If you are anything like me, you set a series of goals for yourself and your businesses and you probably know how satisfying it is to tick an item off your list of goals.
You bask in the pride and feel as the most ambitious, goal-getting superhero to ever walk the earth.
That’s good, but what about those few moments when you find it almost impossible to hit a goal. You try everything you can, tweak, adjust and reset those goals, but wrapped in a different blanket, still, you can’t accomplish them.
Well, there is a method behind goal-setting and accomplishment which we will explore today. Something most entrepreneurs know nothing about, but you are about to become one of the select few that have cracked the goal-setting code.
Let’s get to it!
To get started, grab a piece of paper and think about where you want your business to be in one year, five years and ten years. Don't worry about how you will get there, just write down every possibility -- big and small.
If you are struggling to choose the right business goals? That is where your business’s mission and vision come in. The same way a compass helps a captain navigate their ship, tying your goals to your mission and vision helps ensure you are navigating your business meaningfully.
Goals are like stair steps to your mission and vision. Goals become the bridge to turn your mission and vision to reality. Let me break it down. Your mission is a statement of who you are as a company while your vision is a statement of who you want to be.
There is a system called the S.M.A.R.T Principle which is used to create the right goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
S - SPECIFIC
Ensure your business goals are not too vague. It’s critical to use a goal setting formula that gives your goal a built-in action plan. Define your end goal and create a road map for exactly how you are going to reach your goal. Be specific with what you want to accomplish at each checkpoint.
You will achieve a great deal more than you would without these guidelines. It goes without saying that your goal as an entrepreneur is to make a profit, or to sell more but these are general goals, not examples of SMART goals.
Sell what? Where? To whom? The moment you focus on a goal, your goal becomes a magnet, pulling you and your resources toward it. The more focused your energies, the more power you generate." When setting a goal, be specific about what you want to accomplish.
EXAMPLE: I want to start a business - Too Broad. I will start a catering business and sell launch packages to offices - More Specific.
M - MEASURABLE
The first step in setting business goals is determining exactly what you want to accomplish and quantifying it. Make sure your goal is worth your effort.
A goal without a measurable outcome is like watching a football match with no score keeping, a match where no one is counting the goals, it becomes pointless after 90 minutes.
Numbers are an essential part of business, so put concrete numbers in your goals to know if you’re on track. Write it down and put it in a place where you and everyone involved in the business can see it, this will keep yourself and people involved with the business focused on the targeted results you want to attain.
Setting measurable goals also helps you to be able to set clear KPIs for the staff you employ.
EXAMPLE: I will be ready to take my first order within two weeks and I will sell to 3 offices every week.
A - ACHIEVABLE
As ambitious as your goals should be, make sure that it is possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and kill your confidence.
However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy and too small to reach.
Accomplishing a goal that you did not have to work hard for can feel insignificant, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement.
By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to "raise the bar" and they bring the greatest personal and business satisfaction.
Your goals are meant to inspire motivation, not discouragement. When you write your goals down, think about how to accomplish them and see if you have the tools/skills needed. If you don’t currently possess those tools/skills, consider what it would take to attain them.
To make goals attainable, you need to be aware of your limitations. And of how you can stretch past those limitations and beyond. Making goals attainable encourages resilience.
EXAMPLE: Firstly, I will make sample meals and approach the organizations. During my meeting, I will show them my menu and discuss the price at a discounted rate. Based on the order, I will purchase the needed groceries and begin to deliver the meals. Finally, I will promote my business and build customer relationships through word of mouth and social media marketing.
R - RELEVANT
What is the reason, purpose, or benefit of accomplishing the goals you set? There’s nothing more meaningless than setting a goal that won’t give you any practical meaning or that won’t help your business grow.
Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and business to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you will develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Why is this goal important to you? – Make sure your goal aligns with who you are and what your values are.
- What are the benefits and rewards of accomplishing this goal? – Think of the rewards and use that to motivate you to actually accomplish your goals.
- Why will you be able to stay committed in the long-run? – Does the goal just sound good, or is this something that you know will still be important to you a month from now?
EXAMPLE: Setting up this business will enable me develop and maximize my culinary skills as well as my ability to sell. This business will also enable me to become financially free.
T - TIME-BOUND
Ultimately, a SMART goal must be time-bound in that it has a start and finish date. If the goal is not time constrained, there will be no sense of urgency and motivation to achieve the goal.
Determining a deadline puts your goal into context. Pick a reasonable date that isn’t too aggressive, but also not too far away.
Ask specific questions about the goal deadline and what can be accomplished within that time period. If the goal will take three months to complete, it is useful to define what should be achieved half-way through the process.
Providing time constraints also creates a sense of urgency. You can break your goals to “small wins”, so, instead of waiting for the 3 months deadline set on the goal, you can take note and celebrate the small wins and milestones along the way.
Setting goals, hitting them and celebrating them is important for team morale. For example, in the music industry, when artists hit a certain threshold of streams or YouTube views, they always amplify this to their fans which creates a domino effect that encourages new people to join the train. If the goal is hit in Record Time, Promote it.
EXAMPLE: In my first 6 months of business, I will have a customer base of 20 organizations to whom I supply launch every month. In a year, I will have 50 organizations.
By taking these steps into consideration when setting your business and even personal goals, you are likely to keep hitting done/accomplished in your list of goals and as said earlier, few things are more fulfilling than this.
Until next time, I remain yours in the digital entrepreneurship journey,