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4 mistakes entrepreneurs make when setting goals for the new year

Setting specific monthly goals will help you get more done than lofty annual goals.

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  • Jen Glantz is an entrepreneur and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire.
  • In seven years as a founder, Glantz says she’s learned the dos and don’ts of setting annual goals.
  • Not reflecting on the past year, thinking too big, and ignoring industry trends will hold you back.

As a solopreneur, the end of the year makes me feel nostalgic for the days when I worked a full-time corporate job and received an annual review.

I’m someone who craves feedback, appreciates year-long goals, and likes to track progress. When you start your own company and become your own boss, recapping the past year and planning for the year ahead falls only on your to-do list.

Jen Glantz.JPGSeven years ago, Jen Glantz took the idea of being a bridesmaid for strangers and made it a reality.

Jen Glantz

That’s why I’m spending the final weeks of 2021 taking inventory of the past 12 months as well as setting goals for 2022. I’ve been doing this for the past seven years, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized there’s a strategy to goal-setting for the new year.

To do so properly, it’s important to avoid these mistakes that can be common among entrepreneurs. 

1. Forgetting to take inventory

Before deciding what milestones I want to hit in the new year, the very first thing I do is take inventory of the past year. 

I start off by going through each month and writing down wins and losses. I write down proud moments, successful projects, and positive lessons learned. After that, I take note of situations I didn’t handle well, business goals I fell short of meeting, and opportunities I missed out on that I should have pursued. 

Doing this allows me to have clarity on what worked in 2021 and what didn’t — and how that can be applied to the new year.

2. Ignoring current and projected trends 

Setting goals for a new year doesn’t just involve your bottom line and plans for scaling the business. Your goals have to incorporate industry trends that are projected for the year ahead so you can capture the attention of your audience and move your business forward. 

I spend a few weeks reading news articles from industry publications to wrap my head around how other businesses, brands, and my target audience will evolve in the year ahead.

Next, I study data from social-media monitoring and website analytic sites to find trends to focus on for upcoming marketing sites. I use free news and analytics websites like Social Media Today and Similar Web to create a digital-marketing trend report. This allows me to have a more streamlined focus for the goals I set. 

3. Thinking too macro

Just like when people set New Year’s resolutions, entrepreneurs can also tend to set high-level goals for their business that are too vague to implement.

I used to do the same by setting goals that were generic, like wanting to have a stronger presence on Instagram or write a book by the end of the year. 

Without structured and detailed goals, it can be hard to understand what you need to do to make those things happen. Now, I set end-of-year goals as well as smaller monthly goals that help me take regular steps forward and make consistent progress. 

4. Keeping your goals a secret 

As a business owner or entrepreneur, it can be easy to set goals for your company and keep them a complete secret. But doing this pushes out feedback and potential ideas from other people and stunts your growth as an entrepreneur. 

At the end of 2020, I showed my 2021 goals to my mentor, an entrepreneur friend of mine whom I respect, and a colleague I used to work with. Through their collective feedback, I found myself feeling confident on some goals and pivoting others in a way I never would have without their feedback. 

Knowing what to focus on and what to strive for in the new year is essential as an entrepreneur. That’s why it’s important to take inventory of the previous year, understand upcoming trends, and break down goals into small and actionable next steps. Setting goals the right way will help you kick off the new year feeling focused, in control, and intentional about how you’ll spend the next 365 days. 

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