Setting goals and a specific target audience is not only important… but imperative. If you’re reading this thinking, “Shoot! I don’t have any goals! Now what?” then don’t worry, I’m writing this because for years I operated this small business without goals or a target audience because I didn’t think I needed them; I worked hard, clients hired me, clients referred me and I felt satisfied.
Well, let me tell you… I was so wrong.
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I know you’ve heard this 100+ times before… or maybe your peers have asked you what your goals are and your response has been “To be successful!” or maybe you just say, “I’m already successful… what do I need goals for?” Then honestly, you’re more like me that I care to admit.
For years I ran this business with no goals because I was busy, successful and didn’t need 1 more thing to track. A few years ago, the website design industry changed which forced my business model to change and I was left floundering. I had been so focused on fulfilling all of the referrals and had not made an intentional plan for that “one day everything could change”.
Without me having achievable goals or a back up plan, I spent months scrambling, praying a lot and hoping that the industry would bounce back when I discovered intentional goal-setting. Now, I no longer rely on how the industry is performing and can equate the success of this business based on the purposeful and intentional goal-setting I make time for each month… every week and my daily checklist.
But first, you need to consider these 5 things BEFORE you establish business goals.
Setting goals helps you to have an intentional focused approach to your daily, weekly and monthly business plans. The more focused your goals, the more focused your time is during business hours.
There is something remarkably satisfying to having a list of Monday goals and then having them all marked off before you log out of work for the day. I LOVE the accountability this creates to myself and to the business I’m developing.
Business goals will motivate you to stay FOCUSED (go back and read 1. FOCUS) when you get sidetracked by those comments on your latest personal facebook post or responding to non-business related emails that can wait until AFTER you complete your goals for the day.
Whether it’s a big goal or a little goal, there is something fulfilling about completing what you set out to accomplish. Even just completing simple daily goals (ie: respond to all pending emails in your inbox and sort them into folders) will give you a sense of joy and satisfaction that you did what you planned to accomplish.
Setting goals gives you focus, accountability, motivation, fulfillment… but more importantly, purpose to progress. Meeting and/or exceeding the goals you’ve set for your business shows where your business is and allows you to know the probability to how far you can take it.
4 STEPS TO ACHIEVABLE BUSINESS GOALS
Setting achievable goals is the most important part of this exercise. The last thing you want to do is establish goals that you cannot achieve… because it creates negative feelings towards this simple but business-changing task that aren’t helpful or necessary. Spend some time reading through the following 4 steps. Trust me, you’ll mentally start developing ideas as you read through these points. So, grab an index card (my note-taking preference!) and a pen and jot down a few ideas as you read. You will be 1 step closer to successful, achievable business goals.
STEP 01. MINDSET SHIFT TO GOAL-SETTING
If you’re a business owner, you’re busy. Your mind is busy, your calendar is full, your life feels overwhelming and this is exactly how you should NOT feel when preparing to set goals. So, first things first – you need to get in the mindset. So, consider the following:
- CREATE A CALENDAR BLOCK | If you don’t plan, you won’t make the time. Determine which day of the week is slower for you (for me, my inbox is quietest on Fridays… so, that’s my planning day!),
- FIND A QUIET PLACE | Go to the back porch, quiet space in a library, take a nature hike with a water bottle… and don’t forget a notebook and your favorite pen.
- TURN OFF ALL NOTIFICATIONS | Those dings are distracting and the less dings you get, the more focused you can be. For me, I leave my phone behind or I get sucked into the world of all things Instagram.
- THINK: SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, RELEVANT AND TIMELY | Be specific with your goals and consider how they can be measured (whether by website traffic, social media follower growth, being a guest blogger or podcast guest. Relevant goals means they are tied to your WHY (will explain in STEP 02) and establish how soon you feel you can reasonable achieve your goals.
STEP 02. ESTABLISH YOUR ‘WHY’
Why are you running your business in the first place? This should be a deep-rooted intentional purpose (…and no, it’s not likely just about making money… although that is a nice result!). For me, running my business is about my lifestyle. I love being home when my kids get on the bus in the morning and when they arrive home at the end of the school day. I love the flexibility that having a home office allows and the ability to multi-task during the day (switching laundry, taking the dogs for a walk, prepping dinner).
Establishing your WHY should be the primary thought when you make business decisions. Yes, this brings us back to the 01. FOCUS above. See how it all works together?
STEP 03. Create 3-, 6- or 12-Month Goals
In order to determine what you should be doing next week, you need to start out with your longer-term goals. For me, I begin this exercise by determining 3-month goals because I know that I can easily see what’s on our calendar for the next 3 months between our kid’s soccer schedule, my husband’s and I travel schedule, holiday schedule and all the other things we enjoy doing! I break down longer term goals into these 4 simple areas:
- INCOME GOALS | We have a family budget that my husband I set and in order to keep that budget consistent, I know what my monthly contribution needs to be.
- NEW CLIENT GOALS | Having a goal with a focus on the number of new clients should be a priority because each client represents a range of income that will likely support those income goals from above.
- BRANDING GOALS | So often, I can get sidetracked by a pretty new font, color, style… and then I find myself drawn to that as I brand new items for my business. Establishing a flow from my current brand elements to another set must be intentional for me (since I’m a website designer, I know I need to set the example). So, my branding goals are based on adding new elements, colors, styles and graphics that will support my current brand. Plus, it’s ALWAYS fun to have something new to play with in my brand kit.
- SOCIAL MEDIA GOALS | I LOVE Instagram because it feeds my creative soul, it satisfies my social needs and connecting, sharing and engaging comes naturally to me there. My social goals are not just about posting so many times a week or following so many businesses a week, but rather about engagement. I don’t just want to be on Instagram or any social media platform just to be there, I want to use Instagram as a tool to establish myself, my brand and my offerings (without being overtly irritating).
STEP 04. Break Long-Term Goals into Achievable Goals
Now that you’ve establish longer-term goals, we need to create achievable goals that can be accomplished daily, weekly and monthly. For the goals established in STEP 02. above, I want you to now add 2-4 smaller goals under each of those.
For example, if you want to establish 10 NEW CLIENTS in 3-months, then perhaps your Achievable Goals will be:
- Create a free digital download that reaches 200 people via social media
- Set up a Facebook group that reaches 250 members
- Add 5 past clients to a new referral program
Before I tell you anything else, stop reading this article, go grab your calendar and block off some time in the next few days to focus on establish some achievable (and measurable!) business goals!