Business Management

How to Achieve Your 2018 Goals — for Real!

Today’s choices determine tomorrow’s opportunity. Break your long-term goals into micro-gains to stay motivated and on track. Here’s how to plot out the upcoming year.

Despite our resolve to never make another New Year’s resolution, many of us find it hard to resist the cathartic relief that comes from replacing a dog-eared scheduler with a new planner. It’s heady to open that first page and push down the crisp binder to expose appointment-free pages promising possibility.

But before you start penciling your to-dos into arbitrary dates, let’s have a chat about SMART goals. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented and Timely. Vague proclamations, like “I’m going to work more so I can take a great vacation this year” won’t cut it. A SMART goal would be: “I’m going to save $2,500 so I can be in New York for New Year’s Eve.”

But even this can be distilled into smaller increments that serve both as benchmarks for bragging and incentives to continue. And that’s what we’re going to do here. Instead of a long laundry list of goals for 2018, each with multiple steps to accomplish, we’re going to list three common goals and outline how to achieve them. We’ve broken them into quarterly timelines to illustrate measurable steps that build as they go. Every step may not “feel” like you’re getting results, but they’ll pay big dividends by the end of the year.

Our three broad goals:

> Get Organized

> Invest in Education

> Make More Money


First Quarter: Set Your Vision by March 31

Get Organized: This is the year you’re going to give yourself a paycheck and put 25% in the bank for taxes. What? Was that a collective groan? Just imagine: no more worries at tax time! Extra benefit: After all your deductions, you’ll likely have money left over to put toward something special. While this first to-do takes discipline, it takes little to no time, so we’ll add this task: Make a wish list. Write all the ways you want to get organized to improve your business — an updated website so software syncs with online scheduling and gift certificates? Send regular emails to clients? Automate text confirmations? Create a calendar for social media posts? Schedule seasonal services? Write it all down.

Invest in Education: Choose a niche where you want to specialize. Be the best natural-nail manicurist for nail biters. Become the go-to tech for pedicure problems. Position yourself as a freehand nail artist. Factor in not only what you love, but what the market needs. Spend time researching and talking with clients and friends about what they wish they could find in a salon or nail tech. Select carefully, because once you define your ideal client, you’re going to market yourself in a way that locates and attracts them.

Make More Money: Set numerical goals. You’ll have two numerical goals to hit each day: one for retail and one for service income. It’s easy to say, “I want to make $60K this year,” but you’re not likely to get there if you don’t understand what daily income you will need. Once you set your goal, take a few months to identify barriers that need to be addressed in order to achieve them (finding clients, inefficient scheduling, fear of upselling, etc.)


Second Quarter: Choose Your Tools by June 30

Get Organized: Now you’re going to research which tools and software you need to get some of the options on your wish list. Check to see if the software offers an app for your devices to make your life even easier. (For example, your software may have an app that allows you to take photos, label an expense, and file your receipts.) Make a goal to choose, sign up for, or purchase the software and tools you need by June 30.

Invest in Education: Find and hire a mentor, coach, or other resource to help you improve the skills you need to excel in your niche. This isn’t going to be easy, but by now you will have researched your desired niche enough to have learned the names of other techs who share your focus. Contact them and ask to set up a video call. Ask for help — and offer compensation for their time and expertise. By June 30, you should have secured a mentor, coach, or advanced training program, and scheduled times to train over the next several months.

Make More Money: By now, you’ve identified what you need to do to meet your daily goals. It’s time to set yourself up to reach and sustain these goals. Look over the barriers you’ve listed and make changes to improve how you market yourself, build your schedule, and sell retail. During this quarter, decide which limited-time, seasonal services, along with unique retail items, you can offer to capitalize on the spending crests of summer vacations, fall, and the holidays.


Third Quarter: Put the Pieces in Place by September 30

Get Organized: Use the summer months to learn the full scope of what your new tools and software offer. Begin to set them up with an integration deadline of September 30. Work slowly, so the back-end set-up syncs correctly across other devices, with your banking institution, review sites, etc. If you have to add client emails, billing addresses, or card numbers, do that now.

If you opt for a tool that sends clients texts or emails, craft templates to send warm, personal messages. For example, create a template for a welcome email, a confirmation text, and to announce monthly specials. At this stage, focus less on using the software and more on making sure everything’s set up to work seamlessly when you finally go live. Many times the “just do it” attitude causes a premature start, and we lose some of the tool’s functionality in the haste to get started.

Invest in Education: By September 30, you’ll be focused on, and better educated about, your niche. You’ll have spent time one-on-one with a coach or mentor. You may have even attended a class for extra training. Your next move is to focus on promoting yourself. But before you do, make a list with two columns. In one column, list the needs and desires of your ideal client (i.e., for nail biters: consistent appointments so they aren’t tempted to bite, a daily routine so they are invested in the condition of their nails, etc.). In the second column, list solutions you can offer to meet to their wants and needs (i.e., a package that includes one free manicure when clients come four weeks in a row, an at-home care kit, etc.).

Make More Money: Once you’ve selected retail items and chosen and scheduled seasonal services, it’s time to set the framework to market yourself and your services. Make a list of features and benefits of each service, retail items to use and promote, and the final price — with upsell options. Mark your calendar with relevant dates: when the seasonal offer begins, when you’ll start promoting it, the language you’ll use, how often you’ll plug it on social media, etc. Create flyers and social media graphics so you can market these services in the salon and online. (Free resources, such as Canva, make this easier.)


Fourth Quarter: Implement the Plan by December 31

Get Organized: This quarter you’ll start using your tools to make life easier. Get clients involved in the change by sending an email to let them know about features that could benefit them, and about upcoming specials. Be sure to double-check your integration to confirm clients can purchase gift certificates online before the holidays start. And don’t forget: Tax time should be a lot easier for you in April! You’ve saved the money you’ll need, and reports can be generated with only a few clicks.

Invest in Education: Let’s turn your new skills into income. Where will you find clients? For nail biters, what about moms who are trying to stop their kids from biting their nails? For therapeutic pedicures, you could focus on working women who wear heels, athletes who “abuse” their feet, or elderly clients who can no longer bend over to maintain their nails. Once you’ve developed a profile for your ideal client, join Facebook groups and follow brands on Instagram that appeal to these clients so you can plug into that market. (Or, go to places you’ll find them, such as moms groups, the gym, etc.) Then, start to reach out on Facebook, Instagram, and in person.

Make More Money: This last quarter is for implementation. By taking intentional and manageable steps, you have back-end systems in place to make communication easier. (You’ve become more organized.) You have positioned yourself as an expert in your niche. (You invested in education.) You have identified your target client and created service specials with retail items that attract them. (You’ve set yourself up to make more money.) At the end of this year, you may open your 2019 planner and realize you’re running out of empty lines. 


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