Most Small Business Owners get caught up in the day-to-day running of their business and at the end of each year nothing much has changed from the previous year/s. If things have changed then its not usually because they have done anything in particular, its usually because organically they have had to change to keep up with customer demands or the changing of laws etc.
Every year around the Christmas and New Year period we think to ourselves, this year is going to be different. This year I am going to make changes and then things get busy and we don’t do anything different or make those changes we want to make.
At the beginning of 2015 I sat down and wrote my goals for Dynamic Bookkeeping, Ask the Bookkeeper and sonyanoonan.com, I even spent a few days doing some planning around them. Then the book I wrote them in went on the bookshelf only to be pulled out today as I am writing this blog.
For Dynamic Bookkeeping I had 12 goals set, I have achieved 1, got 90% of others done and didn’t even start some.
For Ask the Bookkeeper I had set 5 goals, I have achieved 2, another one is 60% done and the others haven’t even been started.
For sonyanoonan.com I had set 6 goals, I have got 80%of one done and the rest haven’t even been started.
So what did I do wrong? The main thing that I did wrong is that I never really kept an eye on my goals. I wrote them out, thought about them for a while, doing a little bit of work around them and then put them in the bookcase never to look at them again (until today).
I have drifted through 2015, coping with what has been ‘thrown’ at me and juggled things the best I could. So I have decided to take control of things and move forward in the direction I WANT to go in 2016 and not drift to where I am taken.
Its time to take control! If nothing changed for you in the next 5 to 10 years, would that be ok? If it would then, great, keep doing what you are doing. If its not ok then you need to be willing to take action, to make changes, you can’t keep doing what you are doing now and expect things to change.
Assess your business and your personal life
First of all you need to assess things as they currently are. Lets look at some questions you can ask yourself.
- Are you missing anything in your life right now that is important to you?
- Do you know what you are passionate about?
- Are you well organised?
- Do you know how to focus on your top priorities and get a lot done every day?
- Do you have a strategic plan for your work and personal life with time lines and quantifiable measurements?
- Do you have ample time for family, social relationships and feel good about the balance you have achieved?
- Do you exercise regularly?
- Do you achieve your income goals regularly?
- Where am I right now in my business?
- Where do I want to be in my business?
- What could I improve upon? (what isn’t working right now?)
- What could I double down on? (what is working right now?)
- What are a few of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the past year?
- What do I already have knowledge / expertise doing? (doesn’t have to be something you’re currently doing in your business, it could be anything)
- Based on everything I’ve written down (my answers to each of the previous questions), what are a few recurring themes?
- Based on those recurring themes, what SMART goals can I set in order to make the biggest impact over the next year?
The breakdown of goals
Goals can be either personal goals or business goals. For most people these goals combine to make them whole. In other words, you can’t really have personal goals without setting business goals and there is no reason to set business goals if its not going to help you personally.
Lets look at each area.
Personal Goals can be broken down to the following areas:
- Financial Income and Investments – where do you want to be in 5 years? Do you want to own a house, have investments, earning a certain amount of money?
- Physical – health and appearance – how many times do you want to exercise each week? What weight goal do you have?
- Personal Development – knowledge, education, self-improvement – how many books do you want to read? What courses do you want to take?
- Family – relationship to others, development of children, where do you want to live?
- Spiritual – church involvement, personal commitment, theological understanding
- Social – increased number of friends, community involvement.
- Career – ambitions, dreams, hopes
- Service – goals related to improving customer service satisfaction or customer retention
- Social – goals that focus on giving back to the community, through philanthropy or volunteer organisations
- Profit – goals set to increase profit by a certain percentage
- Growth – goals related to the expansion of the company, through new employee etc.
Setting long term goals
When starting to set your goals you need to start with your long-term goals. If you have no idea where you want to be in 5 years time, it makes it hard for you to know where you want to be in 12 months time.
Using the areas listed above, write out where you want to be for each area of the personal and business goals. Be very specific.
I have created a worksheet for you to work through while doing this task. You can download it at the bottom of this blog.
Goals for the next 12 months
Once you have set your long term goals, you then need to break them down, so that you can work out what you need to do in the next 12 months to start moving towards your 5 year goals. You have to get really specific.
For example, one of your personal goals for the next 5 years may be to have an income of $100,000 a year. How are you going to achieve this? What steps do you need to take? Do you need to get a new job? Do you need to start a business? If you already have a business, what do you need to change in your business to achieve this type of income from it?
Once you have down WHAT you have to do to achieve your 5-year goal, you then need to work out HOW you are going to achieve it. If its get a new job, what are you qualified for? How can you get a job that earns you that type of money? If its increase income in your business, what do you need to do to increase that income?
These goals need to become SMART goals.
Setting SMART goals.
For goals to work they need to be SMART goals.
- Specific – in order to work, objectives need to be concrete (not as abstract as your long-term aims) and highly detailed
- Measurable – put a figure or value, such as a dollar amount or percentage, to the objective
- Actionable – lay out which actions need to be taken by which people and when
- Realistic – make your goals challenging, but consider your resources so that you can actually achieve them reasonably.
- Time specific – set a deadline to keep things on track
For example, one of your goals is to grow your business. This is very much a broad goal. So lets break it down.
- Specific – I will acquire three new clients for my consulting business
- Measurable – I will measure my progress by how many new clients I bring on, while maintaining my current client base
- Actionable – I will ask current clients for referrals, launch a social media marketing campaign and network with local businesses
- Realistic – adding additional clients to my business will allow me to brow my business and increase my revenue.
- Time specific – I will have three new clients within two months
So your SMART goal is: I will acquire three new clients for my consulting business within two months by asking for referrals, launching a social media marketing campaign and networking with local businesses. This will allow me to grow my business and increase my revenue.
I have a worksheet that you can download that will take you through setting your SMART Goals. You can download it at the bottom of this blog.
Once you have spent the time going through your goals, setting them, and working out the steps involved. It is a good idea to get someone to hold you accountable towards those goals. Find a business colleague, a friend, a business coach, someone who will be good at holding you accountable while sharing in your vision with you. Being accountable to someone will make you stay focused on your goals and help you better achieve them.
In 2016 I will be running an Accountability Program. If you are interested in more information on this email me – email@example.com
I would love to hear about your goals for 2016. You can leave a comment below or email me – firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on my Facebook page or Tweet me a message.