If you have set a worthy goal for your business in 2022, I sincerely hope that you hit it and that you become a better practitioner for having done so.
If you haven’t set any business goals yet for 2022, good! Consider avoiding that exercise this year. Here are three reasons why:
1. Goals will limit you during a period when flexibility will pay off.
Goals are wonderful, dangerous things. They send out magnetic tractor beams that pull us towards them just like the Death Star pulled in the good guys in Star Wars. Did you know that some linguists think that the word goal is based on the Norse word geil, which referred to a narrow glen or passage that could be used to channel sheep or cattle for the slaughter? Hmm. The news is giving us a preview of 2022 and it looks like we are going to want to be able to navigate freely. Rising rates, battles with inflation, tensions East and West, a mid-term election season, and did I forget Covid? One might argue that a goal provides focus in such times. Save that for happier times and keep your head out of the sand for the next 12 months. Instead: At the end of each month in 2022 ask yourself what direction your business is heading and determine if a course correction is warranted.
2. Goals can make you sacrifice too much.
Arbitrary goals in some metric can quickly take you down the wrong path. For example, a 10% revenue growth goal could make one focus on the wrong idea at the wrong time for the wrong client. A 10% asset growth goal could lead you to accept clients and accounts that you don’t want just to hit the prize. Instead: Spend the next 12 months focused on a theme like uniquely sustainable revenues (fee-based solutions, proprietary discretionary management, etc.) or referral generation (small mixers between clients and prospects, lunches with your top clients’ attorneys and CPAs before next year, etc.)
3. 2022 will probably give you too many excuses to NOT hit your goal.
In 2020, most businesses ditched their goals and focused on how to function during the pandemic. Unfortunately, most allowed themselves to do it again in 2021. Once it became clear that the pandemic wasn’t going away, the phrase “in these uncertain times” crept back into the mix, and goals were abandoned. Don’t go for Strike Three. Setting a goal and then ditching it because of “uncertain times” is the equivalent of hitting your snooze button three times in the morning. It does great damage to your psyche, so don’t do it! Instead, pick a professional strength that you want to develop this year, such as estate planning or covered call writing, and build a curriculum that includes networking with experts, reading and maybe some outside adult education.
There is more money in motion now than at any time in our professional lives. Early retirements, the migration from cities, and the creation of over 8 million new small businesses since 1Q 2020 have all played a role. The need for your advice has never been greater.
Stay flexible, stay busy, and prosper!
Fulfill your purpose of providing great advice to people who need it. 2023 will be here soon enough, and I sincerely hope that things are so stable and dull that we all need to set goals in order to focus ourselves when it gets here.