The Final Stretch: Setting Impactful Goals to Close Out the Year

By Lee Miller

The year is quickly ending, marking an ideal time for business leaders to pause and reflect. As an entrepreneur, you have been grinding day in and day out, building your company. While the daily focus on operations, sales, marketing, and managing your team is critical, the last week of the year presents the perfect opportunity to set goals for the future.

Many entrepreneurs think of yearly goal-setting, but by waiting until January, you miss a valuable window. The end of December is unique because you have current business challenges and wins fresh in your mind that can inform goal setting. Plus, our minds naturally look forward to what comes next when we near the end of a cycle. Harness that momentum to clarify the goals that will drive impact next year.

Here are tips for entrepreneurs to make the most of the final week by setting ambitious yet achievable goals for your business:

Reflect First

Start by looking back at your metrics and KPIs from the past 12+ months and revisiting the trends in your market. What went well that you want to double down on next year? Where are the problem areas or bottlenecks holding you back that need addressing? Use data and honest self-evaluation to diagnose what propelled your successes and the pain points. That clarity will give you insight into the most effective goals to set for the future.

Define Your Big Picture Vision

Especially in a growth-stage business, you often get stuck in the weeds of day-to-day operations. Reconnect with your core vision for where you want the company to go. Get crystal clear on the essential metrics like revenue goals, customer acquisition targets, and team growth. Having this true north vision fuels the specificity of your defined goals so they ladder up to the big picture.

Break Goals Down Into Quarterly Chunks

While having an audacious yearly goal is essential, it also sets you up for disappointment if you fail to achieve it. According to Harvard research, you are 64% more likely to achieve goals when broken into smaller chunks, so define quarterly goals. It enhances accountability to have 3-month segments with metrics to hit instead of solely a 12-month lag time until you see success.

Prioritize Ruthlessly

As high-achieving entrepreneurs, you likely have plenty of ideas and opportunities competing for resources and focus. Resist that temptation. Instead of setting a laundry list of nice-to-have goals, operatively zero in on the 2-3 that will drive the highest business impact. Say no to all the other shiny objects so you can go all in on the goals that ultimately move core metrics. Recognize that more output does not necessarily mean more outcome, so selectively bet on goals with the most significant potential payout.

Communicate Expectations

You set the tone for your team, so align on goals collaboratively. Please ensure everyone has bought into key results you expect to drive collectively in Q1 so they own them. Especially with bold goals, transparency on expectations and progress made together breeds accountability. Ideally, your leadership team participates in the goal-setting process.

You start the new year with momentum by dedicating focused time to define measurable, time-bound goals that align with your growth strategy. As the business leader, approach goal setting as an opportunity to get strategic clarity on what matters most for driving your vision forward. Use the year’s final week as your launching pad to make a significant impact in 2023.