Every year, millions of people make goals with the intention of improving their lives. For some, these goals are just loose guidelines that maybe they’ll accomplish within the year. For others, it’s a part of a larger mission for improvement on the path to success.
If you’re a small business owner, you’re undoubtedly a part of the latter group.
But just because you set a goal for yourself and your business doesn’t mean you’ll actually get around to doing them. Believe it or not, there is a “right” way of setting attainable business goals for yourself. With the help of the Big Picture Planner, we’ll show you how you can turn your goals into reality.
Don’t set yourself up for failure by creating unattainable goals. You know the kinds we’re talking about. Goals like participating in the Ironman but you don’t own a pair of running shoes or know how to swim. It’s okay to have high hopes and lofty aspirations for your business, but take a moment to asses your current operations and think really hard if doing that triathlon is actually feasible.
But maybe you know better than to create ridiculous goals for yourself. Maybe you do stick to realistic goals but you make dozens of them. Also not a good idea. The more goals you make for yourself (especially small daily ones), the harder it will be for you to accomplish them.
You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with too many small goals, but you also don’t want to create these huge unrealistic goals. You’ll end up accomplishing neither.
Stop generalizing your goals.
So you want to make more money this year. Who doesn’t! The question is how much money you want to make.
Creating a general, all-encompassing goal is a surefire way to not accomplish it. If you can’t completely visualize or measure your goal, you won’t achieve it. Simply saying you want to make more money this year or increase your sales won’t cut it. Dive into the numbers. Quantify the desired outcome.
Be as descriptive and detailed as you can possibly be. A detailed objective will repeatedly remind you of what your finish line looks like. The more specific you can get, the more likely it is you’ll achieve your business goals.
Bonus: If increasing your blog or social media traffic or engagement is high on your goals list, The Big Picture contains a yearly blog & social media stats tracker, so you can see where you may need to focus your next action steps. Numbers are always your friend.
Set time-sensitive objectives.
In a world of a hundred potential distractions, it’s easy to get led astray by other tasks that suddenly become “more important” than what we should really be working on.
Always set due dates for yourself. Due dates ensure that you don’t get too sidetracked during your workday by pesky (but amusing) cat videos, memes, and any other workflow-interruptions that may cross your computer screen.
Goals and projects without completion times will largely go unaccomplished. Instead of saying, “I want to start my wedding photography business this year,” create distinct targets, such as “I will launch my wedding photography website by June 30th.”
No matter what your business goal may be, you have to set a clear date by which to achieve it.
Milestones are a great way to keep yourself in check as you’re working towards your time-sensitive, quantifiable goal. They’re the mini finish lines you have to pass that bring you one step closer to your final objective.
So how do you go about creating these milestones?
Let’s say you want to make $X in sales for the year. You’d then break that larger goal down into smaller, more achievable chunks on a quarterly basis. You could even go further and segment that amount into monthly and weekly goals.
Your milestones will help you track your progress and help you stay motivated as you move closer to your final goal.
Write them down!
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s not enough to just vocalize or think about your goals. Write them down! Aside from it taking up less (highly valuable) head space, one of the benefits of writing out your goals is that it can lead you to create a better one - one that is clear and cohesive.
If you spend a little time to jot down your list of goals, you might end up discovering insights behind your objectives. Maybe you’ll realize you only wrote down one goal to please others, or you’ll see that another is more meaningful to you and you’ll make it a priority.
Writing down your goals will bring clarity to your process. In addition, you’ll always have something to refer back to every so often to track your progress.
Among its many features, the Big Picture Planner comes equipped with four quarterly action plans to help guide you implement your business objectives. Each quarter, you’ll start with a big picture goal, then list out smaller ideas and tasks for that goal, prioritize tasks in order, and then choose which month to implement your tasks.
We recommend setting aside some time at the end of each quarter to review your accomplishments from the previous quarter and set new goals for the one upcoming.
Remember: the Big Picture is completely fillable, so there’s no pressure about following a traditional calendar year.
Setting realistic and achievable business goals are at the heart of any good business strategy. Sick of making resolutions or declarations and never reaching them? Utilize these tips to create effective plans and tasks that will take your success (and peace of mind) to the next level.
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