Goal setting can be one of the most difficult processes you undertake in your small business. The main reason for this is because successful goal setting and long-term goal achievement require a great deal of time and consistent effort. In addition, there are a lot of factors that come into play when determining success or failure when it comes to goals.
Along with brainstorming potential targets, creating SMART goals, setting up a system for tracking progress, and consistently taking small steps, there are a few things you can do that will create a strong foundation for success. Taking the time to work on the items listed below will help reduce the challenges that come with tackling your biggest goals and push you closer to success every day.
1. Review Your Budget
One thing we don't talk a lot about when we are talking about goal setting is the cost associated with your goals. Some goals may require very little investment (i.e., increasing the percentage of business you currently obtain from existing customers), while some may require a significant investment (i.e., opening a second location of your retail store).
As you are setting your goals, it's important to analyze what the financial cost will be for achieving that goal and the timeline for the investment so you can make sure you have the necessary funds available. You may find that you need to extend the timeline or build up additional income first, before kicking off a specific goal. Whichever path fits each goal, you need to be clear on the cost before diving in.
2. Get Clarity on Your Priorities
As a busy small business owner, you are likely to have a number of high-priority items on your task list. If you are serious about achieving your goals, you must make your goal-focused actions a priority, too. This may mean you have to let something else go or delegate more in order to free up the time you need. But it's important that you make your goal a priority, otherwise, you run the risk of running out of time before you focus on goal-oriented activities each day.
3. Schedule Time
Every goal requires an investment of time. While the amount of time will vary, it's important to make sure you know how much time you need on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, and that you create that time in your schedule.
One idea is to add a recurring calendar item that blocks out time in your schedule on a consistent basis, solely for you to work on your goals. You can also plan days or half-days off from work each month for goal setting. The key is to plan time and stick to it.
4. Enlist Support
Your goal may require a specific contribution of effort from a partner or colleague; if this is the case, you should involve that person in your goal-setting process early on so you can share in the workload.
Even if you are tackling an individual goal, though, it can be very beneficial to line up an accountability partner. Having someone to keep you on track and hold you accountable for making progress can be invaluable.
5. Create Motivation Triggers
Achieving your goals can be a long process, and it's not uncommon to feel overwhelmed. One way to avoid this is to figure out how to motivate yourself to keep pushing, even when it seems like progress is slow. Perhaps you keep an inspiration file that is full of creative ideas. Or maybe you create a personal mantra or even a music playlist that always gets you moving. The possibilities are endless, and with tools to motivate you, you will be able to build momentum.
Keep these supporting factors in mind as you get started with goal setting. If you are already entrenched in the process, it's never too late to slow down and set up these systems that will help you reach success.