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Five top tips for setting effective goals for your small business

Five top tips for setting effective goals for your small business

Posted: Tue 18th Feb 2020

You're probably familiar with the concept of goals and goal setting. It is pretty clear why people set goals - if you know where you're going, you're more likely to get there. It gives you clarity and helps you focus. And yet, for various reasons, we don't always achieve our ambitions.

Sometimes the reason is that we don't set the goals in the most powerful and empowering way.

If you follow the five tops tips below, you will have a much higher chance of achieving your desired outcomes.

1. Emotional connection

It may seem strange to talk about feelings in the context of business, but if we're not excited about a goal we're much less likely to achieve it. Whether we like it or not, humans are emotional rather than rational beings and we simply have to use our rational part of the brain to trick the emotional part into doing what has to be done.

If you don't feel excited about a goal, think about the emotion that achieving this goal will create, the way you will feel about yourself. Think about what the achieved goal will give you and what will become possible once the goal is reached.

It's also important to connect a smaller goal to the bigger "why", the purpose or mission of your company, since chances are that the business mission resonates with you emotionally (if not, we need to talk).

2. Clarity and focus

It's important to have a specific idea of what you want to achieve. If the goal is vague, you won't know if you're getting closer. You should be able to know once you get there, so it's great if it's something you can measure.

Sometimes our goals seem to sit on a sliding scale, so we say "I will earn more from my workshops" or "I will have fewer lost leads". This isn't too helpful, as you selling one extra ticket to a workshop technically counts as more. Instead, have a specific target.

If your goal is not easily measurable, such as "to be a great boss", think about ways that will signal to you that you're getting there, such as feedback from your team.

3. Strong expression

The words we use matter greatly. When you write down or say your goal, make sure you use phrases such as "I will" or "we will" rather than "will try" or "would like to".

Make sure you express the goal in positive rather than negative terms. For example, instead of saying "I will not work with clients who are disrespectful", say "I will only work with clients that are respectful."

If you are clear about your goal, you should easily remember and express it in a sentence. Practise saying it out loud with conviction.

4. Systems

Some say that habits beat goals. Really, it's not one of the other, but both. Once you have a clear goal that you are emotionally connected to it's time to come up with a plan. I don't mean creating a new Trello board (although you can if you want to), but simply coming up with some regular routines that will get you to your goal.

While the end goal may not be fully in your control (10 new clients this month), your habits and routines are in your control (make two calls every morning at 9:30 am). You don't need to worry about the big goal as long as you stick to your small and regular steps.

When you think of daily or weekly habits, think about making this process enjoyable for yourself and you will be more likely to stick to it.

5. Commitment and accountability

Finally, you have to make a commitment. If there is a way to take the first step immediately, do it. For example, if your aim is to have three public speaking engagements, send a few emails now asking about opportunities, before you start doubting yourself.

We are social beings who want to look good in front of their peers, so the best way to make sure you do something is to tell someone you really respect and don't want to disappoint.

Another way is to create an accountability system, which could be with a peer group, a mentor or a business coach - someone who you trust to give you a kick if you lose your enthusiasm and remind you why this goal is important to you.

 
 

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