How you set your goals will determine how successful you are in accomplishing them. If you fail to set your goals properly you run the risk of not succeeding.
The first step is to take a snapshot of where your business is today. Be honest about how your business performed over the last year. What worked and what needs improvement? Write down your results and a short summary of your accomplishments and struggles.
Now that you know where you are, focus on three or four major accomplishments that you would like to achieve in the next year. Write down real, specific, actionable numbers. It is more effective to set a goal of getting "32 new clients" instead of getting "more clients than last year."
How high you set your goals is important. It is okay to aim high, just keep it within reach.
Then on a piece of paper, write your big goals on the bottom of the page in separate columns. Going one goal at a time, write from the bottom up in each column the steps it will take to accomplish each goal. Once you reach the top of the paper you should have a list of all the steps it will take to accomplish each goal.
The best way to think about this process is asking what "next step" would be required to get one step closer. For example, if your goal is 32 new clients, and you do not have a computer system to track prospects, your first step might be getting that system at your office to track your activity. This would need to happen before you picked up a phone and called anyone and before you created a new promotion. Drill down as best you can.
Once armed with the information about the specific next steps you need to take, from the top of your page down, set timelines for when you wish to accomplish these individual steps. If you get to the end goal and your timeline adds up to three years you need to adjust your next year goal.
The final tip to moving your goals forward is to take the first three next steps and write them on a post-it note. Take that note and put it on your computer or somewhere you will see it everyday. When you accomplish the first step on the list, take down the post-it and replace it with the next three steps. Check back with your master list once a month and watch your progress. Before you know it you will be well on your way to accomplishing your goals for 2013.
Jabez LeBret is the author of the Amazon No. 1 bestselling law office marketing book How to Turn Clicks Into Clients. As a partner at Get Noticed Get Found, a legal marketing agency, over the last nine years he has delivered over 800 keynote addresses in six countries. His main area of expertise is managing Gen Y in the workplace, advanced Facebook strategies, LinkedIn strategies, Google+, SEO, local directory optimization, and online marketing.