I wrote about goal setting some months ago now and how important it is to have some structure with plans to underpin your goals, irrelevant of whether you are a new business startup or an established business looking to grow and build on your success to date (if you didn’t get chance to read that blog, have a quick read now!).
I was recently asked to speak to a couple of groups of business owners on this topic I guess because it’s the turn of the year which is often a good time to set some new goals, however it’s not always clear as to why it is so vital, what it can bring and why people don’t set their goals.
So just to reiterate, setting goals for your business (or for you personally) will result in greater direction and focus, ensuring that the path to the end result is quicker than if you hadn’t had that direction in the first place.
Plus goal setting, tracking and achieving those goals builds confidence, motivation, self-esteem as well as help identify learning gaps that you or others within your business may have but be blissfully unaware of.
So if it’s so good all this goal setting, then why do many people and businesses not bother? There are a few reasons….
- the view that goal setting doesn’t work (it does!!!) – this often comes as a result of someone who has tried to goal set but hasn’t put enough clarity in to the goals or action plans to reach those goals or hasn’t bothered to track their results against their goals so have no actual idea if they have worked or not.
- the view that there isn’t enough time to goal set – again a bit of a misnomer as actually if you set the time aside to create your goals and action plans then this will ultimately allow you to accomplish more in a shorter time period, therefore getting you to your end result more quickly. Without goals and action plans, you will in fact waste more time trying a wide variety of methods to grow your business or trying to sell your products or services to everyone on the planet rather than being focused and getting results.
- fear of failure or rejection – I recently went in to my children’s school to help out and there was some discussion going on as a child had been laughing at another child because they got a question wrong. In fact when the class discussed this occurrence they all agreed that if they didn’t get things wrong then they weren’t learning anything. Plus it’s not a bad thing to get it wrong, even more than once, because the impact means that individual grows 10 fold versus another who already knows how to do it. And it’s the same in business. Any entrepreneur or business leader will say that you have to fail at some things to win in the end, otherwise you never try new methods of finding new customers, never try new ways to make your business more efficient and ultimately will never be truly competing in your marketplace. Rather than be embarrassed if something doesn’t work, ensure you take the learnings and apply those to next time so you don’t get the same result, but instead create an outcome that has a more positive impact for you.
There are number of ways you can goal set (just have a look at good old Google!), and I presented my favourite 3 ways to goal set to my listeners, one of which includes some personal development elements to it too, which I feel is always useful. Have a look at few variations, try them out and decide what suits you and/or your business the best – the one perhaps you find easiest and that has the right level of detail for what you need.
Once your goals are set create an action plan to reach that goal, prioritising what will create the greatest impact and what perhaps can be left as a lower priority.
Then it’s time to get those actions in to your diary and really commit to them. Block out chunks of time and allocate only as much time as you can really dedicate yourself fully – I can apply myself really well for about 90 minutes, some people can do more, some less, but when I reach around that 90th minute I know my concentration wanes and I need to get up & have a short break before sitting down again. By applying these tasks to your diary you can also see where you might need some extra resource from friends and family or your employees.
You are accountable to your diary, so ensure that if you have to change something in it you reallocate that task elsewhere without fail! And if you think the interrupting task is not as high priority as the one you have already allocated then decline or reallocate the new one instead – be strong and be disciplined!
So however you want to set about getting your goals and action plans in place, remember the natural progression to the process
- set your goals
- make an action plan to underpin those goals with the strategic approach you want to take
- get to work
- stick at it
- review how far you have come and how it fits with your ultimate vision for your business – setting goals and making plans without reviewing them makes them totally redundant as you won’t know what has worked and what hasn’t, what resources you might need to achieve, what learning gaps you may have and what to change going forward.
So my top 10 tips for goal setting are:
- make time to goal set
- be clear and specific with your goals so you truly know what you’re wanting to achieve – make them your best friends!
- test out some tools or contact me for some suggestions and find what suits you best – then get on and use it!
- you can set your goals daily, monthly, 6 monthly etc. however, try not to set too many so you’re not overwhelmed and always ensure they are adding value and direction to your ultimate vision
- chunk your diary down – don’t over plan or over commit your time and ensure you have the resources you need
- track your progress and review it regularly
- be prepared to be flexible. Just like your business plan, your goals are moveable and need to be able to take into account changes within the marketplace, a competitor or a new product
- learn from your results and your behaviour towards those results and make use of those learnings
- do something towards your goals every day
- keep going!! Owning your own business is tough, we all know that, so dig deep, find your GRIT and be determined to reach that goal whatever it may be.
If you are having problems getting goals set within your business, send me a message and I can share some tools that I use successfully with my clients and help you along your way.
Good luck and best wishes for 2017!
Thank you Jo,
Perfect timing to reflect on what I have achieved in the last 12 months, the successful, the needs improvement and the stuff that I won’t be doing again. A reminder that I can reaffirm or simply set new goals for 2017 and also plan smarter how I am going to achieve my new goals.
I have my planner and diary at the ready! Although a new year resolution or two is not planned, planning my year is!