You read the title right: by the time you’ve finished reading this, you will know how to make your business 10 times more likely to succeed. All you need is one thing: goals. We can hear the groaning already… “I set goals all the time! They just don’t work for me,” or “I already know what I want, why do I have to make it official?” If you’re having a hard time achieving your goals, you’re probably not setting them right. We’ll focus on professional ones here, but these tips apply to all types! Let’s walk through how to set your goals so you’ll actually achieve them.
Setting goals is crucial to your business’s success because it gives you focus and direction. Even if you think you already know what direction you want to go, having a specific, written goal makes it easier. Goals are also a great way to track your progress and keep you aware of how well your business is performing.
Reaching your goals can give you a sense of satisfaction and pride. (Hint: this is a repeating cycle! If you feel good achieving your goals, you’re likely to set more. Good things come from growth!)
All right, now we’ve gotten that out of the way. Let’s talk about some strategies you may not have heard of before! Setting the goal, after all, is not actually the first step in this process!
When you’re setting a goal, it’s important to know what you want to accomplish in your business. Don’t choose a goal based on what you think you should want, or what sounds good. Decide what you want your business to look like, or what you want to be able to do with it, then set a goal that supports that. Do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of your company and use that information when planning. What strengths can you use to address any weaknesses? What opportunities do you have that you haven’t taken advantage of yet? Are there any threats you can avoid? Oftentimes it’s helpful to set short- (30 days), medium- (3 months), and long-term (1 - 5 years) goals.
Once you have an idea of what you want to achieve, make sure it’s something you actually want. One of the best pieces of advice we’ve heard is to ask yourself why 7 times and then you’ll know why you want something.
“Why do I want to grow my business?” - Because I want to make more money.
“Why do I want to make more money?” - Because then I can hire people to help me work.
“Why do I want to hire people to help me work?” - Because I want to do the parts I actually enjoy.
You get the idea. A lot of us have heard the advice, “find your why,” and haven’t been motivated by it. That could be because you’re not digging deep enough!
Okay, you’ve done the prep work and know what you want to accomplish. Now is the step where you actually set the goal! If you know you want to increase your sales for your business, how will you know you’ve done that? Turn “grow my business,” into “increase my sales by 25%.” It’s also really important here that you’re setting goals that you think you can actually achieve. Instead of re-doing your entire marketing plan, maybe your goal should be to send out an email newsletter every week. Goals that are too big (or too small) are the goals that 92% of people never achieve.
Once you have that goal set, do this step that most people skip: plan how you’re going to reach your goal. Sure, the plan is inevitably going to change between now and your goal’s deadline (we’ll talk about deadlines later), but if you make a plan now, you’ll be able to keep that inspiration you started with going. The easiest way to do this is to break your goal into smaller goals. What do you need to do this quarter, this month, this week, each day, to get where you want to be?
You got that? Good. Now write it down so it’s real, and put that sticky note somewhere you’ll always see it.
You are human. You are going to lose motivation. The best way to combat old habits, procrastination, and yes, loss of motivation, is to track your progress. If you can see how much you’re achieving in so little time you’re bound to be motivated. As you’re planning how you’ll achieve your goals, remember to make regular check-ins part of the process. How often you check in will change depending on the deadline you’ve set, but make sure it’s regular so you remember to do it! Something that helps most people, especially sole proprietors and entrepreneurs, is to have an accountability partner. Having someone to check in with, hold you accountable and cheer your successes is a great way to get the job done.
Deadlines are a crucial part of goal-setting. Even if the deadline is arbitrary, it will help you stay on task and not put things off for when you “have more time.” Remember the steps you created earlier to meet your goal? Here’s the key: each of those steps should have their own deadlines. Amy Morin in Forbes calls these “now deadlines.” Especially if your goal is a medium- or long-term goal, having “now deadlines” is a great way to keep you on track and make you more likely to take action. Decide “I will meet with Flourish this week to assess my marketing plan.”
The last, and arguably most important, step to becoming part of the 8% of people who achieve their goals is to plan to celebrate your success. What reward are you going to give yourself for achieving your goal? Maybe you take your spouse out for a nice dinner. Maybe you plan a trip. No matter what you decide, make sure you celebrate your achievements, and make the reward something you really care about! The reward may be enough for you to do it all over again.
To get where you want to be professionally, you have to have a clear vision of what that means. This will certainly help you set goals to get where you want, but hopefully, after following these steps, you’ve seen that the goals themselves can help you see what you actually want. Goal-setting keeps you motivated, improves your performance, and creates a clear path to your success. To avoid the discouragement of failing to meet another goal, make sure you follow all the steps:
If your marketing plan doesn’t quite fit with your goals, give us a call! Whether you need to implement an entirely new plan or just send out an email newsletter or two, we’ve got you covered. We can’t set your goals for you, but we certainly can help you reach them and celebrate when you achieve what you set out to!
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