Have you ever had the feeling that your business lacks a clear purpose or direction?
Maybe its more than a feeling, but rather something that dominates your thoughts about your business. Something that is always clouding your ability to move forward with confidence and excitement.
Could these feelings of doubt and hesitation be stemmed from having omitted the crucial first step of establishing any business? The scary topic of goal setting.
Setting goals for your business may not the horrible chore you are imagining. I can show you how to make it as painless as possible to set yourself up for success from day one.
This is extremely important for the success of your business. So let’s dive in, learn how, and set them now.
Setting Up For Success
How about a moment of silence for the countless goals that we have set, but never achieved? … … We’ve all done it in the past, but how can we avoid this time-wasting behavior?
Take into consideration your strengths and weaknesses before the goal setting session, and then define the action steps necessary to meet our set goals.
As an example: If you set a goal to is to grow sales to $100k next year, that goal is very arbitrary and not very helpful.
Instead you might first ask yourself, “What do I need to do to sell $100k?” Then, brainstorm the action steps that will allow you to achieve the things that lead up to your bigger goals
It might look something like this:
- Start and maintain a company blog to offer value and increase traffic
- Develop better relationships with customers by offering loyalty perks
- Increase sales by offering add-ons during the checkout process
- Implement multivariate A/B testing on landing pages to increase conversions
These action steps must be things you can track to see if you have made progress. Schedule an alert in your task management system that will remind you to review these each month. Did you start that blog? How is the A/B testing going?
If you are not on track to accomplish a goal, either the action steps are not being taken, or they are not in line with what is required to meet the goal.
Either way, during your monthly review, you should examine and adjust accordingly.
Once You begin this style of goal setting, you will see that the true value of a goal is found by breaking it down into the resultant action steps that lead to its completion.
The incremental accomplishment of these action steps is what will get you there.
Setting ‘Smart Goals’
S.M.A.R.T. stands for the following five areas you should consider during your goal setting session:
Specific: Great goals are well-defined and focused. “Increase conversions by 30% this month through executing an intensive round of A/B testing on our landing page” is very specific and has more motivational power than something like “Get a better conversion rate.”
Focusing on very specific goals allows you to generate the momentum and power needed to hurtle you toward completion.
Measurable: Setting goals that allow for a measurable outcome is essential. Get very comfortable with the fact that numbers play a huge part in your business. They allow you to monitor your progress in an extremely definable way. Displaying the numbers related to your goals on a board in your office can be a powerful way to stay on track and motivate you to push forward.
Attainable: If you have ever watched the show ‘Shark Tank’, you have seen the trouble that arises from setting unrealistic goals. Individuals placing an extremely high evaluation on their businesses often get laughed off the stage very quickly. This shows a lack of planning and insight, and is one of the biggest indicators of inexperience.
While it is important to ‘think big’, these aspirations need to be based on what is realistically attainable. Base your goals on what you have been able to achieve in the past, with a possible stretch to push yourself a bit. Start out small and work your way up.
Relevant: Goals should be set based upon information gathered from what is going on in your current market. Check out your competition. Are you offering a different angle on a service or product that will allow room for a substantial revenue increase? Or is your current market in a downswing, preventing you from setting an aggressive growth forecast? Again base goals on the current conditions of the business climate.
Time-Based: It’s been said that if you give an unlimited time frame for a project, it will take an unlimited amount of time to complete (or something like that). No matter how small or big the goal, set a realistic time frame that you expect to see it to completion.
Setting goals will help you calm that nagging feeling that you don’t have a purpose for your business. The deep investigative nature of setting SMART goals, along with taking these extra points into consideration, will help you root out the core reasons for moving forward.
Values Aligning your personal values with those of your business will go a long way towards ensuring your success, keeping both your motivation, and energy levels high, since you will have a natural desire to see your goals to completion.
‘Workstlye’ Think about the type of environment you enjoy being in for the majority of your day. Is it inside, working on a computer, talking on the phone? Or is it in the great outdoors, working with nature, and getting exercise?
Be Optimistic. Staying positive when goal setting goes a long way towards ensuring their completion. Try to set goals in terms of the benefits that will result, rather than elimination of the negative.
Time. Keeping reality in mind, ask yourself what can you accomplish in the short term, days to weeks, versus the long term, months to years? Possibly sectioning out these items into their own categories. (More on this below)
Finances. Many go into business to eventually quit their day job. Calculate ahead of time exactly what this looks like in terms of how much you need to profit in order to do so. How much money you want to make during your first year, your third, your tenth?
Lifestyle. How many hours will you work? Is travel involved? Will you invest your personal assets? Is moving to another country where it is cheaper to live and work an option?
Goal setting is crucial for the success of your business. Being realistic will ensure you can reach your goals, avoiding the crushing disappointment that often comes with repeated failure in this area.
Also, don’t be too proud to utilize the highly valued skill of self-reflection. Seek out your weaknesses. Expose and acknowledge them, systematically eliminate them.
When customers call out something they see as incorrect, or not preferable, try not shrug it off. Take this feedback and treat it as the most valuable output of your business. Log it into a spreadsheet, or put it into Evernote for careful consideration for future improvements. (more on this in a later post).
It’s Your Turn
I hope you found this goal setting outline helpful. And I realize that unless you have taken careful notes on the text written above, it’s still going to be difficult to sit down and get this done.
If you would like a little extra help, check out the ‘Goal Setting Session Guide’ spreadsheet that I use to make this task a bit easier. I’ve included the checkbox items from this article with plenty of space to fill in your own shiny new set of goals for your business.