As a business owner, it is essential to your success that you include business goal setting as part of your monthly and yearly review process. When you are a business owner, be it for a small business, a start-up or a well-established strong brand, your job is to hold the vision for what your business will achieve.
To do this successfully you need to have two things.
It’s surprising how many small businesses have no vision and no one to hold it, especially if those businesses are made up of one person, or two people working in partnership.
When you are a one-person band you can get so caught up in the DOING you forget all about what you are trying to achieve. That lack of focus will cripple a company faster than any external influences.
If you don’t have a mission statement for your business you need to write one, now. You also need to give yourself a title that holds you accountable to maintaining that vision. If you are not the CEO or president of your company you need to figure out why and take steps to getting comfortable with the bigger role.
Once you have your vision statement in writing you need to outline the steps to meet your goal. For a goal to work, it needs to be structured correctly.
It’s standard practice for goals to be set in S.M.A.R.T format.
I’m going take it two steps further than SMART. I’ve been in the coaching and business performance industry for 20 years and been employed as a consultant to improve the performance of companies all over Australia. I know that there is a flaw in the SMART goal structure.
A SMART goal automatically assumes you are inspired and motivated to get to your goal. As far as assumptions go, I avoid them at all costs. I never assume anything, I always discover.
People can set up goals with the best intentions. Say you want to start a business so you can earn a million dollars before you are 30-years-old. That’s an inspiring and motivating plan. You do your research and discover that a new upcoming industry at the time is real estate zoning. You set up a SMART goal to be the best person with the most up to date data to sell to property developers. Everything looks great. Only it fizzes after two years and ends up costing you money. Why? Because you have no interest at all in property zoning. There was no inspiration or motivation to do the 70 hours of work each week. Actually, your passion and hobby is in electronic gaming.
An Inspiring and Motivating goal would have been to create the best game, to market games, to create a new gaming platform, a new gaming computer… Within your personal passion is your goldmine and the options for expansion, new product development and marketing are endless.
Here’s what I have learned. Your passion is your compass. When you follow it, money will follow. More importantly, you will be living a life that is aligned with your values. Having a business in this area will bring you satisfaction and personal rewards. If you choose something you love doing AND have the SMART goals in place correctly, you will attain incredible success.
That makes it an I AM SMART goal which breaks down to:
Inspiring And Motivating:
There are so many positives to working from a place of passion.
If you change gear to go with a trending industry you need to start from scratch, especially for understanding your region. That puts you behind the competition in a big way. It also means you are going to make a lot of rookie mistakes while you learn the ropes.
You will still make mistakes in your business, you will still need to do research and put in the hours, you won’t mind, you probably won’t even notice.
When your goal is Inspiring and Motivating you will already be five steps in front of everyone else and have the time and flexibility to explore your options without the rest of the field gaining on you.
If you do not have a vision statement for your company there is no way you can meet this goal. A specific goal needs to be locked in. That means nothing vague or big picture. Your goal needs to be connected to your business with clear objectives. This will give your action steps focus and drive.
A non-specific goal is, “We will turn a profit.”
Examples of specific goals are;
“Kung Fu Computer will increase online presence, get 4 star or higher reviews on Facebook, and become the leading seller in online gaming by October 2018 to increase profit and brand strength.”
Now that you know specifically what you want to achieve, you can figure out how to do it through the next goal steps.
This is about getting the details down. You know WHAT you want to achieve and this is HOW you are going to achieve it.
You need your goal to be measurable for a number of reasons.
If you tell yourself you need to make $10,000 your brain will keep working and keep striving for that goal until you reach that mark.
Keep in mind you can allow for growth, It doesn’t need to be equal, if you know you have a product launch in April, you might expect a boom on release and another the month after.
Add numbers, dates, percentages and times to everything you possibly can.
In the Kung Fu Computers example:
There needs to be a careful balance between being ambitious and realistic. When we are honest about ourselves and our ability people are usually able to correctly judge whether a goal is achievable or not.
One of the most important elements in all my training is Ego vs Real. When we are living in ego we are not able to correctly judge our limits and abilities. In Ego mindset, we will either grossly overestimate what we are capable of or grossly underestimate what we are capable of.
Your business coach will be able to help you get to a Real mindset and set goals that will challenge you to stretch your ability while ensuring you are not too easy. An easy to reach goal, or impossible to reach goal, will result in lack of motivation, inspiration and possibly even demoralisation.
If your initial goal turns out to be unachievable, that’s okay, make some adjustments, and keep going. For example, you might need to give yourself more time, hire a staff member to increase productivity or reduce the number of moving parts you’re going to focus on down to just one.
Is your goal relevant to your vision statement? Does this goal relate back to what your business is designed to do and what you initially planned from it?
If the answer is ‘no’ but you love the goal and still want it, it’s time to check back in with your vision statement and see if it’s true to your business and personal values. A mismatch here will sabotage your entire goal, possibly even your business. Relevancy is all about making sure every aspect of your business is in alignment. Just like our body’s bones and joints, when we are aligned we move freely and easily without pain. When we have one leg twisted out on a horrible angle, movement becomes slow, agonising and awkward.
If you are not able to reconcile a mismatch ask your business coach about a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) intervention that can uncover a value you are not motivated towards or reconcile an internal war you might be fighting.
I also like to use Risky here for R, depending on the type of business you have or the type of person you are. Playing it safe might seem like the best way to go in business, but it won’t get you rapid results and it definitely won’t shoot you into bigger success.
At best, safe actions get you safe results. For the wrong person, safe can equal boring and you will quickly become demotivated.
Successful business owners are prepared to take a certain amount of risk and do something that has never been seen before. What can you bring to your goal that is Risky?
This is all about a clear vision to your goal. How will you feel, what will you be doing, what will you know and what will people be saying when you achieve it?
Knowing it’s possible makes your goal a priority. The positive outcome will far outweigh any hard work you will put in to get there. I’m not a believer in procrastination as an affliction, it’s simply a matter of priority.
When you put a time stamp on your goal a number of subconscious things happen.
Firstly, you make it real. Our subconscious minds are linear and function on a set timeline. When you set a date in the future you subconscious creates a reality of that being completed and allows the rest of your actions from now until that date to be influenced and altered to factor in the goal.
You goal gets prioritised. Without a time stamp, there is no urgency on the goal completion. It will never be considered important or even relevant to your day-to-day life. If your timestamp is too far in advance you will also experience a feeling of, “It’s not important.” Make sure the timeframe you set gets you on edge. You should feel on alert and busting to get started. A little bit of ‘stress’ applied in the right way can really get you motivated.
It helps if your timeframe comes with a reason. Just plucking a date out of mid-air can give you permission to pass.
Kung Fu Computers chose 15th October 2018 as their due date because it is one week ahead of the National Computer Gaming Convention.
Find a date that is relevant to your business or your industry (i.e. first year of your operation, conventions, guest speakers, new release, National day of…) and aim to have your goal met in time to get the most benefits.
AFTER YOUR GOAL IS SMART
You need to have everything in writing.
People who write their goals down are far more likely to take action than people who keep a goal list in their head.
Having it in writing makes it clear and tangible and will hold you accountable. It also makes it easy to share with anyone else who is involved with your business who might need to understand your direction and action steps.
My personal favourite is a vision board, which allows you to create a poster of your goal achievements once completed to keep the vision real and alive. Just remember that all goals need to be stated in the positive and use present time (i.e. at the completion of goal so “I am” rather than “I will”).
It can be two or three actions at a time. The point is to break your goal down into tiny pieces. Going after the whole goal in one bite might seem appealing when you are starting out but you will quickly find it is impossible to chew and even more impossible to digest. Cut your goal down into tiny chunks and take small bites.
Backtrack your goal from the end and plot backwards until the present month. If you achieve your goal in October, what will things look like in July? What will you need to have completed or started in April in order to reach your main goal?
The best way is to only plan your action steps for the first month or two, so that you can make adjustments, find a new method and be flexible with your actions going forward as you monitor your success and adapt for learning growth.
The biggest thing I can say about all this is Keep It Simple. The last thing you want to be doing is wasting time on plans and writing essays about what you want to achieve. Vision boards are fast and easy and give you a snapshot in an instant.
The best way to get a feel for your business is to get started, get some runs on the board and learn from the experience. Your actions steps and even your goals might change once you get more live feedback so spend as little time as possible on the planning stage. Get it done in one afternoon and push forward with actually running your business. Check in with your goals to monitor your progress, make adjustments and stay motivated.
If you would like some help setting your I AM SMART goal, or with business goal setting in general, get your free ticket to Live it Now where I will help you with this, and you will meet a team of people all ready to help you achieve the goal you set.
PO Box 590,
MANLY NSW 1655 AUSTRALIA
1300 997 669