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?
Part 1 – Defining Your Business
Part 5 – Using Your Vision To Inspire
Part 7 – Put Your Goals To Action
Part 8 – Surround Yourself Well
Part 9 – Endless Possibilities
Thanks, Anne-Marie! I just typed and printed my goals in the “what”, “why” and “how” format you suggested. I’ve always been good at making goals but not keeping them. I think that’s because I didn’t write down the “why” and “how”. That will make a difference. I also enjoyed your section about creating a vision. I’m really having to stretch outside the box, which is great!
Sindy Anderson says
Anne Marie I have to give it to you~ The way you instruct then give an example in inspiring~! You not only give advice you also give info to back that advice~ I’m going to refine my plan today, (that’s my goal for the day) As you all know and laugh at how WELL I do on a puter, One of my MAIN goal if not the MAIN goal is to take a stupid puter class~ I think it’s called Computer for Idiots~ That and working on my labeling. Just wanted to thank you once again for giving us all a focused direction.~ this is like an online class~ Which is where I have the most free time ~ even if it is at 1 AM~or while I’m cooking dinner and have 5 minutes to sit down, read, research and/ or work on MY biz plan. Hey 5 minutes is 5minutes and with a family as large as mine~ I can get a lot done in that time frame~!
Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill says
Thanks, Anne-Marie. This series has been very helpful. I met my first goal for 2009, to get goals and business plans in writing. It never hurts to continue to think about them and sharpen up on particular points!