Setting goals for your business each year is an important part of business planning.
Studies have shown that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. Sure there’s more to it than that, but thinking it through, making some choices and writing some things down is a good start!
You already know that goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based, trackable.
A small business owner wears a lot of hats. You have finance goals, sales and marketing goals, customer service goals, product goals, content goals and maybe even some personal life goals! That’s a lot of goals!
How do you choose which goals to focus on each year – or anytime for that matter?
It comes down to the fact that if you don’t know where you want to go, you can’t possibly set up a map with any direction to get there. If you know what the end goal is, it is easier to focus and set up a system for success.
You’ve heard about deciding your end goal and working your way backwards to now? It is an easy way to break things down into manageable pieces. Some goals are big and will take more than a year or two or ten. You would break it down into some smaller goals.
So first step would be to know the reason for your goal!
If you don’t know why you’ve made a goal, it’s not going to happen. Knowing your why makes a goal achievable. It should be based on a passion so that when the going gets tough, you can march on!
Take a look at all the goals that you have written down and know the why for each.
If you are trying to achieve things that you don’t care about, you won’t achieve them. Think of all the new year’s resolutions that get tossed by the wayside by week 3 of each year!
Often people set resolutions that are what they think they should do. Or they would kindof like to do it. Or they really would like it but not enough to do the work for! These resolutions are more like wishes!
People do the same with business goals. Make sure what you are writing down is what you want (not what someone told you that you should want) or you will never put the work in that would be necessary to make it happen.
Be realistic. I could work and work and still, I ain’t never going to be a ballerina!
Maybe you saw that a business was getting 75,000 page views on their website in a day and you thought that would be a great goal. Do you want to spend all your time increasing those page views? Is it really page views you are looking for? Or do you really want to build your list? Or make some sales?
Maybe you saw that a business owner is cutting his work days down to 3 days a week so you write that down, knowing that you have to work 6 days per week right now. You won’t do it. Goals will differ at different stages of business development. Just make sure the goals are right for you, for your business, for this time!
Always audit the results of last year before you make new goals. What worked? What didn’t? Do you want to carry over some goals that you didn’t quite achieve?
Do you want to continue by making those goals even higher? For example, if last year you had a goal to double your income and you achieved it, you may have a new goal to double your income again.
Or do you want to scrap that goal and change focus? Sometimes it’s better to dump an idea that sounded good but just isn’t working. Maybe a product or ad campaign bombed?
Maybe you focused on getting a ton of traffic only to find that you achieved the traffic goal but the traffic was not right for your product and you had all traffic and no conversions or sales? It would be wise to dump that idea and refocus on getting lesser but more targeted traffic which would result in sales.
A good way to make sure a goal is good for your business is to take a look at your mission statement. Look at every goal and how it might affect that mission statement.
If it doesn’t fit in, get rid of it! When you match business goals with your mission statement, it’s going to be a winner.
Set one goal for each part of your business. For example, set a goal for value / product creation, marketing, sales, customer and finance and you’ll be set for the year.
Only make a number of goals you can reasonably meet. A goal should be a bit of a stretch, but it should be realistic and attainable.
Once you set the business goals that you know you can likely achieve, prioritize. The priority you choose for your goals will depend on your business model, as well as your “big giant dream goal” for your business and how these goals fit in.
Also, it’s good to break the goals down into smaller goals and into tasks to do day by day. In the end, it’s all those little things that accomplish the goal!
I struggle with thinking this small. But I know that winging it, I might get some things done but the lack of focus is more likely to get me nowhere than where I want to go!
Jim Rohn said “success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day.” But without the goal and plan, it’s hard to know what simple thing to do each day.
Set up frequent targets that enable you to check up on how you’re doing with your goals during the year. Quarterly, monthly, weekly? Know how you’re doing at certain times throughout the year to ensure that everything you thought would work is working. Tweak if necessary.
Choosing which goals to focus on this year takes an understanding of the past, the present and where you want to go in the distant future. If your yearly goals are based on your future big giant dream goal, then you’re heading in the right direction.
It is so important to take the time to think and set some goals for yourself and your business. It gives focus, keeps us from chasing our tails and getting bogged down with busy work.
I leave you with a quote form Scott Harrison, found and CEO of Charity Water:
“I can too easily fall into the trap of trying to do too much, and not spend enough time in deep concentration or focus. I’d like to do fewer things with greater excellence, and carve out more time away from devices and screens to think about the future, and solving some of the hard problems we’re often presented with.”
So go carve out some time. Concentrate. Focus. And do fewer things with greater excellence!
Patt Timlin is a marketing expert set on sharing her expertise with other online marketers to help them achieve the dream of working online. She is secretly pleased with the surge in content marketing as revenge of the English majors! Entrepreneur, blogger, guide, helper – Patt loves the online world and loves to share it!
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Patt Timlin is a marketing expert set on sharing her expertise with other online marketers to help them achieve the dream of working online. She is secretly pleased with the surge in content marketing as revenge of the English majors! Entrepreneur, blogger, guide, helper - Patt loves the online world and love to share it!