As we wend our way through September with all it’s new horizons and new term feel, I thought it might be good to look at goal setting. During my time in the corporate world, this exercise was super simple – it was quantitative overload – I had to live and breath financial targets with lots of number crunching to get me there along the way. I understand that this was just how that world worked and of course, it was important. However, when you run your own business, the way you measure success may change. I sometimes speak to small business owners who still apply the corporate model in it’s pure form and other times I meet small business owners who are only interested if their quality of life goals are met.
However, it can be difficult to set goals that work in your business – goals that are achievable, realistic and measurable. Of course, it is important to understand your financial situation and crucial to understand how you can keep them on track, but many of us have other measures of success when we set up our own business. Maybe you wanted to grow organically or not grow at all. Maybe your business is all about work life balance. Perhaps you hated the pressure of targets in a previous work life so avoid target setting all together.
The thing we all want is for our businesses to do what we want them to in the way that suits us and so setting some goals is a useful if not crucial way to help us stay on track, focussed and content with our journey. Here are few great goals to think about setting in your business. Pick and choose the ones you think fit your business but remember – when you set them make it achievable, measurable and realistic.
- Simple finances – so not original but fairly crucial unless your business is purely lifestyle and you don’t need an income from it (even then you need to not get into debt). Think about what you want your business to do for you. Are you looking for rapid growth or an organic growth that will fit in with living your life. Work out what you need to bring in each month to pay the bills and make a profit and add that number to your plan. Teaming this with a cashflow chart is ideal so you can keep track of any changes in outgoings or costs.
- Customer numbers – to grow your business at the rate you want and that you manage well, knowing how many customers you want is a great way to start. For example, how many coffee drinkers do you want each day in your cafe or how many commissions can you manage in a month. This not only means you stay on track but you can also relax and enjoy your customers once you hit target, knowing you are giving them the best attention. It is also a great target to watch in case there comes a time when you need to get help to manage more customers.
- Time off – yes time off! If you set up your business to create a better work life balance then targeting days off is a priority. It is all too easy to love our work so much that we slip into bad habits and before you know it you haven’t had a break in 6 months. If your ‘days off’ plan works with the goals above, then it should be plain sailing.
- Arriving somewhere – this is the dream of where you want to arrive. Maybe you want to be chosen for a particular exhibition or you want to be good enough to speak at a special event. Perhaps you always wanted to see your business mentioned in a favourite magazine. This won’t happen by itself so create a pathway of goals to get you there. You could start to follow key decision makers on LinkedIn or Twitter or perhaps start to write blog posts to get you noticed. It could be that you simply and persistently improve your skills to ensure you are taking the right steps towards your goal, however long term.
- A huge, longterm goal – this one may seem irrelevant to your day to day but in fact it is often crucial to keep you going in bad times or inspire you in good times. Think back to your ultimate goal – the one that got your started. Do you want to be the best in your field or write a book about your life? Maybe you want to make enough cash to have a holiday home or retire at 50. What ever your dream is – have a permanent reminder for everyday – a picture on the wall or mood board of dreams. It could simply be a note on your fridge – but look at it every day to remind you to take baby steps every single day towards your ultimate goal to ensure you don’t forget it along the way.
Happy goal setting and find out more about how we celebrate, support & inspire stand out indie businesses in Great Britain.