Here’s the type of thing I heard a lot of over the past few weeks:

“Noah, I’m starting to feel a little antsy about the annual ritual of budgeting and setting our goals for this year. 

Of course, we want to hit our growth numbers, but I’m not sure what concrete plans we have in place to get there. We can keep riding the X% growth we’ve had over the past four years, but there’s so much going on in the industry right now that we need to shake things up.” 

We all know what we want, but we don’t always know what specific things we’re going to do to get there or the best course of action to take to achieve our goals. 

Moreover, we often don’t think about how we’re going to measure progress or plan for course corrections along the way. 

As we kick off the new year, there’s a simple strategy that can dramatically improve your chances of success this year. 

You might be looking to increase revenue, create better customer relations, or maximize customer value. 

Whatever your goals or objectives are, this strategy might be the ticket. 

Here are three simple steps as you look ahead to the year ahead of us. Grab a piece of paper and spend 30-60 minutes doing this exercise over the next few days.

Step One: Identify what’s important to you or your company this year.

Step Two: Look back at the past year with an objective and critical eye, giving yourself an honest assessment of how you did and why you didn’t reach the goals that you had set.

Step Three: Ask yourself, what would a realistic action plan look like to ensure you work towards what you want this year and utilize the lessons you learned from looking back in step two.

It’s essential to be specific here. Broad, vague goals are never going to cut it. 

For example, if you say you need to improve customer service this year, what steps are required to make that a reality? 

What got in the way of it happening last year? What will you give up, or do differently, to make it a success this year? 

What does it mean to have improved customer service?

How will you measure it? 

In March, how would you know you’re making progress?

What specific things are you going to do? For example, is it something you’re going to do daily (like outreach to existing clients) or something that happens in response to an outside event (No more than 45 seconds of hold time for clients on the phone)? 

Please don’t be lazy here. If it’s important enough to strive for, it’s important enough to plan for. 

We know how these things go. You’re probably already swamped, and it’s January 3rd. December 31st, 2022, will be here before you know it.

And when we get there, there are always two types of people and companies out there…

There are those saying, “WOW! That was one heck of a year,” and there are those those saying, “Where on earth did the year go?!?!” 

What did you say at the end of this past year?

What do you think you’ll say at the end of this year?