Have you set your business goals for 2021? If you need some inspiration or even just some motivation for creating measurable goals that are more than just a wish, keep reading.
Why set goals?
Why are goals even a thing? There are some compelling reasons to set goals. Here are 5 of the many reasons you should be setting goals each year.
Goals Provide Focus
Goals provide focus. It’s very difficult to get where you want to be if you don’t know where you’re going. I’m a firm believer in speaking your goals into reality. If you want to double your sales this year or hire 2 new people because you’re so busy, you have to speak that and that is where goal setting comes in.
Goals Keep You Motivated
If you’re a solopreneur and it’s just you, goals will help keep you personally motivated. If you have a team, it will help keep them motivated too. Whatever you’re working for, you are working for it together as a unit.
Goals Promote Teamwork
Again, goals put all of you on the same side. You are a unified team working towards this one end. You are all getting there together.
Goals Increase Morale
Goals can increase morale a lot. It takes you from a group of people just milling around and getting by to this force of nature working together for a better result.
Goals Help You Measure Your Success
How do you know how you did if you don’t know where you wanted to go to start with? How will you know when you get there? You have to have a goal in mind to determine whether you were successful in getting to that goal.
How Do You Plan Your Goals?
You know you need goals but what is the next step in the process? How do you plan those goals so that you’re able to accomplish them. There are 5 steps that will help.
You Must Have Vision
When I say vision this includes long-term goals. For instance, your goal for this month may be to add 1 new customer but your long-term goal may be to add 1 new customer per month for a total of 12 new customers this year. You have to embrace your long-term goal so you can identify the best way to get there.
Identify What You Need to Accomplish Those Long-Term Goals
This step normally breaks down into smaller pieces. Say you’re going to launch a course. You can’t just launch it tomorrow. First, you have to develop the course and that’s a goal all by itself that breaks down into pieces. Then you have to launch the course which is another goal you can break down into pieces.
There is an acronym you’ve probably heard before to help you set goals. Your goals should be SMART which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. If you’re launching a digital course, you can’t say “I’ll have that done by Friday.” That’s unrealistic. You also can’t say “I’ll have that done by the end of the year.” That’s not specific enough. You’d have to first decide how the course breaks down. What are the parts? How long will it take to create each part? Then you could set SMART goals for each part that will help you realistically launch your course.
Identify How to Track Your Success
What are your key performance indicators going to be? If you’re launching a course, the course will be done. Your KPI will depend on what you’re trying to achieve. Are you trying to grow your email list? Your KPI may be for every 10 people that see your website, 2 sign up. You have to have something to measure against to know if what you’re doing is working. This allows you to go back and evaluate and tweak where necessary.
Once you have your 3 or 4 major goals and you’ve broken them down into pieces, you have to prioritize. Most people, and even teams, can only handle about 4 items at a time. So if your goal is to gain 1 new customer each month you want to break that down into 4 pieces. Your pieces may be a certain number of ads each month, a certain number of cold calls, a certain number of meetings, and a certain number of outgoing proposals. Usually, it’s a numbers game. If you know you have to talk to 10 people to get 1 person to commit, that’s what you do. If you have to send out 4 proposals to land 1 client, that’s what you do.
This step could include writing your goals down, deadlines, and breaking things down onto a schedule. So if you know you want to launch your course at the end of February and the course has 3 parts, you would assign achievable goals to have each part done. That might mean the research side, actual creation side, video side, and the editing. It may not all be done by you. You may have one person doing the video and another doing the editing and they all need to know when they need to be done too. Implementation is a big deal. How many times have you said “I’m going to do so and so this year” and then you planned it but didn’t implement it?
How Do Goals Impact Your Bottom Line?
It’s very easy to be busy and not productive. Every day you’ll have things that need your attention, customers that have questions, paperwork that has to get done and at the end of the day you’ll ask yourself “Did I sell anything today?” No. “Did I get this important task done?” No. Goals help you focus on what makes you money, what increases your bottom line, and what keeps you productive, not just busy.
Are There Communication Breakdowns?
Anytime you have more than just yourself, there is the possibility for communication breakdowns. I’m notorious for thinking I’ve told my team something when I haven’t said it out loud. You have to communicate in a way that is clear to the other person or it doesn’t count. Whatever makes communication easy for you, keep it consistent. If that means putting assignments in Trello or Asana, do that.
Do Any of Your Processes Need Attention?
The answer is probably. I have yet to meet a business that couldn’t improve at least one of its processes. Ineffective processes can be a huge time-suck. One little broken piece can really affect your bottom line.
Are You Leaving Money on the Table?
This is something many business owners do. They may sell one thing and there’s a natural partner to it that never occurs to them. That can be as simple as working with a coach or mentor or even a group where you can talk. Chances are there is money on the table somewhere that hasn’t occurred to you yet.
Are You and Your Team Getting the Training You Need?
I’m a big proponent of training. I encourage my team to take at least an hour each week and dedicate it to training. You can read a book, listen to a podcast, take an online training, whatever helps get that knowledge in your head. If you’re improving you’re winning. If you’re not improving it causes stagnation. Constant learning keeps you fresh and moving forward in your industry.
Is Your Marketing Working for You?
How do you know if your marketing is working? Self-audits are a great way to find out if it’s working for you. I’m always surprised by the people that don’t know the cost of their client acquisition. How much does it cost you to get a new client? Do you know where your leads are coming from? Are you getting more traffic from Pinterest or Instagram? Are you spending your time in the right place? Now is the time to answer those questions so your goals become achievable.