1 Remember why you’re in business.
Before you start setting goals it’s important that you are clear about your reasons for being in business in the first place. Otherwise you may find yourself unwittingly setting goals that shift you in directions you hadn’t expected to go. If you’re reason for being in business is to bring quality casual wear to women on the mid-north coast, then goals that focus on creating a national brand may not be appropriate.
Ideally you want to have a written Mission Statement that you can refer to when goal setting. Check out our video for tips on how to get this done.
2 Be clear about where you’re going.
You also need to be very clear about where your business is going before you start goal setting. In other words, what’s your “vision” for the business? If you know you want your business to be the biggest retailer of women’s resort clothing on the mid-north coast that fairly quickly informs not only what goals you need to set, but also which goals are the most important.
Check out our video on how to write a Vision Statement.
3 Be honest about where you are.
It’s important to believe in yourself and your business potential. But it’s critical that you are clear about your weaknesses as well as your strengths, and you see the threats lying in wait as well as the opportunities ahead. We strongly recommend you do a thorough SWOT analysis before setting goals. If you’re not sure how to do a SWOT, check out our video.
4 Think big but be realistic
We believe in stretch goals, because they motivate you to push that extra bit harder. But we also recognise that nothing kills a goal faster than unrealistic expectations. If your business is currently turning over $500,000 and you set a goal to achieve $5million sales in the next 12 months, you will probably figure out fairly quickly that the goal can’t be reached and give up. It’s much better to aim for something realistic and keep striving toward it.
5 Be specific
If your goal is to “have more email subscribers” is pretty unmotivating and difficult to earn any sense of success. If instead your goal is to “get 100 new email subscribers per month and send at least one email blast per month”, now you (and your staff) are clear about what success looks like and how to achieve it.
6 Write them down (and share them).
A recent study by Dr. Gail Matthews of Dominican University, found that people are significantly more likely to achieve their goals if they have written them down. The most successful group in her study not only wrote goals down, but also shared them. Sharing your goals gives a sense of accountability, something small business owners often lack. We recommend you post your goals in the office where you and your staff will see them everyday, then share them with your business coach, accountant, or even a friend
7 Break them down into baby-steps
The problem with stretch goals is they can appear daunting. If your goal is to double your profits over the next 12 months, the change needed may seem so big that you start thinking it can’t be done. If you carefully review all your options for increasing your sales, and all your choices for reducing your costs and come up with a plan to achieve your goal – all of a sudden those smaller sales growth and cost cutting steps start to look feasible.
8 Avoid laundry lists
We think whittling down your goals is one of the most important steps in good goal setting. There will always be a million things you want to achieve in your business. The secret to success is in identifying the key goals that need to be achieved to keep your business on track toward your vision. Sure, brainstorm a whole list of goals. But once you’ve done this take the time to zero in on the two or three goals that will really make a difference.
For more on goal setting, check out our video. And don’t forget that we are here to help. If you want assistance in building your business plan or fine tuning your goals we are only a phone call or email away.