5 Steps for Goal Setting Success.
Why setting goals is crucial to success

If you are prone to generating one money making idea after another, the likelihood is you have serial entrepreneurial characteristics. The difficultly for many serial entrepreneurs or would be serial entreprenuers, is sticking with one idea seeing it.

On the other hand, if you are more inclined to start or running a business that simply provides an income for yourself and family, perhaps a lasting legacy that can be passed from one generation to the next, the likelihood is that you are more akin to passive entrepreneurship.

In essence, it does not really matter which type of entrepreneurial characteristic you are more prone to  – setting goals is of equal importance to both.

Creating clearly defined goals helps to take the mystery out of actions required to achieve future success. They also help to measure the impact of key milestones achieved along the way, informing your next steps.

Without setting goals, starting or running a successful business can seem like trying to feel your way through the dark. With no clear pathway or blueprint as to how you are going to acheive the end in mind.

1. Evaluate and reflect

Lessons learned from the past play an integral part to setting goals for the future. Taking time to evaluate and reflect on past successes and failures presents the opportunity to start planning and implementing positive changes.

Entreprenuers also benefit from invaluable insights regarding past and future performance that help mitigate some of the risks involved in sustaining and growing a business.

Both of these points combined, assist in being realistic about the current business postion, stimulating ideas for future sustainability, growth and future development.

2. Prioritize

It is fair to say that upon starting a business most entreprenuers know exactly what they would like to achieve in the future. Whether that’s achieving a million pounds turnover in the first two years of trading, or owning a chain of outlets within the next 10 years, no one starts a business without reason.

Once off the ground, it soon becomes obvious that achieving the ultimate goal or long term vision may prove a bit more difficult than originally anticpated. Especially, as the day to day nuances and challenges of self – employment become more prevalent.

To address this, making the distinction between what is considered a long or short term goal is essential, any good business plan will contain aspects of both.

Bear in mind, long term goals tend to be more challenging, and in such may take more time to achieve.

Short term goals tend to be easier to achieve, and in  their completion, can assist in boosting confidence along the way.

Once you have established both your long and short term goals, you can then decide which actions need to be taken, in order of priority. Ensuring that more pressing or necessary tasks are completed ahead of those considered to be more desirable. In other words, think need to have versus like to have.

 

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”

 

3. Get Planning

With long and short term goals established, it’s time to start planning with clarity and detail how these will be achieved.

Remember, business goals should be S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed), so its important to incorporate this principle within the planning process. Ensuring that adequate systems and processes are in place to monitor, measure and evaluate success as each milestone is achieved.

Creating a plan or writing down short and long term goals provides a reference point for both business owners and employees to visualise the direction in which the business is heading. Research shows that effective communication within the workforce helps increase productivity, provides motivation and encourages accountability.

Remember,  goals are easier to fulfil when the steps required to achieve them are broken down into smaller tasks.

 

“Time waits for no one”

 

For many entrepreneurs the time taken to complete the task of creating a plan, can seem like a luxury they cannot afford. However, goal setting need not be a complex task, something as simple as a wall planner or excel spreadsheet can help to map out what needs to be done when, creating easy to use reference points for key milestones.

4. Communicate Your Vision

As mentioned in the previous paragraph,  workforce engagement is an integral part of the process in setting goals for future improvements, growth and sustainability.

Involving staff members in the planning process helps to dentify from a bottom up perspective, those changes are essential to the smooth running of day to day operations.

Once a clear plan is in place, business owners can further incentivise and motivate staff to improve performance. Regular team meetings and updates regarding successes, in addition to recognising and rewarding team efforts helps to monitor how far along the business has come in terms of reaching its goals and helps to establish further steps that can be taken to reach the end in mind.

5. Take the bull by its horns

With your vision fully out in the open and your workforce fully aware of their roles and responsibilities in the grand scheme of things, its time to take action.

If you have taken the time to break down tasks into bite sized chuncks, completing one task / milestone at a time helps to make light work of both long and short term goals.

Remember that before and during the planning process, you will have evaluated the current business position and used this to influence the direction the business will take in the future.

Thus, staying focused on the plans you have created and tasks that need to be completed is another key component in successfully acheiving your goals.

Whilst there may be a few challenges along the way that need to be addressed,  this does not necessarily mean that your overall plans need to be changed, you may be able to make a few strategic adjustments here and there to enable greater flexibility and make your plans a  reality.

There are a wide range of free business support initiatives and advisory services across the UK designed to support SME’s, including the services we provide here at Newable. To find out more email: mentoring@newable.co.uk.