You determine what the coming shape of your business will look like by setting, and achieving, business goals. Every November, I do this by taking some time out to think about what I want to accomplish in the following year. Generally, I find that November is a wonderful time for doing this because I’m in a great mood. Cash flow is good and there’s lots of time with family. So, I sit down and decide what I want to achieve overall for the coming year. Then, I break those goals down into smaller, more manageable targets by quarter, month, week, and day. If you’ve never done goal-setting before, you’ll be surprised at how easy and fun it can be. I’m hoping that you’ve done goal setting before since we just went through a great New Years Resolution phase on the blog where over 55 of you set resolutions (AKA goals) here, here and here. But, if you haven’t done your goals for the year or you’ve always just raised your eyebrows and thought “Goals are for other people,” this is your chance to learn more about goal setting and perhaps, set some goals to make 2009 great.
The first part of goal-setting is to brainstorm things you’d like to accomplish. You have to decide where it is that you actually want your business to go. Do you want to double your sales? Do you want five new retail clients next year? Do you want to open an online store? There are an awful lot of goals to choose from! So,
first decide what you want to do. To see real results, sometimes you need to set the bar a little higher.
Once you’ve decided on a goal, state a reason for it. Ask yourself: whyis this my goal?
For example, if you set a goal to add two new local retail stores to your client list each year, for the next five years, your reasoning might be that you want to become the leading soap supplier in your town. The reason for your goal (that you want to become your town’s leading soap supplier) helps make your short-term goal (gaining two new retail clients per year) more motivational. Remembering the why, helps create a powerful force that keeps pushing you forward when times get tough.
Once you’ve identified what you want to achieve, and why you want to achieve it, you’ll need to identify how you’ll achieve your goals, or what tools you’ll require. If, for example, you decide that you want to open an online store, what will you need in order to do this? Well, you’ll need to have a website. And, you’ll need a selection of products to put on offer. You’ll also need shipping supplies, and you’ll probably need to be able to process credit card orders. And, depending on how well your sales do, you may need a person to handle all of the new orders.
By working through these first three steps, you should start to see a plan of action emerge:
If you said,
“I want to open an online store” (the what)
Then you said,
“To double my sales” (the why)
And then refined it further,
“I need a website, a selection of products, shipping supplies, credit card processing, and a new employee” (the how)
…you begin to see your next steps for action!
We’ll talk more about the “action” concept in the next part of the series.
For tonight, your homework is simple: If you’ve done your goals for the year already, refine them. Come up with the “whys” or the emotional hook behind your goals. If you haven’t done your goals for the year already, read this post and get to work on 5 goals for the year. Write down 3 measurable, time oriented, specific goals for your business and 2 for your personal life.
Looking for another part in the “Kickstart Your Business” series?