Adam Clarke - Dec 24, 2019

10 tips to help you define your 2020 vision and goals 👓

A new decade is fast approaching and with it opportunity and a fair dollop of uncertainty. In the run-up to the year 2000 it was the millennium bug (remember that?) and the chaos it eventually didn’t cause that was the main worry for businesses. 20 years on and in the UK we’ve just had another general election and that Brexit thing that no one can agree on. So how can you plan and have a clear vision going into a whole new decade, one that is full of so much uncertainty?

Whatever happens in the world likely won't deliver a killer blow to your goals. It's the uncertainty and ambiguity that can cloud your judgement that probably will. However, there’s one thing you can control and that's yourself. Here we look at some tips to help you create your 2020 vision and goals. 

1. It’s never too late to start planning.

You don’t have to do your planning by calendar years if it doesn’t work for your business. Many businesses simply choose to because of the changing of the year makes it seem nice and neat and likely because it’s always been done that way. However, if your busiest month is December, you shouldn’t put yourself under extra pressure to do all your planning for an artificial deadline that you’ve created.

2. Review your vision.

It's very important to start your planning in the context of your overall vision. Any goals or strategies you set for 2020 should make sense in actively contributing to you achieving your vision in the long term. Using your original vision for your planning work will help to anchor you. That said, if your vision now feels out-dated or not in line with the company direction, now might be the time to dust it off. I’m a big fan of the Inc. website suggestions.

The easiest way to stress-test your vision is to ask these three questions.
1. Is it simple to understand? (Could a 9-year old make sense of it?)
2. Does it excite you and your team?
3. Does it describe why your team exists?  

3. Review your past year.

If you haven’t already started planning for 2020, begin by asking everyone on your team for the top 2 or 3 things that went well this year and what 2 to 3 aspects they would do differently if they could. Get their ideas down on sticky notes and then get them all on to a document that you can then share with them. It’s important to take a moment to review the successes of your team across the whole year. By doing so, you’ll get the momentum you need to take into your discussion for next year.

4. Clear your mind and focus on what you can control.

If your head is full of 'what ifs' then you'll second guess yourself into a corner. Starting with a clean but informed slate is important if you're really going to push on. They'll always be things change, challenges, 'headwinds' and other things that you can't control. So focus on what you can. Are you using the right tools? Are you surrounded by the right people? Can you improve the work culture? Can you improve the experience for your customers? The list will vary and differ from person to person. 

5. Put things into perspective.

With any new decade, it can easily feel like a bigger year than any other. It's also easy to think of the decade as a whole, reassess your life goals and wonder what it's all for. That weight of self-induced pressure can slow you down and create artificial obstacles. What you need is a laser-sharp focus and what you want to achieve. Whether that be revenue, the number of customers or actually finishing work on time and spending more time with family and friends.

6. Don't set yourself too many goals. If you do you'll likely fail. 

Goals should be things that you can realistically achieve, they shouldn't be ones that you wish you could if you had infinite time and resources.  Be realistic, and of course, there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious., just don’t go overboard. One to three main goals will likely be enough. You don’t want to get to the end of 2020 and feel the disappointment of missing your goals. Your 2020 vision shouldn’t be the same as your personal new year resolutions. You actually want to achieve the goals that you set.  

7. Prioritise your goals. 

You can't, nor should you try to achieve every goal at the same time. Goals shouldn't be a shopping list that you rush through and tick off. 

8. Now you have your goals, break them up into bite-sized achievable chunks. 

Everyone knows the saying, "Rome wasn't built in a day". However, far less know how long it actually took to build. Sense would suggest that it wasn't 2 days. 100 years might seem plausible, but even that is some way off. A common train of thought is that it took over 1,000 years, some could argue that it's still being built. In which case let's go all the way to about 3,000 years. The point is that if you don't define your goals or the scope. You could be trying to still finish them in 2030 or give up on them altogether. 

Example:

You may want to review the software your business uses. Does it still serve the purpose it was intended for, or is it draining time and money away from your business? Wasting time with tools that are no longer fit for purpose is costing you money and likely time. Switching can feel Iike an epic task when the current system is kinda okay. If it's kinda okay, it's not okay and it's probably not as big a task as you'd expect. If it really does feel epic, then consider a trial for Q1 with a few people or a department. It's something we see at Expend all the time. Once you’ve used the new solution for a few months, you can decide how to proceed next. 

9. Put dates in the diary NOW to review your goals throughout the year.

If you don't, your goals will get left in a desk draw and forgotten about. What's the point in going to all this effort if you don't see it through? Things will change too and you need to be honest and willing to adapt them accordingly. 

10. Finally, spend time with your accountant. 

Accountants have become much more than an accountant. They have become tech consultants, bank managers, strategic planners and much much more. If you have the right accountant, you can also lean on them for advice and guidance. Sure, it will likely cost you money, but the right advice at the right time will help you reap the rewards or potential avoid a bad move. One thing all progressive accountants that I’ve met over the last few years is that they want their clients to succeed, they’re not just there to count your beans anymore.

So there you have it, our tips to helping you set a realistic vision and goals in 2020.

Written by Adam Clarke

I'm the Marketing and Partnership Manager at Expend. When I'm not fighting expenses admin with our amazing solution, you can find me eating my way around London's food scene.