Goal setting is like vacuuming. We all know how to it properly but choose to do a half-assed job instead. Why? Maybe because we’re lazy but probably because we have better things to do with our time. You could get under the bed properly and then change the damn attachment thing for cobwebs in the corner or you could get a wine and enjoy your Sunday afternoon.
Here’s why you should hold off on the metaphorical wine. Goals steer your business in the right direction. They keep you accountable, guide your actions and provide motivation. Done quickly, they might give you a boost of clarity at the time but done properly, goals can be a key driver of business success.
SMART Goal Setting
SMART. We’ve all heard it; this isn’t groundbreaking stuff. But there’s a reason why SMART goal setting is so widely used: it works! Specific, measurable, achievable (or action-based), realistic and timely. If you’re thinking about goals in these five terms you’ll be off to a great start.
Write Down Your Goals
Firstly, write down your broad, longer-term goals. Rather than “I want to make more money next year”, think about how much money specifically, and what you’ll do with it. Then consider why it’s a goal. “So I can get a new car” isn’t good enough. Delve deeper than that: is it because more capital means freedom? Will it mean a more stable home for your family? The stronger your reasons and the more they resonate with you, the more motivated you’ll be to achieve them.
Make them meaningful
Creating meaningful goals takes introspection; having a hard think about what you want from your business and why it’s important to you. This can be a difficult task but the longer you leave it, the harder it gets. Let that dust go until it eventually builds up to a pretty revolting layer and you’ll be stuck vacuuming for even longer.
Do your goals align with your business culture?
Your business goals are inextricably linked to your business culture. This process doesn’t need to be a solo activity, get your team involved. What do they see as important milestones? Which goals would they like to set for their departments? Involving them makes sense not only because more minds are better than one, but also because it means that everyone in your business is accountable and working towards the same purpose. Even the best business owners can’t see and know everything. Feedback and input from every one of your team members is invaluable. If everyone feels some ownership and responsibility around your goals then you’re fostering a communicative and cooperative environment rather than a feeling of the owner dictating what needs to happen.
Action plans – make it happen
Now it’s one thing to have goals and document them. It’s another thing entirely to follow through. Creating an action plan for your goal setting is the only way to go. If you have no way of knowing how you’re tracking then you’ve got no idea if you’re even on the path to achieving the goals you spent so long thinking about. Once you’ve got the big goals, break them down further. For instance, “by the end of next month I will gain two new clients, which will give me a 2% growth in income.” You’ve got a deadline, it’s realistic, achievable with some remarketing and following up on leads, you can measure it and it’s specific. Now who’s accountable for making it happen? It might be you or it could be numerous people from your team. You can make appointments with yourself to revisit the action plan to see how you’re tracking and to make changes where needed. You could even start your Monday morning team meetings with a checklist of how everyone is travelling with their goals. Do they need a hand? Have you been too keen on a deadline that might need extending? Don’t forget to overlook a simple thank you to your team members for achieving their goals. Making your appreciation known will always go a long way.
Hopefully this has got you thinking about your business goals. Ditch the vacuum (for tonight only!) and grab a bottle of red while you start jotting down ideas.
Which attachment are you meant to use for cobwebs anyway?