Running a small business is full of challenges. No matter how long your journey in wholesale, here’s a friendly reminder that planning for the future is the best way to anticipate and avoid roadblocks. Making actionable yet realistic goals helps you push your business forward. We know the idea of creating a plan—whether it’s a list of next week’s goals or a five-year plan—is overwhelming, so we gathered four must-follow tips to bring your goals of all sizes within reach. Here, how to create a roadmap for your creative process.
Make goals SMART.
If you want to see your goals through to the end, it’s important to check-in with yourself to ensure that you’re on the right path. It’s up to you to measure success. And it’s much easier to measure actionable goals—in other words, goals that produce tangible results. Especially with the creative process, which is different for every maker, it can feel strange to put any guidelines together. We recommend trying the SMART goals model: create long and short-term goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Goals that check all five of these boxes are more likely to be successful, and therefore, time well spent for you and your business.
Write goals down.
You know how it goes: if you don’t write it down, it doesn’t happen. This is even more true in your business. If you want to dedicate more time to creating content for your website, start with a written plan of attack, complete with action items. You want to develop a new ceramic serving bowl for your 2020 catalog? Put your ideas to paper and track the progress of the design. You may also consider blocking time on your calendar for uninterrupted brainstorming. Once your goals are fully formed in writing, you can get started on the steps to completion.
Create deadlines for mini milestones.
Tackling long-term creative goals can feel like running toward a finish line that is years away (and perhaps it is). Once you identify your goal, create smaller milestones that inspire you to keep going. If you’re looking to create 20 new products next year, consider setting four incremental goals: five new products designed, then 10, 15, and finally 20. Be thoughtful about creating deadlines for each milestone so you’re accountable for completing them. While it may feel like creativity can’t be scheduled, implementing deadlines specific to the needs of your business will help set you up for success. Some research even indicates the “uncreative” nature of planning can help you produce better work.
Share goals with partners and staff.
When we aren’t transparent about the goals we’re working to achieve, people in our lives can’t be there to support us. Creative goals are the backbone of your genius, but they also require a lot of discipline, time, and attention. How do you avoid cutting corners? Share your goals with your colleagues. Not only does sharing goals with your business partners and staff keep you accountable, but it will inspire them to create their own goals. Your big-picture goals also help employees realize where they fit in, and what they can do to further the company’s success. That means everyone—no matter the position—will feel like they’re a part of something bigger and therefore, earn their keep by working hard. Win-win.