Setting goals may seem like a minor footnote compared to the other items on your to-do list but we cannot stress this enough; it is the most important part of running your business!
Goals set you on the path of success because you have clearly defined what success is for you and your business. Setting goals will give you focus and direction. As business decisions arise, you will be able to measure them against your goals, feeling confident in the next step you should take.
Deep down, we all know this, but still do not achieve our goals.
It is important to know why we struggle to achieve the goals we set. If we get discouraged, we should understand why so more attainable goals can be set in the future. Take just a minute to think about the reasons you have not achieved past goals. We are not certain of your reason, but we can share with you our experiences with clients over the years.
The majority of our clients have really struggled with setting goals. They have a tendency to do one of the following:
- To make their short-term goals so large that they are unattainable. They tend to lose interest completely because they feel it is hopeless.
- To set unrealistic deadlines. By setting unrealistic deadlines they lose their sense of urgency and do not give their goal the time and focus that is needed to achieve it.
- Forget to define how the goal will be measured. We find that this leads to wasted time and energy. They continue to work on the goal, but without the measurement piece they are not certain when they have achieved the goal and in turn, just spin their wheels.
- The goals are too vague. This is similar to the one above, wasted time and energy. We see them head down one path and then turn to another path and so on because they are not positive what direction they should be going.
- The goals they set are based on what they believe they should be setting, but do not align with what they want. For example: They believe that they should be focused on growing sales, but what they really want is to just maintain. They are happy with where they currently are and have a nice work life balance.
- Simply, the absence of goals. As business owners, it is tough to wear all of the hats and do not make the time to set goals and therefore just keep status quo.
We just so happen to be huge fans of Tony Robbins (and think you should read some of his books!), but think about how insightful this statement is. Don’t underestimate yourself and let’s get those goals set!
How to set better goals:
1. Do some soul searching. For the next two weeks, pencil out some time daily to allow yourself to determine what you really want long term. This can be, three years, ten years or whatever you want it to be.
2. Break that into smaller goals. First, take the large goals and break them into annual goals, then bi-annual goals, and quarterly goals. You can take it to monthly but we find that can be too much.
3. Now better define the goals. Make them as specific as possible. Include a way to measure the goals and set a deadline for those goals.
4. Take a step back and think about the goals you set. Be careful that your excitement does not blind you when it comes to setting these goals. Just focus on the next year’s goals, do you believe that they are truly attainable without breaking yourself to achieve them? If you have any doubt, scale them back. You would rather have small successes then failing to reach your goals or worse abandoning them.
5. Make your goals visible. For some people, they only want to see the short term goals. If they see the long-term goals daily, they can feel overwhelmed. For others, they like to see the large goals. They want to know what they are chasing and it gives them the motivation to keep going. This is a personal preference.
6. Now that you have your first set of quarterly goals, make a list of items you need to do to achieve the first goal.
7. This last step is the most important step of all. Every day, write the top 3 priorities for that day on an index card. One of those priorities always needs to be one of the smaller items that you listed above. This keeps you moving forward. Keep in mind, you do not have to achieve your goals at warp speed. One step at a time. The other two items can be anything you need it to be. They just all three need to be what has to be completed by the end of the day. Focus on those three items before anything else. This is tough, but the discipline will help you be intentional with your time and focus.
Some last few notes on goals:
- Do not be afraid to fail. After a few weeks, if you find that you are not moving forward then reset your goals. Do not allow any more time to pass. Smaller goals can help you get the momentum you need to conquer larger ones.
- Find an accountability partner. This can be anyone that will hold your feet to the fire and be honest with you. This can be a mentor, friend or another business owner.
- Reward Yourself. We often forget about this part. When you are setting those quarterly goals, include how you will reward yourself when you reach them.