  How will you motivate your employees to buy-in to those goals?  Will they be required to set some of their own?

January beckons us all to reflect and to plan ahead.  So, no matter where you hope to take your business in 2012, we wish you a year filled with success, prosperity, and achievement—how you measure it will be up to you!


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