If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know how to get there?
In my experience, one of the fundamental mistakes we business owners make is not to have a clear idea of what we want out of our businesses… no goal setting.
So we don’t set meaningful goals for ourselves or our teams and just don’t move forwards – or even run the risk of moving backwards!
People tell me they want to make more money or they want some time off.
How much more money?
What do you want it for?
How much time off?
How will you use it?
How badly do you want these things?
We need to have clear precise goals that truly motivate us to make some changes in how we run our businesses. So, as Stephen Covey tells us in his ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ (recommended reading!)
“Begin with the end in mind”
Next, you need to work out what you need to do to achieve your vision. If, for example, you dream of buying a race horse, you need to know how much the one you want will cost. And then you’ll know how much extra profit your business needs to make. Finally, you then work out the strategies you can start to put into place to earn that extra profit.
So what is your personal vision?
What is it that you want in your personal life? Do you indeed want to own a race horse? Do you want to travel to faraway places every year?
Do you want to retire early and spend more time with your friends and family?
Or time to yourself to pursue a new interest?
Take some time out to think hard about this.
Once you have that clear, then work out what your business needs to look like for you to be able to fulfil those personal aspirations. Do you need more on your bottom line? How much? Do you need a more effective team who can work without your constant supervision or a general manager who can run your business (so that it remains profitable) without you having to be there?
Now you have a clear vision of what you want out of life and what your business needs to look like to enable that to happen, it’s time to set your goals for you and your team to work towards throughout the year… What can you achieve in the next 12 months that will move you towards your vision?
For example if you want a more effective team that will free up your time, you might want to set yourself a goal of systemising your business this year so that your team all follow the same processes to a consistent level.
Whatever your goals, make sure that they’re SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-based, and have a Time attached).
A year’s goals might seem a bit overwhelming with the result that you don’t know where to start. So chunk them up. Make each one easier to achieve by breaking the year into quarters. Set yourself 2-3 goals for the next quarter (90 days) that will help you move your business forwards to achieving your bigger goals for the year.
NEXT, Define the activities you’ll have to carry out in order to achieve each goal and who is responsible for its completion.
Make sure each activity has a deadline date and that you’ve agreed who’s going to complete it. Include your team in this process – or at least discuss it with them so that everyone knows what’s expected of them.
Check the progress against your plan at least once a week. And take prompt action to address any issues that arise. Stay focussed – I’ll have some tips on staying focussed in a future column!