Time to Set 2024 Goals!

It's that time of year again! Time to review how your business performed in 2023 and to look ahead to the new year. I love to set goals and to plan a strategy for my business, and over the next few weeks I'm going to give you a LOT of information to help you do just that! This week we'll talk about the actual PROCESS of setting goals and the smartest way to think about what your goals should be. Later in the month, we'll talk about revenue streams, we'll review where the design business has been this year, and we'll talk about some things that I think will impact the design business in 2024. I want to help set you up for the BEST 12 months possible! So let's get started - here's how to start thinking about goal setting for 2024!

1. Look Up and Out

First, don't set your goals in a vacuum. Pay close attention to what economists and futurists are saying about 2024. That doesn't mean that anyone exactly knows what's coming, but you want to be as educated as possible about what trends could impact your business. Setting goals that have no basis in reality won't help you or your business, so be sure you have some idea of what could impact the design business next year (more on that in an upcoming post!). There’s a lot that can happen and a lot that’s hard to anticipate or predict, but keep yourself up to date on what is happening out in the wider business world. Generally, an election year is not a great year for consumer spending, and next year may be tougher than usual with high interest rates and other economic concerns. So 2024 would be a good year to really focus on cash flow!

2. Review Where You Are

Of course a goal-setting process should ALWAYS include a review of where you are and how the LAST 12 months have been. Many designers have seen a sharp drop in business in the last month or so, so will that continue into 2024? Or have you had an amazing blockbuster year and you're still going strong? This is the time to review where you may have weak points in your company and what you need to do to improve. Think about staffing, processes, marketing, and more. Make the most of this review to include improvements and changes in your list of goals!

3. Long and Short

Since there is already so much uncertainty about 2024's economic outlook, I suggest that this year you should set only one or two long-term or BIG goals, and lots of smaller ones. Most businesses are avoiding those high-stakes goals that require a lot of time, money, and staff, so think about goals that are attainable and are still a bit of a reach. You may want to set a big goal to hit a certain revenue number, or to explore new revenue streams. But then set a series of smaller goals that can be reviewed in three to six months. Since next year is predicted to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride, you can always change or adjust ANY of your goals, too. Set attainable and clear goals to put you on the path for a smarter and more buttoned-up company in 2024.

4. Schedule More Review

Again, if 2024 is going to be a bit of a bumpy ride, you want to schedule a LOT more review. One great thing about a smaller business is that it is easier for you to turn the ship around if something isn't working - or if there's an iceberg ahead! Put review meetings on your calendar for at LEAST once a quarter. Use that time to look at your goal list and to adjust as needed. If things are going great, you may want to set MORE stretch goals! And if things are slow or bumpy, you can look at more marketing goals or ways to tighten up your spending. The key to 2024 will be to stay on top of business and economic trends and to be ready to adjust as needed!

For more great tips on how to get started on this process, download my Guide to Annual Goal Setting! It will help you set SMART goals for 2024!

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