With all the fan fare of New Year resolutions and everyone talking about setting goals, do you ever wonder if it’s an exercise in futility? After all, why keep setting lofty goals you don’t hit in your business?
I find if you just set goals from a place of wishful thinking it can easily set you up for failure in your business. However, understanding your past can help you discover the right goals for your future and set you up for success.
Here are 9 key questions that will help reveal a better approach to goal setting for your business this year:
1. What were the key goals in your business and life you set out to achieve this past year?
It’s important to have these answers right in front of you here to help you better answer the rest of the questions below. If you can’t rattle off this list quickly, it’s because you probably never wrote it down in the first place. If that’s you … reminder #1 — write down your goals this year 🙂
2. Looking back were these the right achievable stretch goals for you at this season in your life and business?
Donald, a new client I started coaching recently, shared a key outcome goal he wanted me to help him with. His stretch goal this year was to grow his 6 Million Dollar business to a 9 Million Dollar business. Donald shared he struggled to stay focused on his daily to-do list. He thought if he got better at focusing on finishing his projects that alone could add the additional 3 Million in growth.
In my feedback I shared with Donald that it did not seem like the right goal to pursue for the season of life he was in. He already told me his wife wanted him to be home more for her and their three young daughters. Pursuing the goal of getting more tasks done was directly opposite to his family goal of being home with them more.
It was also not the right goal for the season he was in his business. Donald already had 10 employees. He had resources available to him that he was not fully leveraging. After some discussion Donald realized “getting more things done” was an unwise goal for him to pursue. The better stretch goal for Donald was to focus on teaching his 10 employees how to get Donald’s to do list done.
3. Which goals did you achieve this past year?
What were your wins this year? Celebrate those achievements no matter how small.
Think about even those seemingly “small” problems you succeeded in solving. One problem I had a few years ago was that I get way too achy sitting at my desk all day. I asked my husband Tom to rig up my treadmill, so I could ergonomically work on my laptop while I walk. Just celebrating a small win like getting on the treadmill 5 days a week has helped me start each day in a positive direction.
4. What is the biggest factor you would attribute to achieving your goals this year?
Give yourself credit for what you did right. I’m sure you know the wisdom in leveraging your strengths. So, it’s important to take the time to review the strengths you have demonstrated this year. You may even be surprised to discover new strengths that emerged in recent months.
If you can’t come up with at least five strengths ask other people to tell you what they think are your strengths. You can also take a fun strength-finder assessment.
5. What goals did you NOT achieve this year?
If you did not achieve every goal this year — welcome to the club. Make peace with the fact that almost 100% of high achieving entrepreneurs do not accomplish every goal they wrote for the year. At the same time, it’s important to note which goals you didn’t yet achieve and prioritize them higher or lower for this upcoming year.
6. Identify what was out of your control that got in the way of unachieved goals.
While you don’t want to let yourself fall into the blame game, you also don’t want to swing too far the other direction and beat yourself up when you had factors that were out of your control.
For example, a year ago I was excited to roll out plans to launch some brand new programs designed especially for my solopreneur audience. But, then I discovered I had a high toxic level of mercury poisoning. It greatly impaired my vision for five months which Ophthalmologists could not correct. As a result I had to move my launch date goals five to six months later than I originally anticipated.
What about you? What obstacles did you have this past year that were out of your control?
7. What would you do differently, knowing what you know now, to help you achieve those same goals this year?
It is easy to want to hit the ground running as fast you as you can, especially in the New Year. But, if you keep on doing what you did, you’ll keep on getting what you got. As entrepreneurs, it’s critically important to take the time to pause, reflect and evaluate the past twelve months in order to discover how you should best move forward the next twelve months.
8. What valuable lessons did you learn this year?
Here is the opportunity for you to put into practice the famous quote:
Likewise, we can also learn from our successes. Facebook guru Amy Porterfield shared on her podcast show, that she noticed the year she decided to invest in herself through a high level mastermind group program is the year her business truly took off. She attributes the valuable lessons she learned came from being in a mastermind group.
9. What can you do now in your business that you could not do one year ago?
It’s important to measure and acknowledge the progress you’ve made. Seeing progress feeds further progress. Employee engagement experts agree that employee productivity is in direct proportion to the level of progress employees felt they were making in their work. As entrepreneurs, we should apply this same productivity principle to our own businesses.
Write down a list of all the areas you have made measurable progress. Maybe a year ago you did not know how to generate leads on LinkedIn, and now you do. Or perhaps a year ago your business did not have the cash flow to hire a marketing assistant, but now you do.
Before you start making new goals for the New Year be sure to assess the old goals you set last year. I invite you to carve out a block of time in your calendar this week or perhaps even right now to take action on answering these 9 questions thoughtfully. Abraham Lincoln once said,
Everywhere you look, there are so many success stories of other small business owners who started from a simple idea to creating a thriving, profitable business they love. Their big achievements can make entrepreneurship look so easy, but the truth is they all went through a series a learning curves and had to overcome real challenges along the way.
If you’re not where you want to be in your business, you’ve got to first decide you are going to do something different to change. After all, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.
[Definition of insanity]: Doing the same thing while expecting a different outcome.
So, how do you get from where you are in your small business to where you want to be Here are 6 simple steps you can take action on today to get you closer to creating a thriving and profitable business you love. How to Get From Where You Are in Your Business to Where You Want to Be
1. Write down your dream outcome goal and your why.
If you want to transform your business you’re going to have to make some changes. But, change is hard because it requires you to get out of your comfort zone. It’s even harder to
change if you aren’t super clear what you’re doing it for. That’s why it’s super important to paint a very specific picture of what your dream outcome goal looks like.
It’s not enough to say you want to grow your business to give your family a better life. Use the SMART goal method to help you be more specific. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound).
Here’s an excerpt from what I wrote down in 1998 when I was starting a new business and starting our family at the same time.
Dream Outcome Goal – SMART
Get my new business to generate half a million a year in revenues within the first 3 years.
That was the number that would pay the bills, maintain cash flow for the business and pay off my mortgage to be debt free.
Do this while working part time (15-20 hours per week) by year 3.
Having grown up with parents who both worked overtime every week (because they had to) I desperately did not want to miss out on those special toddler years with my own kids.
With God’s help I was able to hit my two dream outcome goals by year 4. I know I would have definitely not hit these goals if I stated it in general terms like “I want to make more money and work less than I do now while making an impact in people’s lives”. Writing down specific target numbers I wanted to hit and what was at stake for me (my WHY) helped me stay laser focused.
2. Write down 3 things you know you should START doing and start doing them.
Pretty profound stuff isn’t it? I find with all of us, there are a lot of little basic common sense kind of stuff that we all know in the back of our minds that we should do. The first thing that keeps us from doing it is because we aren’t writing it down. If it’s something important enough to do, it’s important enough to write down. It reminds us to get it done. After all, knowing what to do never changes anything. We have to actually execute.
So, go ahead and write down all the easy stuff you know you should do. If you’re lacking energy it might be as basic as drink 64 oz of water every day, do a 30 min exercise routine every Tues-Thurs-Sat. and eat more fruits and veggies each day. If you know you should delegate more because you’re working way too many hours, then start delegating 5 hours of tasks off your plate or even just 1 to 2 hours to start.
3. Write down 3 things you know you should STOP doing and stop doing them.
If you’re not where you want to be in your business there’s something you’re doing wrong and you need to stop doing it. Because whatever you’re doing is not taking you where you want to be.
Here’s a short list of what some of my small business clients have shared with me they know they should stop doing:
Stop doing your own bookkeeping. Hire one.
Stop being a perfectionist. It’s making tasks take way more time than it needs to take.
Stop doing repetitive tasks. Start automating it.
Stop working “in” the business, so you can work “on” the business each day.
Stop saying yes to everything. Protect your time.
Stop worrying about what might happen. You can’t worry and achieve peak performance at the same time.
What about you? What are those things you already know you should stop doing? Write them down and commit to stop doing those things that are undermining your own success.
4. Write down the 1 biggest challenge you’ve been struggling with in your business for the longest time.
I can’t think of any great success story where the person did not have to overcome a big challenge. Get clear at identifying what is the biggest challenge that has been getting in the way of your business success.
5. Write down 3 things you tried to do to overcome that challenge.
Just doing this one exercise alone has helped many of my business coaching clients come up with better ways to overcome their challenge all on their own. There is power of clarity that comes from simply writing down and assessing what you’ve tried so far to overcome your biggest challenge.
6. Write down 3 people you could seek out who has the expertise you’re missing.
Mature people know what their expertise is in and what their expertise is not in. Immature people (or prideful people) try to figure everything out on their own.
Your area of expertise may be as a lawyer or as a healthcare practitioner or as a relationship coach, etc. If you know you are not yet an expert in marketing or sales or in scaling your business, what’s stopping you from seeking out those experts?
Somebody out there knows what you need to do to get you from where you are to where you want to be. What successful entrepreneurs do is when they don’t know how to solve something,
they don’t waste months or years trying to figure it out on their own. They seek out others who have expertise in overcoming those challenges.
In closing, I want to encourage you to take action on these 6 steps today. I also invite you to take a small step of accountability and share your progress on my brand new Ask Yoon page. You can also post questions that come up for you during the process.
QUESTION: What is your greatest takeaway from this blog article? Please share your comments below.
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