Setting goals for your business is never a bad thing. Right?
Wrong. You could end up setting the wrong goals for your business. This mistake can lead to feeling confused and unsure about what you’re trying to achieve.
And nothing kills motivation faster than having unclear goals or plans that don’t mean anything to you.
So what works when choosing firm goals for your business? Here are four things you should consider.
1. Consider your professional AND your personal goals.
Making money isn’t everything. Choosing firm goals for your business can also help make your personal goals and dreams come true. For example, maybe you want to spend more time enjoying your favorite hobby such as playing a sport or creating more art. You also need to think about your school work and time with friends.
Legendary animator Walt Disney believed his business allowed him to do what he loved.
“We don’t make movies to make more money,” he once said. “We make money to make more movies.”
Consider the following to help you think beyond business-related issues while choosing firm goals for your business.
- How many hours of school work do you expect to have a day?
- Will I be happy doing this kind of work every day?
- What’s the most amount of hours you want to work during a usual week?
- Which days or time periods do you want to have off?
- Are there certain events you don’t want to miss? (example: family celebrations)
- How does exercise fit into your daily/weekly schedule?
2. Figure out your long-term goals first.
To make sure that the things you are doing every day actually matter to you, figure out where you want to end up. Do you want to make $10,000? Would you like to plant 10,000 trees? Do you want to serve 10,000 customers? Do you want to just have fun? It’s great to dream big, but make sure your goals are the ones you want to end up with. Once you really know what you want, it will be much easier to figure out the steps to get there and the short term goals you need to set.
For goals, we’d like to introduce you to our rule of threes: three years, three months, three weeks.
Break down all your biggest dreams into long-term goals – three years is a good time frame for now. Where do you want to end up in three years?
Three months is a great number to use for shorter-term goals, it gives you enough time to take major steps toward a bigger goal. Three months is also a short enough time period to ensure you can see that you are making progress, and not lose sight of your long-term goal.
When you are ready to get organized, we recommend you break down each short-term goal into actions you can take in a three week period. What you want is to know at all times what you should be doing to meet your goals.
3. Plan before you act.
How can you make any plans, especially when so many things seem beyond your control? That’s where planning steps and actions can help you and your business.
Look, we know – planning is definitely not the most fun part of running a business. But knowing what do do and how you need to do it will go a long way in getting you closer to the bigger dreams that motivate you.
You may not know how much money you are going to make, but you can know what you intend to do. Think of an action plan as something you can control control over. Some examples of actions you can plan for:
- Sending/emailing a certain number of proposals each week
- Following up with customers and/or prospects regularly
- Deciding how often to post on social media
- Blocking your calendar to spend time with family and friends
- Looking up business tips on Rising Innovator or YouTube.
These actions should work for both your short-term and long-term goals. For example, let’s say that you have a three-year goal of making $10,000, and your three-month goal is to get five new clients.
Your three-week goal could then be to send at least six new proposals to help you get new clients, which would bring in more income. So for your three-week goal, you can plan to send at least two proposals a week.
4. It’s great to be ambitious, but it’s important to be realistic, too.
Having a dream or a “stretch” goal can boost your motivation. Imagine setting a business income goal and then doubling that number! Setting this goal can inspire you to work harder to reach that bigger goal. Many entrepreneurs and social media influencers are going to always urge you to “Dream BIG!”
But if a goal is too big, it can also feel overwhelming and make you procrastinate or ditch this goal completely.
The good news is that you can find a balance when choosing bigger goals for your business. For example, your dream goal may be to own a national brownie company that sells baked treats in every grocery store.
Set a more realistic goal by trying to get your brownies in 12 stores by the end of your three-year timetable. Your shorter-term goals could then each be to find one store in three months. But what if you succeed faster than that? There’s nothing wrong with exceeding your goals!
Next Steps for Choosing Firm Goals for Your Business
Now is a great time to take a break from your usual daily routine to think about what you really want to do with your business. Consider:
- Your business and personal goals
- The bigger, long-term picture for your business and what short-term goals will help you get there
- What specific actions to take to make your business dreams come true
- Make sure your goals are both ambitious and realistic
Still having trouble setting goals? We recommend you read about the SMART method for defining them. It’s not so much a technique as it is a useful way of looking over your goals.
Having the right business goals keeps you motivated. The right goals also makes you more likely to not only succeed, but for that success to feel more meaningful when you meet your goals.