I learned the hard way that it is tough to grow a business without setting goals. Here is what that felt like:
Let’s imagine for a moment that you got into your car for a road trip without any idea where you wanted to go. Then imagine that you drive around in circles, frustrated because you didn’t get anywhere.
However, lots of people launch a new business without setting goals. I actually did! I didn’t know any better, as I had a lot of doubts in the beginning that my business was even viable.
Creative and craft business owners learn most business skills on the job. Learning how to set effective goals is one of those things.
Have you wondered how to set goals for your business?
It’s tempting with business goals to simply set an income or a revenue goal, and pat yourself on the back that the goal setting stuff is DONE!
What’s the problem?
The problem with goals like revenue, or income, is that they often lead to negative feelings – frustration, disappointment or insecurity.
WHAT? How does setting a revenue goal make someone feel insecure?
Because income is the result of several things, some of which are out of your control. If the goal is to hit an income goal (let’s say $10K / month) and even if you obsess every day about reaching that goal, there is a chance you won’t hit the goal. If you miss your goals, it’s pretty likely that the goal setter (you) will feel badly and get discouraged.
Two Types of Goals
So, what’s the secret to setting goals? Before I get into that, there are two types of goals.
1. Goals focused on an outcome (example – income)
2. Goals focused on actions (stuff you do).
The BEST goals are those that are based on things you control (your actions) when done consistently lead to the outcome you want.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you want to lose 10 lbs.
If you obsess each day about your weight, and even weigh yourself multiple times a day, you aren’t focused on actions that you control.
Alternatively, You might discover that to lose 10 lbs, you have to track your food each day, and stay under a specific calorie amount. The actual goal that you should focus on is the action you control – tracking your food and limiting to the calorie total.
What are Good Business Goals?
With business, there are many actions that a business owner could take to reach an income goal, but typically a select few have the biggest impact on the income that results. For example, prospecting activities to connect with potential buyers are very effective at increasing sales.
So, in the business example, I suggest setting two goals:
- The first goal is the outcome goal (income) that you set initially and then stop focusing on.
- The second goal is the breakdown of the actions that you have to take to reach the outcome goal, and keep the daily focus on that goal.
So What’s the Secret?
The SECRET to setting goals can be summarized this way:
- Understand that there are TWO types of goals – those that are based the actions you take and those that are the outcome or result of those actions
- Most people focus on the result or outcome goals, and while its ok to set those goals, you also have to set a complementary goal that is based on the actions you take to reach the outcome goal
- Each day when you revisit and focus on your goals, pay attention to the action goal, and what you can do TODAY to make progress on that