Goals for 2016It’s Thanksgiving week.  A time for reflection and gratitude.   I often use this week to begin to think back upon the past twelve months.

What was life like in November 2014?  For me, much has changed!   I am living in a new house and am only a few weeks away from welcoming my first child into the world.   Professionally it has been an amazing year as well.  I am grateful for all of my clients and supporters!

After a relaxing long weekend, I encourage you to think forward to November 2016.  What do you want to have accomplished by then?  

Marketing as a business function does not set goals for organizations, but it does help you achieve your goals.  As you think about what you’d like to accomplish, think too about the effort needed to make it happen.  As I am notorious for saying “Break it into smaller, more manageable pieces.”

Leadership teams can set organizational goals, but it’s the individuals who must take action.  To that end, consider what part of your organization’s future success you want to contribute to and set personal goals to help move that forward.  Here are a few examples…


Firm Goal:  Grow by 12% in 2016.

Personal Goal:  I would like to bring in $100,000 of new business comprised of 25% cross-selling services to current clients and 75% newly sourced clients.  New clients will be a minimum size of $5,000 in fees.  I would like 80% of the new clients to be in my top two areas of specialization, (for example) small business, and law firms.

Personal Efforts:  I will create a list of my top ten referral sources and create a schedule on my calendar to meet with them each twice annually for one-on-one meetings.  I will work with marketing to do research on LinkedIn in advance of those meetings so that I can make specific requests for introductions.   I will attend at least 5 meetings of my local Chamber and join a committee in the law firm trade group.  I will work with marketing to write two blog posts for my firm’s newsletter in my areas of specialization – which I will also attach to my proposals.


Firm Goal:  Be the “go to” firm for a niche specialty.

Personal Goal:  I would like to build on my firm’s recent success in winning clients in the (for example) law firm niche.  I would like to win three more clients in this niche in 2016.

Personal Efforts:  I will create an outline for two presentations on timely and important topics for my target audience.  I will work with marketing to identify and reach out to industry organizations, networking groups, and large clients, to pitch this presentation.  My goal is to present at least four times this year.  I will also write two to three articles in support of my overarching concepts in my presentation.  I will work with marketing to get these published and will also use them in the firm’s newsletter and website blog.  When I am networking, I will make this niche my primary focus of conversation.  I will attend at least two networking events per month and I will join a committee in the target niche industry trade group.  I will ask four clients for introductions and referrals.  I will work with marketing to determine if there is a study or annual publication we can create to set us apart from other firms targeting this niche, even if this is a 2017 effort.   I will look at my LinkedIn profile and make sure that it reflects my specialization in this area.


As you can see, each goal requires significant effort so you may only want to choose one or two per year.  Creating a written plan is helpful because you can refer to it when you feel yourself getting off track, or even on a regular basis.  Consider creating a monthly calendar invite for yourself – a 15 minute review of your goals on the first of each month.   Be sure to share your goals with the other leaders in your firm.   They may come across opportunities that will fit nicely with your plan, but that you wouldn’t have otherwise known about.   Likewise, you can encourage them to create goals (with details and efforts) so that you can help to hold each other accountable.

Your firm may also set goals in areas like helping “high potential” employees to get more involved in marketing, focusing on the firm’s learning and development programming, improving morale, etc.  These internally focused goals should still have details and efforts outlined.  You  may find that setting one externally focused goal (new clients, niche development, etc) and one internally focused goal (supporting employees, morale, L&D), will allow you to flex different mental muscles and give yourself a break from activities that aren’t always your favorites (networking, public speaking, etc).

Consider this – if you leadership team is setting goals, but no one is taking ownership of them, time will pass, but no progress will take place.  Action plans like these will help everyone understand what effort is being expended and what the results are.  You may need evaluate whether a mid-year course correction is necessary.   This does not mean giving up too early before results have time to manifest, but it does mean reallocating your time and resources to a new goal if it is reasonably determined that failure is imminent.   There is no need to continue on fruitlessly with only frustration to show for your efforts.

Want help?  Let’s talk!  I’d be glad to meet with you to discuss how 2016 can be a great year for you!


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Alison has more than ten years of professional services marketing and business development experience. She is a Double Eagle, holding both a BS in Management with concentrations in Marketing & Information Systems, and an MBA from Boston College. Alison is a member of the 2009 Boston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 class of honorees. Visit Alison on Google+.

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