When a new year begins, a lot of people talk about resolutions and goals that they intend to complete before the year ends. However, most people don’t start or complete their goals during the year. Why is this? I believe it’s because people like the idea of goal setting but get overwhelmed with the act of doing them. For example, if my goal for 2016 is to double my income with freelancing, I might talk myself out of it because I don’t know how to get there. This exact situation can be applied to a businesses that has trouble completing goals and building effective teams to get tasks done.

But 2016 doesn’t have to be like previous years with no big results. Through better time management and goal setting, your business can complete tasks on time and promote accountability between team members.

How to Create a Goal Plan and Schedule

One of the biggest reasons why businesses don’t achieve their goals is because they didn’t create a plan for them. They become discouraged when they realize how much it takes to complete a goal and give up. But through proper planning and scheduling, goal setting doesn’t seem so scary.

For example, Tom’s 2016 goal is to increase customer retention for his business. In order for him to not feel overwhelmed and drive off in the wrong direction, he decides to follow these steps to goal planning:

1. Decide and Prioritize Goals

Pick goals that seem achievable and prioritize them based on importance. The most important goal must be completed first because this is the most important issue addressing your business. Failing to do this will most likely set your business back. Yes, goals can be performed simultaneously but don’t forget to finish the most important goal.

Example: Tom’s biggest goal of 2016 is to increase customer retention and loyalty. The second biggest is to improve employee retention and decrease the employee turnover rate. The third is to improve his content marketing strategy.

2. Develop Action Steps and Create Deadlines

Completing goals doesn’t seem so hard if there is an outline or plan to finishing them. Deadlines are helpful because it creates a sense of urgency and allows a date of completion to continue on to another task.

Example: To complete his biggest goal, Tom decides to try a variety of strategies to promote customer loyalty. He focuses on providing great customer service, product education, and a reward system. He implements these strategies over time and spends four months on each. Then he and his employees track the results and effects on his customers. His goal plan looks like this:

business goals table

Pro Tip: The objectives, time spans, and deadlines of your plan are subject to change. Overtime you learn new things and tasks take longer than expected. For every objective or micro goal there can be smaller goals underneath them. Example:

Objective: Search and Hire Customer Service Consultant
● Research and create spreadsheet of potential consultants

○ Include names, years of expertise, price

● Contact and Interview First Consultant
● Contact and Interview Second Consultant
● Contact and Interview Third Consultant
● Decide on Consultant

○ Call them for a quote and choose date to start working together

3. Enforce Accountability

It’s in your business’ best interest to create a system of accountability between employers and employees. Enforced accountability causes people to not slack off and think about their effects on others if they don’t complete a task. Here are three ways to implement accountability:

1. Have each member or teammate complete a task on a deadline and send it to another member for approval of completion.
2. Have each member write down what they did that day and share with others to find out what others have been doing and decide on the next tasks.
3. Partner members up. Each partner will check on the activity of the other and report what they both completed.