Goal setting for your business is easy. All you need is a blank sheet of paper, a nice sharp pencil, and a good 5 minutes to write them all down.
The hard part comes when you actually try and achieve those goals.
For most people, after they’ve set a goal, they go back to their day to day routines, fall into old habits, and become frustrated when they can’t seem to get very far in accomplishing what they set out to achieve.
It’s similar to saying that you want to go to the beach this weekend, it’s a four-hour drive away, but then you don’t write down the directions on how to get there.
Goal setting is more than identifying where you want to go, you have to know how to get there.
Just as importantly, we need to understand why we are setting our goals in the first place, otherwise our brains will kick into cruise-control mode, and convince us that our goals weren’t all that important to begin with.
Jeff Shore, contributor at Entrepreneur, says that, “accomplishing a goal requires two very specific brain functions. Reaching your goals starts with motivation — the “why” — and moves on to execution — the “how.” In the absence of a clear why, the how becomes irrelevant. On the other hand, if you have a compelling why but no sense of how, you will be likewise ineffective.”
Now, if you’re like most business owners, you may have a rough idea of why you’re setting a particular goal; it may be to drive more revenue, gain more market share, expand operations, or develop a new product.
But the missing piece for a lot of businesses, are the specifics on how these goals will actually be reached, as well as why reaching them is important.
The Why’s and How of Goal Setting
When you develop your list of goals, it’s important to get into the details of how each goal will be accomplished.
The more detail and planning that goes into this activity, the higher the likelihood that you will accomplish it, will be.
Even if you aren’t entirely sure yet on how you will accomplish something, it’s still important to take your best, educated, guess as to how you will take your first steps.
This way, your goal won’t end up a distant memory, and your business in the exact same place it was when you first started the whole process.
Identify the Goal’s Why
When developing goals for their business, business owners are often making them based off of a lot of inputs.
For example, driving more revenue is a pretty specific goal on the surface, however the why behind this goal is still vague.
Do you want to drive more revenue so that you can afford to take on more help, expand services, or branch out into a new market?
Understanding what the increased revenue will be for, is an important metric to understand so that you can measure your success against it.
Otherwise, in a super-vague plan, increasing by just $1.00 is a win, right?
So, for each of your goals, write out the why’s behind them, and be as specific as possible.
You’re looking to capture all of the ways that your business would be bigger, better, and stronger after having reached the goal.
Identify the Goal’s How
Once you’ve identified the why behind each of your businesses goals, the next step is to start mapping out how you are going to reach them.
Start with the big picture, and indicate what success looks like at the end of the road.
Then, once you have a clear picture of success, start to work backwards and identify what steps you need to take in order to get to your picture of success.
Let’s say you want to increase revenue by $100,000 in the next 4 months. You’ve already established why you want to accomplish this, so now you need to work out how you are going to accomplish it.
What steps do you need to take in order to make that happen?
Who is responsible to take action on each step, and what are the tasks or deliverables for each step along the way?
It is important to be as detailed as possible when you are mapping everything out so that there is clarity, and the ability to measure successes along the way.
Next, with all of the steps indicated, you want to go back through each one and start to look closely to see how long each step will take.
Finally, you can break down each timeframe into blocks, so that you can work from the ‘map’ that you just created, and use this to plan out your months, weeks, and days from the time you created the goal to the time that it will be completed.
The important thing to remember is that if you want to accomplish your goals, understanding the why behind them is only half of the process.
But if you can also uncover the how, and map it out, then you will be able to follow the path to success that you’ve laid out for yourself.