Updated: May 18, 2020
The year is halfway over, and not showing any signs of slowing down. If you looked back at the goals you set for your business (or yourself) earlier this year and had a mini meltdown, this blog is for you. Let’s talk about three easy (relatively) steps you can take this week to manage the mid-year panic.
1. Revisit your goals. Are you spinning your wheels trying to reach a business goal that’s no longer relevant? The problem with the “set it and forget it” philosophy that tends to accompany beginning-of-year planning is that being too focused on a set of goals can shut down your innovative capacity. The world in which your business operates may be vastly different than it was 6 months ago. Taking time to evaluate where you are and where you want your business to go is important to make sure you’re investing your energy and resources where they need to go. While planning and goal-setting is important, so is a certain fluidity in managing that throughout the year. Don’t lock yourself into your goals so tightly that you cannot innovate and adapt as needed. Think about the following:
Has your customer base or target audience shifted?
Have any competitors arrived on the scene?
Did you gain/lose staff?
Was there a delay in an important asset/product/process?
Has a certain aspect of your business performed better than another?
Adapting your goals to your business situation is not the same as giving yourself an out. This exercise isn’t designed to let you forgo your ambitions but instead evaluate if your goals align with the reality of where your business is now, halfway through the year. Remain ambitious, remain relentless. Go after what you want with everything you’ve got. Unless what you want isn’t relevant to your business anymore.
2. Assess your resources. Do you have the resources to reach your goals? And if not, what is more realistic for you to address: your goals, or your resources? Let’s say you had every intention of building your social media presence but here it is halfway through the year and you’re still posting sporadically with a random collection of hashtags. Totally understandable, but certainly not helping you reach that goal. So what can you do? You can adapt your goal or increase your resources. In this particular example, maybe you get really granular on what you mean by building your social media presence. (To be honest, that’s not an awesome goal. You’ve got to get specific, with numbers, dates, and a very clear desired outcome.) You re-work your goal to be: consistently spend one hour each Sunday planning out a week’s worth of posts, including image, caption, and hashtags, and use a free tool (check out Hootsuite) to schedule them. You’re not giving up on your goal, but you’ve made it more manageable. The alternative is to improve your resources. Obviously, you can’t clone yourself or magically make the day 30-hours long, but what you can do is reach out to experts for help. “But I can’t afford someone to manage my social media!” You don’t know how much hiring a freelancer or consultant will cost you until you ask for their pricing structure. And you may find out that it’s an investment worth having. Sure, you’ll have to pay upfront for their services but you’ll be earning back time you can invest in other areas of your business. And if you're really stretched thin, talk to them about alternate payment plans. Can you barter your services for theirs? Get a discount for a testimonial or social media plugs?
3. Break it on down. You’ve got six months left. You’ve got goals. You’ve got a whole lotta nothing when it comes to ways to get you to them. Break it down and work backwards. Let’s say you have a goal of increasing the number of bookings for your photography business by X% by December 31. Don’t look at the end and panic. Work backwards and figure out where you need to be at the end of each month in order to make that happen. Do you need 3 more bookings each month? 7? 10? You need to determine that number in order to lay out monthly plans to get you there. Focus on putting in the work required to get to your monthly bookings and you’ll find your year-end goal is completely attainable. Keep in mind, though, that there’s a lot of preparation that goes into those smaller monthly goals. Do you need to up your marketing? Reach out to past clients for referrals? Run a few promotions? Invest in equipment? Simply saying, “I need to do X each month” isn’t going to get you there. What are the actions you need to take? The benefit of working with smaller monthly goals is that you have time to tweak before the end of the year. If something didn’t work as well as you had hoped this month, you know to adjust in the coming months. Check this out for more info on breaking larger goals into more manageable steps.
This isn’t one of those times you want to wish it all away. When December comes, you’re going to want to feel that little spark of pride about what you accomplished. What, even just a few short months ago, seemed so unrealistic.