Starting Strong in 2023: What to do Now and Next

Nov 9, 2022 ProCFO Partners Planning for 2023

This article discusses the importance of the right goals and strategies for your organization, measured against the best targets. Many companies set goals that could be more focused or clear or energize the people responsible for executing them. Learn what you could do better, what you could avoid, and how to approach the coming year prepared and with clarity.

First, let’s assess the elephant in the economy – things are unclear, or at least mostly cloudy. While uncertainty is often cited as a negative factor in business and industry, it can be an opportunity. Businesses thrive on challenges, and an uncertain environment is a prime situation for innovation. As you think about any business challenges ahead, keep this in mind.

Understand the difference between goals and targets

As we prepare for 2023, let’s talk goals, strategies and targets. Goals must be directional – a strategic way forward. For instance, if you want to grow specific channels, that’s a goal. Targets are specific and measurable, such as hiring a COO by March 1 to help you grow particular channels. When setting goals, you allow room for change or refinement. If you’re establishing targets, you know how many you’ll have to hit. If you miss your goals, it’s probably because you missed your targets. If you miss your targets, you’ll know to what extent and, hopefully, how to correct them.

Business Goals

The overarching factors that will drive your business in the coming year. Goals define strategies and your targets and measurements of progress.

Business Metrics

The quantified, measurable targets you need to reach your goals. Key Performance Indicators that are based on time or amount.

Decide What’s Most Important for Your Company to Achieve

Buy-in from your teams is crucial for goal achievement, which is why leaders need to distinguish the difference between goals and targets. It’s more interesting for employees to know we want to break into new markets than to hear you say we want to raise revenue by 8%. Yet if you successfully break into new markets, the outcome may include revenue increasing by 8%.

Time and again we see leaders establish “goals” of some profit or revenue increase. Creating a culture of goal achievement means understanding where you want your business to be years from now, what’s required to get there, and how you’ll know you’re on the path.

Goal Setting Amidst Change and Economic Concern

Inflationary and recession concerns are permeating business discussions, and it’s uncertain what the economic climate will be at the end of 2023. As business leaders, we have to prepare for not knowing this and recognizing there are certain factors at play that will likely come up over the coming 12 months. Annual planning is essential right now because of all that uncertainty. Leaders need to build plans but also build contingencies. If you delay, you could find you’re already six months into situations deteriorating around you.

This requires operating from a position of preparedness and knowing how to measure what is impacting your company. If this changes and the impact on the company is that, we’re going to stop spending money on this, or let some people go. Preparedness and proactivity can help you remain successful in meeting your goals.

Making Tough Calls

Understanding your goals, and the targets you’re setting against them helps you take stock of your resources. Capital expenses, rent, acquisitions, inventory – all the factors that help your business run may require scrutiny. This includes your people.

It’s common, especially in small or entrepreneurial businesses, to have people on staff who are dragging the company down or simply not meeting demands or expectations. This isn’t likely to get easier in 2023. Having clear targets helps you identify why someone needs to get the job done or what skill sets you’d like to involve. 

At the same time, engage experienced advisors who can help you chart your annual and longer-term goals while also putting fresh eyes on the systems, processes and people required to achieve them. 

Charting Your Course

If you need clarification on where 2023 will take you – or where you want to take it – start with directional goals backed by measurable targets. Build contingency and mitigation plans for some turbulence ahead, and look for guidance and support from proven, experienced advisors. With the right pieces in place, you’ll be ready for a powerful and productive new year. 

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