3 Steps to Planning (and Achieving) Big Business Success in 2024

With a new year comes a fresh opportunity to make dope ish happen. What's a better way to kick off 2024 than by preparing for some big business goals? Now is the time to start planning for success.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set and achieve your business goals in the new year:

1. Select a single business goal to focus on.

While seemingly surprisingly simple, this may be the most important step yet. Select just one goal to focus on at a time so that you’re able to focus on creating an executable plan, reject the temptation to overcommit yourself, and ultimately increase your chances of seeing success by this time next year.

And even with a one-plan-at-a-time kid of plan, commit to no more than three for a year. Remember, these are big plans with a lot of smaller action steps inside. Trying to accomplish too many things at once will only lead to burnout, frustration and ultimately, failure. So take a few minutes to sit down and think about what you would really like to achieve in the next year. Once you have your goal, write it down somewhere where you’ll see it every day as a reminder of what you’re working towards.

There are a lot of hefty goals you can plan for. A few examples of fantastic business goals include:

  • Increasing sales by X%

  • Expanding your customer base

  • Get more organized to reduce X process by Y%

  • Launching a new product or service

  • Entering into a new market

  • Improving customer satisfaction ratings

Pick something that aligns to your larger objective and/or mission, gets you excited, and can be objectively measured. Having an objective and measurable goal will help on the days when you’re exhausted and can’t feel the progress. On these days – math will be your most enlightening friend.

2. Define milestones for your goal.

Now that you have your big goal selected, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to achieve it. Begin by breaking your goal down into smaller, more manageable milestones that you can complete along the way. Having specific milestones will help keep you on track and motivated as you work towards achieving your overall goal.

An important note: your milestones are not tasks. Milestones are major benchmarks on your way to success, not day-to-day tasks. For example, if your goal is to increase sales by 10%, one of your milestones could be developing a new marketing campaign by a certain date.

Here are four generic milestones that can help guide any new plan milestone development:

  1. Plan Accepted

  2. Build Complete

  3. Validation Complete

  4. Launch Complete

These don’t have to be your milestones, and they may not even apply to your goal, but perhaps they’ll help you in your planning. Another helpful way to think about milestones could be one of the following two ways:

(a) How do you know this goal/project/initiative will be 25%, 50%, and 75% complete?

(b) What are big events that need to happen in order to get other parts moving?

You got options here.

3. Plan your year accordingly.

The next step is to sit down and map our your milestones throughout the year. Grab a calendar and make space to plan out your year to make sure all of your bases are covered. This means taking into account some of the following things like:

  • Product development or supply chain timelines - do you need a specific material to create more products, a professional with a certain skillset, or a resource in order to make ish happen? If so, how long will that take?

  • Resource restrictions and seasonal cycles is cashflow usually low before the holiday season or does your team have some extra time to work on non-time-sensitive projects in the summer? Let’s plan for that.

  • Order of operations - is one action dependent on another one happening beforehand? The best time to identify any dependencies is now. Otherwise, you’ll risk needing the nail when you already have the hammer.

After you have all of this information mapped out, you can start filling in the steps necessary to achieve each milestone and complete your goal. These will be your tasks. Plan thoughtfully, but know that Murphy’s law is real and there’s just some things that you can’t account for. Be sure to build in some flexibility so that you can adjust your plan as needed throughout the year. Planning for the unplanned makes the unplanned plan-able. (Try saying that six times?)

And just like that, you planned out your whole year. Not too terrible, right?

Once all of your planning is complete, now comes the hard part—actually putting your plan into action. This means staying focused and committed even when things get tough (which they inevitably will at some point). One way to stay accountable is by enlisting the help of a friend or colleague who can act as a sounding board whenever you need someone to give you that extra push. You can also try setting up monthly (preferred) or quarterly check-ins with yourself and/or your team to reflect on your progress and make any necessary adjustments to keep your business on track. For bigger org-wide initiatives, building a task force may be a better route. Remember, the only way to achieve success is by taking consistent action towards your goal—so don’t give up.

If you’re ready to start crushing those business goals, then follow these simple steps to set your business up for success in 2024 (and beyond). Happy planning!