Turn The Tables II - Question 1

How to you give yourself goals in your business and how do you track those goals? What are your goals for your business in 2017?
At the end of each year I like to sit down and go back through social media, sales, measured and unmeasured impact and review not only how we did that year, but how does it compare to years past. When I first started Thimblepress, I did not have any goals, I just wanted to make products that not only made me super happy, but also our loyal customers. To me, a sale was a win. It wasn't until 2014 when I finally sat down and began writing down the big goals that had ever been in my head from the beginning. I wrote down 5 year goals, 1 year goals, 6 month goals and 2 month goals. I also write down lifetime goals. I think it is important to sit down and write these things out. Yes, goals may change over time, but if you never put it on paper it almost isn't real. I think the 2 month goals & 6 month goals are far more attainable and can be tracked easier. Another important thing to track is daily goals. Our whole team uses Asana to not only track our tasks, but to track and record goals we have for our separate positions on the team. It is so important for each of our team members to participate in Asana even if they think it does not matter, because it gives me an overall picture of the health of our goals and tasks. It also allows me to collaborate with them instead of having to send so many inner office emails. We already have enough emails, so let's not add to it. The thing about goals for me is up until this year, they have never been financial. The only reason I have financial goals now is because my dreams are getting bigger and bigger and something has to fund those goals. I also have financial goals for being able to add to our team. Goals can be small and large, as long as you work yourself backwards and break it down into small steps, any goal can be accomplished if you put your head to it. I am proud to say that every goal except for my vision of a giant, multi-purpose warehouse/office/studio/apartment/restaurant has happened, has happened thus far. So, I now have new bigger goals and I still have that giant warehouse goal on my sheet, but it may be more of a 10 year goal. All in due time! I can't wait for you all to read what the rest of my dinner guests say about goals. These people are all so smart and organized; they have definitely taught me a thing or two! Happy reading, Kristen
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I put together a list of goals, some more achievable than others. I don’t always achieve the really big ones but I love the challenge in trying because you just never know! When you work hard and the stars align, what sometimes seems impossible can happen.
CONNECT WITH ANGIE WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | BLOG | SNAPCHAT

At the beginning of each year, my wholesale manager and I have a goal setting retreat where we take a look at worked in the previous year, what fell short, and what we would love to make happen. Something new that I am using this year is following what is called a "Balanced ScoreCard", with 4 categories of business goals: 1. Financial Goals 2. Customer Facing Goals 3. Organizational Capacity 4. Internal Processes. Then, I am setting 2 goals in each category. This is a strategic planning an management system that was introduced to me through a SBA program that I am participating in, and I am trying to fine tune my focuses this year. This year some of my goals in those categories include building a new website, hiring someone to improve our SEO, focus on talent development within Gingiber. I've realized that I am the actual bottleneck within the company, because my hands have to be on so many parts of it. By training my employees to take some of these things off of my plate, it will empower them to be able to run the business when I need to travel, and it will ensure that we can continue to grow as I focus on more big picture projects.
CONNECT WITH STACIE
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When you own a small creative business, there are so many different things that can happen in a year. We never know what could be around the corner and we want to make sure that we are open to all the unexpected opportunities that present themselves. Our goals are to keep growing as a business and to keep our business open to the next thing that could be around the corner.

CONNECT WITH JANE & ANDY
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It’s funny; sometimes I confuse goals with tasks! But in a way they are one in the same. I breakdown goals into smaller tasks- Whenever I complete cross off a to-do it makes me feel I am that much closer to reaching my goal and all of the sudden that “big goal” doesn’t seem so crazy or far reached any more. I use Evernote a lot to track my tasks- makes me feel good when I check things off my to-do list. It’s those small wins in life that counts, right? My goals for 2017 is really about growing a strong team and scaling at a steady pace. Esselle is a very young brand so there is a lot of “life” we still have to experience before we find the recipe that works best for us.

CONNECT WITH SHERRY
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I have quarterly goals divided into three categories of success—financial, time and creative. We’re given a huge gift as creative entrepreneurs to have those last two categories in our control. So, I like to be conscious with where my time working and not working is spent with time goals. For example, I have a goal to not work Thursdays and be with my daughter. And I want to ensure that I am feeding my artistic needs, keeping my creative well full of good things, with creative goals as well. I am very old school, and track my progress with clipboards, labeled for each month. However, I do obsess with scheduling my iCal to complete the tasks for each goal. Goal-setting sheets, whichever way you do it is great, but if it’s not scheduled, it’ll never happen. My big picture goal for my business in 2017 is to be more aware of our consumer behaviors as we move through a company shift. It’s easy to listen to an industry leader or researcher and take their word for where the market is going and what people want, but only you really know your customers. I see a lot of cultural, technological and financial change coming, so I want to keep in check that I am best serving my customers/readers and anticipating their behaviors and desires.
CONNECT WITH KATIE
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For the past two years, I have offered a creativity workshop in January that is focused on creative recovery through journaling. Though I am facilitating the class, I take the time to journal alongside the participants. This time is essential for me to shake off the overindulgence that the holidays typically bring—especially with two kids under 4—and dedicate a block of time to set SMART goals for the year ahead. Being an illustrator, I love to compose a series or do a call for submissions for a set amount of time. It relieves any feelings of becoming bogged down by the same ole same ole and different offerings can really broaden my reach as a business.

My goals for 2017 are to zone in on the details by season. Many of the portrait commissions I do are purchased as gifts to others, so I am mindful to promote and operate on a holiday timeline. Holidays and seasons are also important as I plan my workshop calendar, to know if the odds are favorable to host a plein air painting class or not timing a class schedule that falls on a holiday.
CONNECT WITH GINGER
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I absolutely love this question! I am a huge fan of goal setting - I actually dedicated the first 3 episodes of my podcast to goal setting because I feel it’s so important. In January I send the kids to their grandparents and then spend 2 full days on a ‘planning retreat’ with my business partner (who also happens to be my husband). We use that focused time to look at the direction of our business and the path we want to create in the coming year. With goal setting, I always begin with reflection, so I look back over the past year and assess what went well and especially what did not. I use that exercise as a springboard to design goals that I feel fit our mission and where we want our business to grow. Then I set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, rewarding, & timed) for the different areas of my business including personal growth/education, marketing, finances, operations, etc. I make sure that these goals are aligned with our mission and the direction we want to grow. Then, I take my big goals and break them down into mini goals - I prefer to look at goals as 90 day sprints because I think that makes it easier to achieve. I also allows grace and flexibility for when life happens. You can listen to my whole goal setting process on my podcast if you want more information on how I implement each of these steps (Episodes 1-3 are all about the goal setting process - you can hear those here).
CONNECT WITH TONYA
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I'm big into the freshness that the new year brings and I love to use January 1st as a time to reflection on the past year. I'm good at naming the problems/opportunites the lsat year presented and I typically make my new years goals based on those. I"ll scribble a half dozen resolutions onto a post-it and leave it on my computer screen for the year. (Super fancy). What I can definitely get better at is, on the flip-side, reflecting on the successes of the year and creating goals based on those. (I'm trying to be less of a pessimist!). This year, my over-arching goal is to be more intentional and to see beyond the horizon is my goal for 2017. We're big into weddings and, during wedding season, it can be really tough to see past our production schedule in order to strategize and think bigger. This year, I intend to set aside one morning a week to escape the buzzing studio to sit, be focused, and look further into the future.

CONNECT WITH CATHERINE
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On a specific front, I want to add volume. I’m only one person so upping my output is just about working twice as hard. However, my big goals this year are to represent books that change the world, or at least open up new worlds for those who experience them. I want to develop projects that allow readers to look at wellness, spirituality, memoir, pop culture and medicine in a new light. I also want to shake up the worlds of interior design, travel, business, creative fulfillment, empowerment and day-to-day organization techniques. I want to be part of mind-expanding enterprises and have a robust list of “live your best life” authors in unexpected new areas.
CONNECT WITH KIM
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I'm a huge fan of not planning too far in advance, so when I set goals I use a 60-day period to plan and motivate myself. Because when we set goals that are too far in advance, we aren’t motivated to complete them because it seems like there’s plenty of of time. I use the S.M.A.R.T. Goals system to make sure that I am creating goals that I can measure so I can track my progress. When I sit down to plan my year, I start by reminding myself of my business mission and vision and then create milestones for 3, 5 and 10 years. Creating milestones like this helps me get a bit more granular about what a single year will look like for me.

One I always suggest is a printing out a yearly calendar and crossing off any time that you're going to be out of town. Next, cross off any times you’re going to be really busy with orders. For example, if you have a really busy holiday season you probably aren't going to be able to work on your business, you're going to have to be working in your business. I sometimes even cross off an entire month just to work in my business. As you start to cross off dates that you will be out of town, unavailable, or super busy with orders, you’ll start to see what you can really accomplish in your a calendar year. Then, you can start to create your a product launch schedule and see how much time it's going to take for you to complete those things. Planning this way can be a huge eye-opener in understanding how much time it actually takes to complete your goals and you usually you figure out that you've set too many goals in a year. Which is why at the end of the year some of us may feel defeated or disappointed that we didn't accomplish everything that we wanted to accomplish - it wasn't because you weren't capable, but because you over committed yourself. If you set your goals this way you're more realistic with your time and what you can accomplish. (Goals are kind of my jam, so I could go on and on about this!)
CONNECT WITH JENNIFER
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We have a big ass chalkboard right as you walk into the production room. We have it divided into the different categories of our business, and each segment is broken down into specific, bite-size tasks. We focus on a two-month period at a time, to track sales targets and to big picture goals simultaneously. One of our big goals for the year is adding Anthropologie as a key account and partnering with them on exclusive products. Launching the first online workshop was a Q1 goal for us, and we’re so happy to see it coming to fruition!

CONNECT WITH LIZ
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I like to pick 1 overarching theme to focus on each year. 2015 was the year of collaboration. 2016 was focused on community building. 2017 is the year of balance. In 2015 I did a million styled shoots, and the opportunities and relationships that came from that was fantastic! In 2016 I set my sights on a few specific industry talents I wanted to work with and reached out. Participating in industry events like The Cream was a game changer, and attending industry conferences was a great way to meet like minded collaborators. This year, I'm getting married! I'm a little excited to say the least. For the first time I'm setting myself some boundaries. I'm TRYING to dedicate Saturdays and Sundays to my own wedding & life for that matter instead of working straight through. I'm also TRYING to leave the office by 7:00 every night (but as I sit here typing its 7:15 soooooo....). Its a challenge, but I'm making effort and at the end of the day thats all I can ask of myself.

CONNECT WITH CAREY
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At the start of each new year i think to myself: ok. THIS is going to be my best year yet. Then i think, what is it that will make that so? i usually pick a large goal (one that may seem a bit far fetched) along with small goals that i can work on regularly throughout the year that will push my business forward, and simultaneously help me work toward that more lofty goal. i don’t have a formal way of tracking the goals, but always remind myself of what i’m working toward so that i can keep pushing myself to do little things to stay on track.

CONNECT WITH ROBYN
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Each year, I have a set amount that I would like to hit. It’s pretty realistic based on past year sales and increment % increases.
I want to increase year after year in average per wedding sales. That to me a key measure for success while others often just like gross sales. I also like to keep gross margin at a consistent rate. To me high sales while maintaining expenses is a win win. Year over year sales growth doesn’t mean anything if margin is eroding. And if margin is eroding, I want to know why. Tracking key fundamentals helps for sales projections.
CONNECT WITH NANCY
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I sit down at the end of the year to plan out the next year with big, broad strokes. I don’t worry too much about the details except to say what resources I might need or what needs to happen before that big goal is started. Then, at the end of each quarter, I’ll go back to that list and reassess what’s important, whether I can still tackle that big item and set my intention for the next quarter. Each week, I’ll make sure I’m doing what’s necessary to stay on task to reach the goal I’ve set for the quarter and year. I also block out personal time (I’m bad at this and I’m trying to get better) that I plan on taking so that I can recharge and stay fresh! Without this time, I can’t take proper care of my clients or my community!

CONNECT WITH REINA
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Since we have a lot of overhead between rent, payroll, and inventory, we have a very specific baseline goal we have to meet every month to stay ‘in the black’. I check our numbers constantly to see where we’re at. We run our store on Shopify, which has really easy reporting tools that I can look at throughout the day. If we’re really behind, I might do an unplanned sale or promotion to boost revenue.

CONNECT WITH JESSIE
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Our 2017 goals include increasing our online sales, increasing our interior design work and engaging with selected national brands. I keep a list of national brands and publications we would like to be in posted by my desk, next to our hashtag #inspiredtailoredauthentic to guide the tone of our pitches.

CONNECT WITH STEVE & JILL
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Goals are my favorite! Buuuut I use them more as a starting place than a set-in-stone-if-you-don’t-reach-these-you’re-a-failure. I like to think about my goals in terms of time, money, and energy. It’s easy to focus only on revenue, but that’s not painting a clear picture of my business - if something is bringing in a ton of revenue, but zapping all of my energy, it’s probably not worth it! When I’m goal-setting, I start by looking back and considering what worked, what didn’t, and what was missing (the classic Start - Stop - Continue). I then use my answers to those questions to set revenue benchmarks and decide how I want to feel. For 2017, my goals are to think less about the bottom line revenue generated by my business, and, instead try to make space for more energy and creativity in my life! My hypothesis is that if I work on projects that are energetically aligned with me, my business will thrive as a result. It’s easy to be driven by just numbers, but, for me, that leads to burnout. And if I want this business to keep growing, I need the energy to sustain it!
CONNECT WITH TIFFANY
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At the end of each year I begin to think about the next year, and then in January, I sit down and write out what I want that year to look like. Some goals, like financial and sales growth, can easily be tracked by weekly, monthly, and quarterly reporting. And other goals are more of a monthly gut check-in. For 2017, my goals are obviously to outperform 2016 in sales for the Shoppe and audience growth for the Blog. I also plan to give the Shoppe’s website a refresh and introduce a few new bells and whistles to the customer experience. And to FINALLY make our brick and mortar a reality, and launch our new sister company, The Well Code.
CONNECT WITH MANDY
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I give myself goals throughout the year. I don’t really have a goal system. I am honestly not great at tracking them, but would like to be better. My main goal for 2017 is to simplify my business and my services. I am still trying to figure out what exactly that means for TULIP, but what I do know is that 2016 was just way too much for me. Between the shop, my regular floral clients, my wedding business, and my kids….. the way we were doing things in 2016 just wasn’t very efficient. We need to work on streamlining things this year and I really want to be better about delegating and giving up some control. I’ll let you know how all that goes in 2018.

CONNECT WITH LESLEY
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It’s important to always remember your “Why” – why you started and whom you serve. I make sure to keep my mission in focus at all times. As far as track my goals, I’m constantly using Excel to look at my annual sales and goals, as well as often checking in on progress to see if we are meeting those goals. Also, as a creative and visual-thinker, I use lots of post-its on walls, or draw pictures so I can visually see what my goals are. For organizational software, I use Asana to help my team and I stay on task. The day to day can be tedious, but making sure that I stay structured and organized is definitely something that helps me stay sane. We try to stay open-minded towards different opportunities and we love collaboration. At VMI and TSS, we get requests for things that are not typical of what we do but if they tie back to our mission then we’ll welcome a discussion. My goal for 2017 is strengthening our team and making sure our mission is carried out in our work and lives. We also want to put on more educational events and meet-ups, as well as working on bridging new connections between people from all industries.

CONNECT WITH MARY
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Each year the 3 of us directors have a team retreat. We hide away in the mountains for a weekend to re-center ourselves and set goals (also to soak in a hot tub and eat good food, but those are just the perks ;). This time away from work and personal responsibilities with a clear agenda has proven invaluable. Once we’ve planned our goals for the current year, and updated our 3 year, 5 year, and beyond goals, we set checkpoints to keep ourselves accountable. Our goals for 2017 revolve around sustained profitability and achieving better balance to avoid burn-out.

CONNECT WITH ERIN
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