It’s never too late to set meaningful goals, so rest assured that you aren’t behind the curve if you’re still considering where to take your event business in 2023. With goals, timing is important—but not as much as direction. What will put you on the right trajectory toward your long-term ambitions? How will you measure progress? As long as you’re on the right path, you can accomplish anything with time.
Finding clarity in your goals is an exercise in self-reflection, but it also requires an honest assessment of your business’s (and your team’s) strengths and weaknesses. What makes sense for your company must also make sense for your personal life—and vice versa.
So how do you pinpoint the goals that will most benefit you, your business, and its stakeholders? Keep reading to learn what it really means to reach for the “right” goals.
Revisit past wins and losses
As Confucius once said, “study the past if you would define the future.” While such wisdom is often applied on a macro level, it’s just as meaningful for event pros who want to design the future of their businesses.
Sandy Brooks of Timeless Event Planning confirms as much, noting that “when setting goals for the new year, you will want to look at the previous year and see what you need to improve and set realistic goals along with some reach. For example, you will want to take a look at your income and see where you would have been able to make a little more profit if you did something different such as adding an offering.”
Before looking ahead, turn your focus toward past efforts to evaluate results and make educated decisions for the future.
Consult with your inner circle
Whether you’re a solopreneur or leading a sizable team, you’re not alone in your business. From employees and contractors to customers and family members, your decisions influence everyone in your orbit—so it’s wise (and respectful) to pull them into the conversation.
“When setting 2023 business goals, it is important to bring together the key players in your team and have an open dialogue about the direction your business could go,” assures Katie Mast of Rock Paper Coin. “Every role brings valuable skill sets–so you can create an inclusive environment that fosters trust and encourages creative problem-solving.”
Jaclyn Watson of Jaclyn Watson Events agrees, adding a reminder to “consider the needs and goals of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, and shareholders.” And while following one’s intuition is always wise, Watson encourages event pros to “use data and benchmarks to set realistic targets and measure progress.” After all, numbers don’t lie!
So while you may have grand ideas and exciting goals brewing in your head, don’t forget to set aside time to share them with those who can help you achieve them!
Think outside the entrepreneurial box
When you run a business, it’s easy to get stuck in the habit of striving for more. More sales, more clients, more team members—while such goals are undoubtedly ambitious, experienced entrepreneurs are quick to caution against prioritizing growth before balance.
“As small business owners, we are our business, and our business is us,” reminds Juls Sharpley of Juls Sharpley Events. “So I think the best approach is to consider your business goals fitting into your overall life goals. We are complete people, and our businesses are just one aspect of us. I like to set goals for my business by starting with my goals for my personal life and then figuring out how to set goals for the business that support my goals.”
To break free from business-first goal-setting, Wendy Kidd of Each & Every Detail encourages event pros to “reach beyond just setting a sales goal.” Sharing from experience, she suggests asking, “‘what can we do to better ourselves?’ Maybe it's taking advantage of education, implementing new methods, or improving our work environment so our team can work better and more efficiently.”
Kidd adds an important reminder to “look at everything from a big and small perspective. It doesn't have to be a big task to make a large improvement.”
And when all else fails, start your goal-setting process with joy.
“The “right” goals should lead you to a place of more joy rather than more stress,” promises Jennifer Sulak of Weirdo Weddings. “Take the time to assess your realistic ‘joy’ levels with what you are doing in your business. One of the most challenging things we can do as business owners is to let things go in a timely manner instead of holding onto things for sentimental reasons or over-emotional ties.”
If what you do no longer brings joy as it once did, it may be a sign to shape your goals around a transition. For example, you might consider pivoting to a product-based business model if being a service provider led you to burnout. Or your goals may involve hiring to fill the areas you don’t enjoy. Spend some time soul-searching, and see how your findings may influence your business’s direction in years to come.
With that said, don’t tie yourself to goals simply because it’s what you think is expected. Life changes, so allow your plans to change accordingly! There’s nothing wrong with redirection, even if you’ve spent years working towards a particular goal that no longer feels like a fit.
“Your goals will not look the same from year to year and may not look the same as your colleagues,” reminds Samantha Leenheer of Samantha Joy Events. “However, you have your path and journey, so keep your goals specific to your business!”
So as you plan the future of your business, remember that the only “right” goals are those that align with your personal ambitions and fill you with excitement. Whether it’s increasing your take-home salary (finally!), entering a new market, or hiring a coach to help you scale, listen to your gut—and your business data—and trust that your definition of success matters most.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.
You can see Meghan in-person at Catersource + The Special Event, taking place March 27–30 in Orlando, FL during the following sessions:
- Social Proof: Understanding it, Earning it + Leveraging it in the Event Industr
Wednesday, March 29 at 2:30 p.m.
- What Veteran Marketers Want You Know, But Are Too Polite to Say
Tuesday, March 28 at 1:15 p.m.
For more information, click here.