Between running your childcare center and wrapping up the holiday season, turning your business dreams for 2019 into realities can seem seriously daunting. As the saying goes, a goal without a plan is just a wish. Breaking goals down into bite-sized pieces will help you see that your big ideas are achievable after all. The first step is to set goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). Here’s what that means in detail.

1.) Specific
Having a clear vision of what you want to achieve will clarify what your priorities are. Instead of saying, “I want to improve profitability at my childcare center,” say, “I will increase my profit by 10% in 2019.” If your big picture goal is vague, the steps to get there will be unclear. Clear goals also help you take stock periodically and ask, “Am I closer in June to the goal I set in January?”

2.) Measurable
Ensure progress by breaking your big goals into small, tangible objectives. Measure success by completing one small goal, and then the next. If your goal is to increase profitability, a measurable goal could be, “I will increase profitability by 5% by implementing a scheduling tool that will balance the student-teacher ratio.” Establishing metrics gives you a target to shoot for and an objective way to determine your success or failure.

3.) Attainable
While passion will drive momentum, being realistic will help you prioritize. If you want to open four more childcare center locations, but your profit or your brand awareness isn’t quite there, a more attainable goal is to invest in more marketing to get your name out there or attend three community events per month. Even if your big goal seems like a reach, start from the bottom and you’ll find your way up. Know what’s achievable first and start there. If you’re interested in learning more about boosting enrollment, you might be interested in a previous blog post sharing five useful tactics.

4.) Relevant
Every goal you set should help make your childcare center more pleasant, efficient, or profitable (or all of the above). That goal to start working out three times a week is probably a good idea, but not exactly relevant in this context. A good way to start setting relevant goals is to note the aspects of your work that cause you the most stress, and devise a way to decrease or eliminate that stress.

5.) Time-bound
Setting deadlines and schedules will hold you accountable for completing the tasks needed to reach your goal. Whether they are weekly, monthly, or yearly goals, make sure you set deadlines that won’t cause you unreasonable stress. Due dates give you peace of mind that the end is in sight, and the hard work you’re doing now will be worth it.

Mapping out your goals by making them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound will make them more reachable than ever. When you’re daydreaming about your New Year’s resolutions for 2019, grab a notebook! Jot down some large goals, break them down into tangible pieces, put them in chronological order, and set deadlines. Good luck, and Happy New Year!

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