THE BLOG
12/31/2014 02:50 pm ET Updated Mar 02, 2015

How to Develop Your 2015 Small Business Goals

Developing goals for the new year is always something good to do.  However, there are plenty of people out there who believe it is not a productive use of time. It's probably because they do not develop smart goals that they can actually accomplish. Below are a few helpful tips for you to consider for picking, and more importantly, achieving your 2015 small business goals!

Be Really Specific

Saying you want to "grow your business" next year is too vague. What does growth look like? Hiring new employees? Increasing sales by a penny? You want your goals to be as detailed as possible. Say how you want to grow it. Quantify how much you want to increase sales. The more specific you are, the better you can measure results.

If you can use numbers in your resolution, do so. If you want to increase sales, include what this year's sales were so you can easily compare. For example:

"I want to take our annual sales from $500,000 to $750,000 by the end of December 2015."

When it's time to analyze how successful you were with your resolutions (more on that in a minute) you can easily look at your benchmark ($500,000) and compare it to where you landed at year-end.

Take Action

Resolutions aren't going to resolve themselves! They need your help, as well as the aid of your staff. For every goal you set, make a list of actions that need to take place in order to reach the objective. If your goal is to increase sales from $500k to $750k, your actions might be:
  • Hire two new salespeople
  • Expand sales area into 3 surrounding towns
  • Launch new product by March
  • Increase prices by 3% by May
Each of these tasks should be assigned to someone on your team, and given a deadline. This way, you can ensure that that person stays on top of the assignment and keeps you on track to achieving your resolutions.

Review at Year-End

In a year, look at those resolutions again and assess which you can check off your list and which you didn't. Pay attention to those you didn't achieve. What were the reasons? Did your team handle all the necessary tasks? Did your business shift focus? Use this information to guide you in creating next year's resolutions.

Shoot for the Stars, but Aim for the Moon

Here's a great quote from Confucius:

"If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it's OK. But you've got to shoot for something. A lot of people don't even shoot."

I agree completely. You've got to aim for something in order to move your business to the next level. However, don't expect the stars every time. Remember those 10 pounds you've vowed to lose every New Year? Your goal may be too lofty, which makes you feel like resolutions are bunk.

Do aim high, but within reason. If you set a goal of adding 500 new clients in 2015 when you only added 10 in 2014, you may be shooting too high. Find a number that's more realistic -- and yet still challenging -- so that when you exceed that goal, you feel good.

Pay attention to the progress of your goals throughout the year. Do whatever you can to move each one forward so that you will accomplish them all.

In honor of the launch of my newest book, I'm offering a special, where you can get some helpful free extras with your purchase of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, 2nd Edition. This deal ends on January 10, 2015; so grab a copy by clicking here before time runs out.

This article was originally published under the title How to Set Your Small Business Resolutions for 2015 at www.succeedasyourownboss.com

Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady  is America's #1 small business expert. She is an author, speaker and small business coach whose areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. She writes a weekly column for the New York Times, publishes a resource blog,  www.succeedasyourownboss.com which is syndicated through the Huffington Post. She also hosts a weekly talk show on Twitter called #SmallBizChat for small business owners. As a brand, she reaches 1.5 million entrepreneurs a week on the internet. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. Forbes Magazine named Melinda Emerson one of the #1 Woman for Entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. Melinda has been featured on MSNBC, Fox News, NBC Nightly News, and in Fortune, The Washington Post, USA TodayWall Street Journal and Black Enterprise. She is the bestselling author of "Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works," and the ebook How to Become a Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.