As I write this post, there are only 57 more days left to 2015! Only 57 more days.

As you think of 2015 and what you’ve accomplished so far in your business, how has reality matched up with your expectations? Do you grow as much as you wanted to? How about your profitability? What about all those great new initiatives your were going to implement? How is 2015 stacking up?

If you’re like most small business owners, the busyness of business got in the way. You weren’t able to do all you wanted to drive your business forward. In my experience, there are several root causes for this expectation miss-match.

1. You didn’t have any priorities

This is the first trap to fall into and the simplest one. You didn’t accomplish what you wanted to accomplish because you never detailed what you wanted to accomplish. Call them goals, priorities, initiatives etc. You didn’t dedicate any time to sitting down and thinking through the things which were critical for success in 2015. You may have those things rattling around in your head (we need to be better at hiring, we need to drive more sales, we need to improve our customer satisfaction etc). You never committed these things to paper.

2. You had too many priorities

Maybe you’re at the opposite end of the spectrum. You love to develop lists of things, long lists, endless lists of what you need to get done but unfortunately, the list got the best of you. You never prioritized what was on the list, so your effort got diluted under the endless weight of things to do…

3. You didn’t communicate your priorities

If you didn’t fall into trap #1 of #2, you could of fell into trap #3. You didn’t go the next step to communicate these things to your team. They, of course, have their own priorities which may or may not match what you (as the leader) wanted them to be focused on. Now, that doesn’t mean you didn’t subconsciously communicate your intentions, but what’s better? Clearly articulating the priorities OR having your team guess what they are based on your actions? Which approach is more efficient? Which one takes LESS TIME in the end?

4. You didn’t involve your team in developing your priorities

Lastly, if you didn’t fall victim to #1,#2 or #3, you may have fallen victim to #4. You developed your priorities in a vacuum. As your business grows you will have less and less a handle on the issues within the business. You will need to rely on your staff more and more to execute. I suggest running you and your staff through a simple SWOT exercise. SWOT stands for Strenths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Ask your staff to identify the internal (strengths & weaknesses) as well as the external (opportunities and threats). Once you’ve completed this exercise, “based on what was revealed during the SWOT analysis, what should we be focused on next year?”

So NOW is the time to FOCUS and DECIDE what will be critical for success in 2016.

We’ve created this simple guide to help you walk through the process….you can download it, by clicking the link below.

Download Your Free Goal Setting Guide