When I decided to start my own business I sat down at my kitchen table and spent a week planning out my business goals. I lived off coffee and barely moved from my chair. I will admit that the first few days were a struggle. But once I started visualizing my business in a new way I was able to set some major business goals.
After that first week, I not only had a solid goal plan for my first year in business but a general vision for where I wanted to be in 5 years and in 10 years. Maybe that makes me an overachieving goal setter or maybe it makes me crazy but that vision of where I want my business to be and look like in 10 years is what drives me to work hard every single day. It’s my big goal.
And it’s working. I’m already crossing goals off my list.
You might be reading this and thinking that your business is doing just fine and that sitting down and setting goals for your business at this stage in the game would be a big waste of your valuable time. Perhaps you’re just starting a new business and aren’t sure you have a clear enough vision of your business to really set goals. Either way no matter what stage you’re in, setting goals is one of the best investments you can make in your business.
One thing that will come from setting clear business goals is a better focus. You will know exactly what you should be working on to get closer to your business goals. You won’t have to guess from day to day what needs your attention because what needs your attention is what moves you forward and toward your goal.
Without goals, you have no way to measure your progress as a business. Even something as simple as growing your Twitter following to 10k followers over the next year is a goal. Seeing your follower number increase month over month is a measure of your progress toward that goal. Without having a goal you have no way to know if your business is achieving the success you want it to.
Setting business goals holds you accountable for your own success. Writing down what you need to do every day or every week to see your vision come to life is one sure fire way to make sure it gets done. There’s nothing I love more than seeing all my tasks have been marked off at the end of the week because that means I have moved that much closer to where I want to be.
Goals are the best motivation. There are very few things in the world that are more gratifying than marking a goal down as accomplished. If you want to make $10,000 a month by the end of the year you’ll do whatever it takes to get there. That’s the motivational power of goals. If you want it bad enough you’ll do the work to get there.
Remember when I said I had business goals set for the next decade? It was a very true statement and it’s because I have a vision of where I want my business to be 10 years from now. It may sound like a lot of extra work but it’s really not.
I want you to do a little exercise for me. I want you to get out a piece of paper or print out the handy goal planner I created just for you and get something to write with. Now I want you to picture yourself 10 years from now and write down what you see.
If the picture is blurry and you can’t quite see yourself in clear focus try answering these questions.
Hopefully answering these questions has brought a vision of where you want to be. If 10 years is too far out, try focusing on 5 years in the future.
Once you know where you want to be, how much revenue you want your business to bring in, and what you want to spend your time on as a business owner you can start to make a plan to bring it to life.
Oh, and don’t worry about your vision changing in the future because it probably will. Goals aren’t set in stone. They can change as our priorities change. This initial vision of your future as a business owner is just your starting point and something to move toward. If it changes down the line then you just change your goals to match it.
If you have written down what you want your business to be like in 5 or 10 years you’re probably looking at it and wondering how in the world you’re supposed to get there. As amazing as it would be in that future you might be daunted by it. Don’t be.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
You have long-term business goals now it’s time to break them down into manageable pieces and then bite-size pieces.
It doesn’t matter if you started with 5 or 10-year business goals or both like I did. Those goals will only be attainable if you know what you need to do in the next 12 months to get you closer to that vision. But how do you determine what needs to be done?
Take a look at your business and you will see that it is made up of different parts that all work together to make it what it is and what it could be. These different parts of your business are your areas of focus.
For me, I chose the 7 areas I wanted to invest the most time on; my blog, products, services, email marketing, social media, systems and processes, and revenue. These are the 7 areas I need to grow this year to make my 10-year vision a reality.
Take those areas you want to focus your energy on in the coming 12 months and write them down. You will use those to build some pretty remarkable goals.
I think every business owner has heard of SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. And I have found that the easiest way to set SMART business goals is to answer these 4 questions:
What outcome are you looking for in this area of your business?
Why is this outcome important to you?
How will you make it happen? This needs to be a detailed action step plan on how to get the outcome you want.
When is the deadline for this goal? Remember, if you give yourself one year to accomplish a goal it will take a year to accomplish it. If you give yourself 6 months to accomplish the same goal, guess what? You will accomplish it in 6 months. Give yourself some urgent goals.
Use these 4 questions for each focus area to set your one-year business goals. But these goals are just manageable and we want to have bite-size goals so we don’t feel overwhelmed.
Now it’s time to drill down those goals even further.
See your How section for each focus area? You see those action steps you created? Those are key to turning manageable yearly business goals into goals you can start marking off your list today.
Take your action steps for each focus area and start turning them into quarterly goals. Then turn those quarterly goals into monthly goals. And your monthly goals into weekly goals. Now you have goals you can really sink your teeth into and you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by them.
I review my big goals daily. I don’t want to lose sight of where I am on the road to my dream life. But more than that I can evaluate my progress and revise as I need to.
The biggest advise I can give you is to do this process every 12 months. Yes, from the beginning because as your life changes your priorities may change and that corner office you saw yourself in 10 years from now may have changed to a quiet corner of your home where you can hear your children laughing and playing.
Setting goals for a business can be a daunting but it’s so rewarding when you get to start crossing things off your list. By using this method I have managed to have a clearer vision of where I want my business to go. Not only that but by investing my time in this process I have crossed off several of my quarterly goals just one month into my business. I’m more focused and motivated at the start of each day because I know everything I’m doing today is getting me closer to the life and business I want in the future.
I really hope you found this post helpful and I hope it motivates you to start setting some bigger goals for your business. Remember…
“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.” -Harvey Mackay
Let me see those Big Goals in the comments below.