This is the time of year when a lot of people are trying out goals they set at the end of last year. Some may have already given up and others may be going strong. But usually, these goals are personal in nature and for some reason, most people don’t carry this idea over to their business.
That’s unfortunate because setting goals is one of the simplest but most powerful things you can do to grow your business!
Almost all the business owners I know, including myself, find it very easy to fall into the trap of always dealing with today’s problems. That’s not shocking – these are the issues that demand our attention now and won’t wait and things won’t get better if we put them off.
So of course, you have to deal with them. What happens though is the day-to-day problems become the entire business and owners never set aside time to think about the bigger picture, what they want the business to be, and how to get there.
Putting out today’s fires is 100% of the job description and literally years go by with that being the only thing they ever work on. The failure that happens as a result of this however is that you never get to move past the point and size where this is all you have to do with your time.
On the other hand, breaking out some time each week to think about the future of the business, how it can grow, and how you can work to solve some of the things that create your daily headaches is the only way to move past them—setting goals forces you to think about where you want to be and how you can get there. It requires you to monitor things you might never look at and figure out how to improve or build on them.
If you’ve never thought about it before – which is common for many owners who just operate in survival mode at the start and then never really move on – it can be hard to know where to start. Or if you’ve tried setting goals in the past only to see nothing come of it then that can be discouraging, too.
Rules to Help Your Business Goal Setting
To make it work and not be a waste of time or something you never follow through with you need to follow a few rules to set up good goals:
- Set goals around things you can easily measure
- Set short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals
- Make the goals a stretch but not impossible to reach
- Not all goals need to be financial – they can be around time, tasks, customer counts, review scores, headcount, delegation, lead generation – anything that you can track and that by growing helps the business reach its overall goals
- Block time now to check in on the progress
- Keep a scorecard and track the results
- Bring other people in on the goals to help you reach them, hold you accountable, and share in the success
- Revise the goals as you go to make them more realistic if you’re falling short or to continue to challenge yourself as you achieve them faster than expected
Start with a list of 3-5 goals you want to achieve in the next 90 days, 180 days, and in one year.
For each one, then make a list of things that will need to happen to get there and who is going to be responsible for that. If you find all the goals require only your effort and no one else can help, you might want to revise the goals or add to them to include being able to delegate tasks or bring on help. The owner alone can only do so much before needing help and scaling up!
Once you have your list, check in at least once a week on progress made. If you haven’t made progress, then figure out what is holding you back. If it’s simply not having the time to do the things needed then again you have to ask yourself if you can get help with the task or with other things on your plate so you can work on the growth goals.
As you can see, there is a fair amount of thinking and planning that goes into setting and following goals for a business and it doesn’t happen on its own. Yes, a business can grow without goals but it may not grow at the speed, with the structure, or in the direction you want if you don’t take control.
If you do nothing, the daily problems will always fill all your time.
Therefore, taking the time to set goals using the rules above and then tracking, updating, and achieving them is the simplest and surest way to grow the business. Commit to it and you will see success – I guarantee it!
And the best time to start this is today (no matter when you read this or what day it is, today is always the answer!) so what are you waiting for?