The key to successful goal setting
If you find yourself tripping over the business plan idea or the thought of creating the “biz plan” has you staring into the distance, it might help to remember that setting goals is the start or foundation of a business plan.
If you are a business professional and you struggle to come up with real direction for your performance plan, it’s the same: start with your goals and your plan will fall into place.
Without goals, you don’t have a direction to take. Any steps you take are confused and non-productive and end up wasting time, energy and money. You know how important it is to map out your path to the destination, and you do that all the time. Planning for your success is no different.
You know the importance of setting goals, particularly for your business plan and your business. As an entrepreneur, you should be updating your plan at least annually. You’ll probably want to think about reviewing and adjusting your plan on a more regular basis as you’ll get the most from it when you think of it as a living, breathing document.
Four questions to ask yourself
1. Do you want make more money this year?
2. Do you want new customers and prospects?
3. Did your business change over this past year?
4. Do you have new products or services?
There’s a good chance you answered yes to any, or perhaps all of these questions if you’re still reading. So, guess what that means? It’s time to set some important goals.
It’s time to power up your business by increasing your income and that means setting some powerful new goals. These are goals that follow SMART goals concepts and you probably know what these are. Just in case, here’s the SMART goal definition we’re using:
Specific – significant, stretching
Measurable – meaningful, motivational
Achievable – attainable, action-oriented
Realistic – relevant, rewarding, results-oriented
Time-based – timely, trackable, time-bound
The one most overlooked components of SMART goals is the concept of Achievability. Will you be setting a realistic goal, on a consistent basis?
Why is creating an achievable goal so important to your success? It’s about motivation. If we continue to set those “safe” goals or such lofty goals some might consider them dreaming in technicolour, we could end up shooting ourselves in the foot. Those “safe” goals take little to no effort and are often set by people are just going through the motions in their business.
They may be too busy to set goals, or perhaps so overwhelmed or discouraged to move forward. If this sounds like you, perhaps it’s time to figure out what’s going on.
The other side of the coin is the “I’m going to make 6-figures” type goals when last year they struggled to create their first $20,000. Those would be some exciting goals.
It takes motivation to get you through what’s necessary to get where you want to go, and wild, grandiose goals that don’t quite get off the ground will demoralize and waste time, energy and effort/money.
Make your goal achievable
Achievable goals are those that challenge you. You’ll be forced to create a strategy and a plan to follow through and succeed. As you’ve figured out by now, being able to follow through is the key to an achievable goal.
Your checklist for an achievable goal says your goal is:
- Challenging – these goals will make you work a little harder, probably outside your comfort zone.
- Motivating – your goal should motivate you to the next step as you move on to your success.
- Realistic – Even though it might be hard work, your good goals and plan will get you where. you want to go.
- Doable – It’s all about the follow through. Keep at it to achieve success.
Milestones are powerful
Actions or events that mark a specific step in your process are the milestones you need in your process. You can often work backwards to decide where your milestones should be and when they need to be reached. For example:
Goal: 60,000 word information product done by Sept 15th. How would you break it down?
Setting milestones will help you stay on track to your goal. That large goal that throws its shadow over your business becomes more manageable when you use milestones to break up the process into bite-sized SMART goals.
Here's something to consider: If you’re not able to break you goal down into manageable pieces, then you’ll find the goal un-achievable. If those smaller milestones are too difficult to achieve, that goals won’t be met.
There are other types of goals that will lead to increased profit and a better business as well and they break down into three categories.
Three goal categories to grow your business
If you create achievable goals in these three areas you will see some impressive business growth, so make sure you take advantage by taking care of:
#1 Income goals: Just as the name suggests, you should have an “I want to make XXX this year.” We’re talking about profits here. What will your strategic plans be? How will you determine how you’re going to reach those goals? What will you add, change, remove or something else?
#2 Audience goals: This goal is about growing your followers, prospects, leading to growing your leads. When you add, and implement an audience goal, you will increase your exposure and awareness. As your influence grows your leads increase. All it takes is an achievable goal and a plan to achieve it.
#3 Product goals: This type of goal is about releasing new products and/or services, or perhaps creating promotions for your current projects. Now would be a good time to revisit your audience needs and the way they buy from you. Can you add value to your products and services to grow your business?
Each of these categories support your business growth and they also support each other. Break it down this way: A larger audience will increase your profits; more products/services and promotions should increase income. When you identify your goal for this new year, then break it down into smaller goals and create milestones, you’ll see your path to success because you’ve set goals that matter for you and your business. It kind of looks like the beginnings of a business plan…just sayin.’
Get your free goal setting worksheet and a copy of the goal focused To Do list worksheet to help you set those goals. Click here:
What’s your take on the goal categories you see here? Are there any more you’d like to add?