The lazy Kiwi's guide to goal-setting for 2018


What is your business going to achieve this year? You know you should set goals and follow them through. Ideally, you’re supposed to set SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. But that can feel like an onerous task all on its own – one that keeps slipping to the bottom of the to-do list. Having several major goals can also be daunting; where do you start? If you can’t get started, you’ll never get finished.

Sometimes, you can set a really simple goal that will still be inspiring. We believe that most Kiwi business owners don’t set annual goals beyond their usual monthly KPIs, and plenty don’t set those. If you fall into that category, what about a mini goal? We think every Kiwi business owner can set a mini goal that can help you stay on track, keep focused and improve your performance in 2018.

Here are some of the simple goals our clients have set that they’ve told us have actually worked for them:

  • "Have a record month this year” – the client who set this goal ultimately had two months in 2017 that were 10% better than any single month she’d had in 2016.
  • “Get rid of that problem customer” – sounds negative, we know, but we’ve recently had a client who had been dealing with a nightmare customer for years, afraid to give up the regular sales. But as soon as the customer was gone, the client was so much less stressed out that he immediately made up the missing profits in new work. And he continues to feel less stressed because that difficult customer isn’t his problem any more.
  • “Find a cheaper/easier/faster way to do that annoying job” – this can be technology, outsourcing or just being more efficient. One of our clients decided in 2016, with a hint from us, that he was finally ditching paper invoices. Straight onto Xero, emailed invoices, his customers are happy and he’s saving his business at least $200 each month.
  • “Get the right advice” – so many small New Zealand businesses are run by people who seem allergic to getting in an expert on tricky topics. Last year one big client employed a freelance technical writer to work on their bids and it was both cheaper and easier than they could have imagined. They got more work, took a load of stress off their people and streamlined their whole bid-writing process. Win.

Don’t forget that a goal is usually just a tool to point you in the right direction. There are other ways to do that, too, including talking to one of the team at SME to figure out what’s important in your business – and your life.