While the beginning of every new year sees people around the world setting personal New Year’s resolutions, it is also the perfect time to be reflecting and planning what you want to achieve for your business during the year ahead.
If you want your home care agency to be the very best it can be, you have to be willing to spend time defining, establishing and tracking goals. Goals are key in creating a clear path for your business and ensuring you are always moving in the right direction. They are also crucial for measuring progress and keeping yourself and your team motivated and accountable.
Goals can literally make or break your business’s success.
According to one study, people with goals are 10 times more likely to succeed. The same is true for any business. If you want your business to succeed, you have to master setting the right goals and making them a reality.
Starting 2021 with business planning and goal setting is essential to ensure your home care agency will grow from strength to strength and have a super successful year.
While there’s no denying the value of setting clear business goals, it can be a daunting challenge to figure out how to get to where you want to be from where you are now.
We’ve put together a set of 10 top tips to help you be proactive with your planning and goal setting, to focus on the specifics of what you want to achieve, and to ensure you create your most successful year in-home care yet!
Tips for Setting Better, Achievable Goals
1. Revisit and review your values, mission and vision
All successful home care agencies have a purpose that drives them. Before looking to the year ahead, it’s important to remind yourself of what you believe in, the values and vision that make your business different from others, and what inspires and motivates you and your employees.
The beginning of a new year is a great time to revisit your values, mission and vision, to check they still hold true for you and your business. Do you need to review and refresh them for 2021?
Setting goals that align with your business’s core values will help to direct your energy and inspire you and connect you and your employees to things that give you a sense of real purpose in life. They can drive you in a positive direction and are far more likely to motivate you, leading to greater success and satisfaction.
2. Reflect on the knowledge and experience you have gained from previous years
To inform your goal setting process for 2021, it is important to review last year’s goals and how your business performed in key areas.
Take the time to think about the challenges and opportunities you faced and to gather data and insights. You want to base your future goals on analysis of information gathered from previous years.
- Review your home care agency’s performance over last year. Your KPIs, or other benchmarks that you track, will provide valuable information for comparison. Where did your business excel? Where did it fall short? What did you learn? Identify underlying success drivers, as well as potential areas for improvement.
- Get feedback from your caregivers and staff. They will be able to provide ideas and observations from a different viewpoint, that can be beneficial when planning an effective strategy, including streamlining operations, training needs, etc.
- Talk to your clients and their families, and add their feedback. How can you better serve them in the future?
- Use your home care software, like SMARTcare’s complete home care platform. It has many tools to help you review the key areas of your business, including dashboards, custom reports, and KPI tracking. Using real-time KPI dashboards, you can measure your revenue, costs, retention rates, revenue cycle times and much more. You can really deep dive into the data to see how strategy changes are flowing through your operations.
You can only make good strategic decisions for your business and set relevant goals by using your 2020 knowledge and experience, based on objective data.
3. Visualize the future
Studies have shown that mental practices, like imagining yourself having accomplished your goals, are almost as effective as actually taking action – the mind is a powerful tool!
Visualization works by getting your mind and body ready for what you want to happen – and, like exercise, the more you do it, the stronger it becomes.
When you’re visualizing your future accomplishments, imagine what that success looks and feels like, and form a really clear picture of what’ future you’ and your future business look like.
Taking a step back to view the bigger picture, and visualize a successful future, is proven to help build a more holistic approach to your goal setting. The bigger picture is critical to deciding and choosing the right priorities for the year ahead.
Start by creating one big list of your aspirations. Once they’re all down on paper, it becomes a lot easier to decide which are the most important and begin prioritizing. A common error is over-stretching, which leads to not completing any goals at all – so avoid doing that!
While there may be several areas of your business where improvements are needed, it’s crucial to invest your time and energy in only the top priority goals.
- Make a list of areas in your business that you’d like to develop.
- List them in order, from the highest importance to the lowest.
- Prioritize the top 2 or 3 goals you believe will make the biggest impact on your home care agency’s success (and make sure these are realized before moving on to other goals on the list).
If you need guidance to help figure out your top priority goals, consider using a SWOT analysis. This will tell you where your business is falling flat, which areas require focus for maximum improvement, and will help you identify opportunities and challenges ahead.
Once you are clear on which goals you want to commit to in the months ahead, the final step is to create a plan of action. This is your roadmap, and the more detailed you can be in breaking down your goals into manageable chunks and milestones, the easier it will be to achieve them.
The most well-known, tried-and-tested method for this process is SMART goals, used by countless businesses to grow and transform.
When setting goals, it is important to be as specific as possible. A vague goal would be ‘increase our website traffic’. A specific goal would be ‘drive traffic to our website to attract 250 unique visitors per month’. Your goals need to have a clear, highly-specific endpoint.
Your goals should include milestones and metrics so you can accurately track your progress. An example of a measurable goal is ‘produce two blog posts a week, to drive traffic to our website, at a rate of 10% per week’.
While research has shown that aspirational, challenging goals are better motivators than easy goals, seeing results is ultimately what will keep you motivated. Big long-term goals need to be broken down into achievable, shorter-term goals, which allow you to see quick wins, keep motivation high, and maintain momentum.
Make sure your goals fit with your overall business plan and benefit your business directly. For example, if your website is an issue and needs to be rebuilt, but the time and resources needed don’t make sense for your overall business goals, change the goal (for example, edit and optimize your existing site).
Setting timeframes for your goals helps to quantify them further and keeps you focused. Your goals need to be time-specific and deadline-oriented if you are going to track progress and complete them.
Deadlines will also allow you to work backwards and see how much activity is needed daily to produce the desired final results.
Ensuring you have a home care automation system in place for your agency will help support SMART goals. SMARTcare’s user-specific dashboards and KPIs can be used to measure and track your goals from a single view. For example, finding and retaining caregivers could be a goal you want to set for this year. Using SMARTcare’s customizable dashboard, you can receive deep insights into your progress over time toward your caregiver hiring successes and increased retention levels.
Tips for Making Your Goals A Reality
While most business owners understand the importance of setting goals, staying focused and achieving them is by far the hardest part. To avoid the ‘set and forget’ issue that many business owners have when setting goals, try out some of these top tips:
1. Write your goals down
A study carried out by the Dominican University of California revealed that people who write their goals down, share them with others and create weekly updates on progress, are 33% more successful in accomplishing their goals than those who don’t.
So write those goals down and display them where you can see them!
2. Share your goals far and wide
Sharing your goals with friends, family, colleagues, employees and clients, where appropriate, can really help you on the way to achieving your goals. Not only are other people likely to support you, but they can also hold you accountable, and outside accountability is essential for success.
Whether you share your goals publicly on social media or share them within your home care team during weekly meetings, it’s important to let others know what you are working towards. Studies also show that employees are more engaged and productive when they have a sense of ownership and understand their work’s impact on the bigger picture.
- Sharing goals with teammates can increase your success rate by an additional 33%.
- Sharing weekly progress reports with them increases your probability of succeeding by a further 16%.
You can use your home care software to share your goals and send updates on your progress, using messaging and chat.
3. Be consistent and efficient
Like anything in life, if you want to achieve goals, you have to commit to them, stay motivated and work towards them consistently, every single day – even when you don’t feel like it! Setting aside time to work on your business goals is essential if you want to achieve maximum success.
Time-management techniques can help you stay consistent and work more efficiently, such as Pareto’s Principle (the 80/20 rule). It states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your activities. That is to say, if you have a ‘to-do’ list of ten tasks, two of them will be of greater value than the other eight. People often don’t accomplish their goals because they spend too much time on the less productive tasks and procrastinate over the most valuable ones.
To put the 80/20 rule into practice with your SMART goals, keep a list of the specific tasks that will help you reach your goals and ask yourself, ‘If I can only accomplish two things today, which would make the biggest impact on my business goals?’ Those tasks then become your priority.
Things will not always run smoothly, and unforeseen challenges and interruptions will arise (hello 2020!), but the key is to keep chipping away at your goals until they are realized. The practices of committing fully to something and being consistent are valuable life skills that will reap benefits in multiple areas of your life, not just business.
4. Track and measure progress daily/weekly/monthly – and celebrate every win
It is essential to create benchmarks that help you track your progress and experience little wins along the way. How can you measure your progress or know when you’ve reached your goals if you don’t have a system in place to track your efforts?
Find a way to keep track of your goals that will work for you and your team. This can be as basic as keeping a spreadsheet with a track of metrics monthly. By tracking, measuring and analyzing progress, you can see what is and isn’t working and make adjustments on the way to ensure you achieve your end goal.
It’s also important to celebrate the milestones you reach and the goals you accomplish along the way, acknowledging those who have contributed. Science has shown that we feel more accomplished and motivated when we experience little wins or tick off smaller goals on our way to bigger goals.
5. Use customized home care technology tools
Whichever areas of your home care agency you choose to focus on this year – sales, marketing, training, operations, etc. – it’s crucial to have the right tools at your disposal if you want to achieve your goals and grow your business with relative ease.
Technology, like SMARTcare software, helps you organize and optimize your operations and implement the best home care practices. It can also help to ensure the goals you set are monitored and measured, alerting you to keep you on track for success. The benefits include:
- More free time
- Improved organization
- Continued compliance
- Saves money
- Improved productivity.
While every day is an opportunity to set new goals, the start of a brand new year offers the perfect chance to reflect and set your sights on what you want to accomplish in the months ahead – so you can look back on 2021 with pride.
Vague goals that are made without any structure have the lowest probability of being achieved. You need to ensure that your goals are SMART, committed to, and measured, to take your home care business to the next level of success.
Time management techniques and outside accountability will support your progress.
Most importantly, make sure your goals represent your (and your business) values. When you are passionate about what you are doing, and it aligns with your core values, it will help you stay motivated, overcome any hurdles and challenges, and provide a real sense of purpose.