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Didn't Hit Your 2023 Goals? Here's Are the Next Steps

Four steps to turn past mistakes into meaningful strides in 2024

As the year winds down, it’s a natural time to reflect on all you’ve accomplished in your business. And while your growth undoubtedly deserves a pat on the back (and even a day off!), it’s just as important to recognize where you fell short of your goals. Whether your progress was hindered by market fluctuations or personal challenges, examining the context of your setbacks can help you set better goals and future-proof your business for 2024.

Any number of factors may have stood in the way of your goals this year. With a post-COVID engagement gap, unprecedented inflation, ongoing staffing shortages, and rapid technological changes, you likely faced circumstances beyond your control. But you may have also struggled with vague benchmarks, poor tracking, internal conflicts, or personal distractions.

So whether your obstacles were self-inflicted or out of your hands, your first step is to accept them as learning opportunities. Viewing setbacks as failures doesn’t serve you, and such a mindset can drain motivation and positivity.

Instead, follow these four steps to turn past mistakes into meaningful strides in 2024.

Revisit your KPIs

In some cases, missed goals signify ineffective measurement rather than poor performance. So, before setting your sights on the future, it’s worth evaluating your process to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and keep you on track. If you don’t have a system to measure progress, now is the time to set one up for future goals.

“A goal is great, a plan is great, but you need to be sure you have a way to measure your success in a specific and measurable way,” confirms Samantha Leenheer of House of Joy.

Jacqueline Vizcaino of Tinted Events Design and Planning agrees, noting that “regular tracking of goals will ensure you stay on track and course-correct in a timely manner.”

KPIs vary by goal, so consider what you want to achieve in 2024 and how you’ll measure success. For instance, if you aim to double profits, you could track total monthly sales, revenue per booking, total monthly expenses, and cost per client. Or, if your goal is to expand your team, your KPIs may include the number of qualified candidates, cost per hire, and source of hire.

Get clear on your goals, determine the metrics that will define success, and create a system to track numbers regularly. Whether it’s a simple spreadsheet or a custom dashboard in your bookkeeping software, find a solution that is easy to update and analyze.

Set attainable goals

Next, take a moment to review your goals to confirm they are within reach. While it can seem motivating to have pie-in-the-sky dreams for your business, unrealistic goals can set you up for disappointment before you even start. 

“You want to reach for the stars, but it also can be discouraging to continually miss goals,” warns Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss. “A goal should be a stretch, but you have to know what is realistic and what is not.”

If you’re unsure what’s in range, Sheils encourages “working with a business or leadership coach to create goals.” Or, if that’s not in the budget, “team up with other like-minded pros, and you can all help each other set goals for the future.”

So, if you didn’t hit your 2023 goals because they weren’t feasible, ease up as you plan for the new year and focus on milestones that are challenging but doable. After all, it’s far more motivating to exceed smaller goals than to fall short of impossible ones!

Schedule recurring reviews

There are plenty of things you can set and forget in business, but goal-setting does not fall into that category. If you let your goals collect dust until the end of the year, you can bet that you will not have made as much progress as you’d hoped!

And with external circumstances influencing your growth, Wendy Kidd of Boss Level Engaged recommends “reviewing sales goals on a quarterly or even monthly basis and re-evaluating based on what is happening in the industry and with staffing.” 

Regular check-ins can “help you to change goals as needed, but also to spot trends and plan for them,” she says. To stay on track, schedule monthly reviews in your calendar to hold yourself accountable and adjust your business strategy as needed.

Level up your infrastructure

Sometimes, the goal isn’t the problem but the bandwidth (or lack thereof) you have to meet it. So, while seeking easily attainable results, you may struggle to reach them if your business foundation isn’t set up for success.

Vijay Goel of Bite Catering Couture urges event pros to “build more capacity for executing higher-order work. Generally, small businesses are constrained by a lack of systems and a lack of capacity for the managers and executives to build new capabilities or scale the business.”

For example, it may seem reasonable to aspire for a 25% increase in annual revenue. But if you can’t take on more clients because you’re bogged down in admin work, or you refuse to raise your prices, that goal will become increasingly harder to achieve.

Take a moment to consider how your business’s infrastructure could be standing in your way. If you are overworked, Sheils suggests “growing a team, integrating software that can automate some of your processes, or outsourcing” to improve operations and position yourself to meet your goals. You may also consider investing in new equipment, raising prices, or restructuring your packages to suit your goals better.

If you fell short of your goals in 2023, use these final months to reflect on your setbacks, learn from your mistakes, and adjust your plan for the new year. While you can’t predict the months ahead, these steps will help you develop an effective strategy for setting, measuring, and refining meaningful goals to move the needle forward in 2024 and beyond.

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.

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