As the new year draws closer, small businesses all over the country are taking stock of 2019 and looking forward to 2020. Whether a business’ fiscal year lines up with the calendar year or not, team members benefit greatly from assessing recent accomplishments and failures, and contributing to the development of strategies for future successes.

Businesses use S.M.A.R.T goals to encourage team members to make effective objectives and to help them hold themselves accountable for achieving them.


So, if a goal is to increase income by a certain amount, the S.M.A.R.T method would go something like this:

  1. Share with the team the numbers the business reached in 2019, and how those numbers differed from 2018. Then, share what kind of growth is expected in 2020.
  2. Pace that total goal by breaking it into monthly or quarterly increments so progress can be tracked.

To involve the team in accomplishing growth and empowering them to grow themselves, the second phase of team resolutions should go something like this:

  1. Ask each team member to make an individual smart goal that would contribute to that growth, whether it relates to marketing and promotion, customer service, products and services, or something else relevant to your business. This goal should be written down.
  2. Do not judge or criticize the goals. Only accept them.
  3. Share a smart goal of your own to show that you are also invested in the process.
  4. Have each team member share their goals and tell the team why they think they will make a meaningful difference.
  5. Set dates when you will meet again to measure your progress together.
  6. Post the written down goals in a place where employees, not customers, will see them daily.
  7. Keep a copy for yourself so you can track progress and give thanks and praises to team members who keep up with their goals.

Not all team members will achieve their goals, and that’s okay. There will be no punishment and no prize when the next new year rolls around, but you may identify potential leaders and gain team members who are more invested in the success of the business. Watching this process unfold will show you the strongest assets on your staff, give you new ideas you may not have thought of, and hopefully lead to a few pleasant surprises. No matter what role a team member plays at your business, clear expectations and high aspirations empower them to do their best.