study released in the U.S. this week has found that business owners find professional goals easier to keep than personal goals. More than half of the business owners surveyed do set goals at the start of the year and of these 50% say professional goals are easier to keep.

Setting goals and sticking with resolutions have been taking up a large part of the online conversation in the last week. There’s a whole host of ideas being shared for making sure you stay on track and focused in the year ahead. We’ve captured some of the most practical and interesting ideas for small businesses.

Get real about 2013 before moving onto 2014

While we don’t want to dwell too much in the past the value of assessing what did and didn’t work last year is highly regarded. Authors Julie Miller and Brian Bedford say “one of the best New Year’s resolutions you can make is around the A-word. Accountability.”
In their article on the Young Startups website the authors offer tips for being accountable for 2013 and the year ahead. These include:

  • Conducting of post-mortem of last year
  • Holding an accountability boot camp early this year
  • Hire accountable people
  • Monitor success and make adjustments

Read 7 ways to make sure accountability sticks in 2014 here >

Accountability for business goals

One of the big tips I’ve seen a lot this year for both personal and professional goals is to get them on the record! Many life coaches have been quoted telling individuals to share their personal goals on their Facebook page so their friends keep them to account.

Alice Nichols, who runs a website called the Whole Daily, says “a great way to help you become accountable to your goals in 2014 is to share them.” So she does. Alice lists both her personal and business goals on her website for her visitors to see. Alongside her list of goals she offers includes her vision for the year and her mantra for 2014 which is  “What would Branson do?”.

Take a look at how Alice’s business goals for 2014 >

Setting up realistic business goals

Goal setting doesn’t need to be over complicated, in fact the more complicated it becomes the more likely it is that those goals become too hard to reach or understand. Claire Diaz Ortiz from Babble makes it really simple. Her three tips are to:

  • Review your progress on goals in 2013
  • Use what you learnt for 2013 to set goals in the year ahead
  • Don’t be concerned about setting up the same goals as last year

Check out Claire’s advice on goal setting for 2014 here >

What are some of your goals for 2014? How will you be accountable?