So you just embarked on your small business journey. Congrats! Now, what do you want to accomplish in your first year?
This first year is an important learning phase for you as a business owner. Your goals for your first year of business should be realistic but exciting with plenty of room for growth. Here’s how to set your own goals and start your first year right!
How to Spend Your First Year in Business
When I started my business, I had huge dreams of hitting six figures, selling out my services, and growing my team within my first year. While that’s totally possible for some business owners, that just wasn’t the case for me.
Instead, I spent my first year figuring things out. I’d never run a business before, so every step along the way was new to me. I had to find and convert clients on my own for the first time, set prices for my services, and manage my day-to-day work schedule. I made a lot of mistakes, but each one served as a learning opportunity.
As you embark on your first year as a business owner, keep this in mind. No one knows how to run a business when they get started. Spend your first year…
Improving your time management skills and getting a feel for how much work you can personally handle
Gaining confidence in your skills and services, and slowly raising your prices to a place that feels good
Growing your community of clients and fellow business owners
Other than that, focus on you and your wins. The rest will come in time!
4 Steps to Setting Goals for Your First Year of Business
Ready to get started? Here are four steps to setting goals in your first year of business.
STEP 1: Start with the big picture.
I like to begin every goal setting session with a bit of visualization. Grab a pen and notebook, open up a new Word document, or just sit somewhere quiet and visualize your life a year from now.
Where are you living? What does your space look like? How do you start your day? How do you feel when you sit down to start working? When you’re done working for the day, how do you spend your afternoon or evening?
The better you can visualize the “big picture,” the better you can set goals to get you to that vision.
STEP 2: Set your different types of goals.
As you’re setting goals, it can be helpful to break them down into different categories. Start with these:
How much money do you want to make this year? Set a goal for your personal income, and then calculate how much revenue you’ll need to make to reach that. Remember:
Personal Income = Revenue - Expenses - Tax/Business Savings
Don’t be afraid to aim high, even in your first year! If nothing else, it will push you to sell to more clients and minimize your business expenses.
What do you want to physically gain this year? Maybe you want to invest in a new laptop for your business or treat yourself to a celebratory dinner out. There’s nothing wrong with desiring physical things, so long as those things bring you joy.
How do you want to feel at the end of this year? Maybe you want to feel more confident in your skills or more aligned with your career path. Maybe you want to minimize the work stress in your life with more work-home boundaries. Whatever your emotional goals, try to get them down into words.
Of course, your business goals should get you closer to your personal ones. What do you want for your personal life in the next year? Do you want to take a week-long trip? Only work 4 days a week? Pursue a passion project? Go back to school? Make sure that the goals you’ve set in your business are stepping stones for these bigger personal goals.
STEP 3: Map your year backwards.
Next, backwards-map your first year of business starting with where you want to be at the end of it. Then, identify what you need to get done each month in order to reach those goals.
For example, if one of your goals for your first year or business is to sell your first course, you might need to release the course 11 months in, start marketing 9 months in, and finish creating the course 7 months in. Using that timeline, you can schedule your work months in advance to stay on top of your goals.
STEP 4: Get to work!
Setting goals is easy, but sticking to them is hard. Whenever you feel behind in your business or like you don’t know which direction to turn, consult your goals. Try to do something small every week to get you one step closer to them, even if that just means spending ten minutes brainstorming ideas. Remember, a successful and sustainable business is built through small, intentional actions. Now go get to workin’ towards those goals!
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