As we get ready to approach a new year, you may find yourself reflecting on what you’ve accomplished so far while also thinking ahead to the future of your business. After all, every business owner, at various points, must ask him or herself this question: Where do I want my business to grow?

It’s easy enough to make a resolution for the new year and have a general idea of your endgame, or what you’d like to achieve for your business in the long-term. However, it’s a different process entirely to solidify and set tangible goals for your business in order to actually get there. Here, we walk through some of the steps to working your way through your big picture goals and putting an action plan in place.

Reflect and Assess

To begin to set goals for your future, it is important to take a look at the trajectory your business has taken to get you to right where you are now. Consider how you’ve gotten to this point, what worked, what didn’t, and assess how those tactics can be applied to get to where you want to be.

For founder of WRKNYC, Will Jackson, that meant reflecting on how his 3-year-old studio started with a grassroots approach. He describes his group fitness studio in the Murray Hill neighborhood of New York City as, “one of the most organic studios in the business right now.”

Jackson began as a personal fitness trainer at one of the major gym chains in the city before starting his own group fitness classes outdoors with a following of loyal clients who wanted to go wherever he went. From there, he had to find a way to sustain his group fitness classes through the winter as weather became unfit for outdoor exercise. So, he made the giant leap to open a studio.

He describes the process as, “all consistency, teamwork and sacrifice,” adding, “the success I reached in the past was based off of a few things done consistently—it was study, apply, and share/give, then putting the people first and attempting to provide a great service to the best of my ability.”

Jackson shared that he didn’t initially have a business plan or even a loan to open his studio. The key to his success in the highly competitive landscape of New York City—and Manhattan no less—was that he had formed a solid community around his passion for fitness and provided quality service. With his following, he was able to achieve his goal of opening his own fitness studio.

For Jackson, he knows that as long as he is able to keep the sense of community at WRKNYC strong, he has the foundation to continue to grow as a business and as a business owner. Assessing what has and hasn’t worked in your past is important to determine how you should proceed.

Take action

What have you achieved so far with your business that sets you apart? What are your strengths? What are the areas you can continue to grow in?

Define Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Now that you’ve reflected and assessed, it’s time to set your goals. When it comes to goal setting, you should consider your short-term and long-term goals because your short-term goals will set you up to achieve your long-term goals. That means, you need to consider each goal as a part of a whole, or better, as a rung in a ladder. Each rung must be strategically spaced and placed with stability in order to get you to the top.

For Jackson, one of his short-term goals for the next year or two is to relocate to a more affordable and larger studio space to offer a better member experience and serve more people. In addition, he wants to offer a national certification program for aspiring group fitness instructors and personal trainers.

In the past, Jackson didn’t have a business plan laid out, but this year he said that he’d like to find a business mentor who might be able to offer more insight into how he can create more sustainable growth for WRKNYC. For the short-term, his overall focus is to get to a point in which he will be in a position to help more people reach their fitness goals and improve their quality of life for the better.

For the long-term, within five years and beyond, Jackson would like to expand WRKNYC to more locations, maybe even in other major cities in the U.S., and he’d like to write a book to, “inspire others to never settle, compare, or quit.” Along with the goal of expansion, he hopes to also better provide for his family.

The short-term goals will set Jackson up to be able to achieve his long-term goals. To grow WRKNYC’s reputation, he will need to open a space where he can serve more clients, which will expand his studio’s reputation, and by the same token, by offering a certification program to fitness trainers, more people will know about Jackson’s personal reputation as a teacher. And by working with a business mentor, he will have the guidance to feel more secure in the steps he will take to achieve the growth he has planned for the long-term.

Take action

What small-scale successes can you achieve in the short-term to set you up to meet your larger goals? Consider making 3-5 goals to achieve in the first half of this coming year. 

Get Going, One Step at a Time

Now that you’ve reflected, assessed, and defined your short-term and long-term goals, you need to get going by taking steps to achieve those goals. Each week make it a point to take at least one step towards your short-term goals—maybe that means networking to find a mentor or researching your options for raising capital for an investment. In Jackson’s case, a step might be to visit different studio spaces and neighborhoods and to ask his current WRKNYC members how far they might be willing to travel to continue at his studio.

Then, he will have to do what he calls, “trial and error, apply and collect,” to figure out what he needs to do to be successful. For example, he won’t know for sure if he will lose members when he moves WRKNYC to a new studio until he actually does it! From there, whatever the outcome, he will have to apply his tactics that worked in the past, mainly working to foster that strong sense of community. Then, he must collect all of those results to consider for the future and continue moving forward.

Making changes often requires a degree of risk, which is okay as long as you know how to be resilient if it doesn’t pan out exactly as you planned. If you encounter obstacles on your path toward a goal, just take a step back, assess, collect and keep going!

Take action

Let others in your close network know what your goals are so they can help hold you accountable. Further, get them involved in ways they can contribute — so much of our success relies on the collective work of our community!

Mindset is Everything

As an athlete, Jackson can attest to the fact that when it comes to setting and achieving goals—whether they are personal or business goals—mindset is everything. He recalled how in the past, his goal as a runner was to reach a mile time of under 7 minutes and reaching that goal required persistence and a positive attitude.

Each race he ran, he pushed his hardest, and even if he missed his mark by a few seconds, he didn’t settle for “good enough,” and he didn’t let himself get discouraged. He simply continued his training and kept up his “get back at it mentality” until he reached his goal during a 4-mile race.

Jackson described, “I comfortably crossed that line in 27:30 for a pace of 6:52 pace per mile and immediately jumped on the phone with my cousin, telling her that anything is possible. I was going through a lot at that time, and it gave me hope. It gave me confidence. It made me believe.”

He continues to apply that positivity and determination every day to the development of his business at WRKNYC. “I know if I keep running this race, I’m going to hit my mark. I always do. I embrace the difficult times and weather the storms because I know with consistency you can only improve.”

So now it’s your turn to set your goals and start making them reality! Remember that with determination and the right mentality, anything is possible.

Take action

Remember that with determination and the right mentality, anything is possible. Don’t get discouraged by setbacks. Instead, embrace them as learning opportunities to help reframe how you’ll continue to work towards your final goal.