Ten helpful tips for easy goal setting
I am often asked, “Why do I need to set goals”? I answer, “Are you a wandering generality or a meaningful specific”? (Thank you Zig Ziglar – I’ve always loved that particular quote!) “Do you want to have a successful business that leads you to live the life you love”? Knowing where you want to go is as important for you, personally, as it is for your business.
Do you ever have a day where you just can’t get down to work? You find yourself flitting from one task to another with little enthusiasm and high distractibility? At the end of the day, you ask yourself, “What did I accomplish today?” And the answer, of course, is nothing! You might as well have never sat down to work at all!
Here are 10 tips—course corrections, if you will—so every day you are a meaningful specific!
1. Clarity is the major key to success. Once you are clear on where you are going, focus on the goals you set to get you there. You’ve heard me say many times:
“Plan the work and work the plan – wake up every day knowing exactly what you have to do. ”
When you are in total clarity, suddenly, your enthusiasm abounds. Nothing is too hard. Opportunities find their way to you. Answers appear. Solutions show up. And you are ready to SOAR.
Take time at the end of every year (smart ones do it quarterly) to strategically think about what (the next quarter or the) next year should look like.
A good exercise is to ask yourself and your team: (This is also useful to ask after sales meetings, employee interactions, events, new launches and more.)
- What worked well this (day, week) year?
- What didn’t work so well?
- What do we need to change?
- What new strategies must we discover to implement and grow?
Success comes from scrutinizing key aspects of your business – and this applies whether you are a solo or the head of a large corporation.
2. SALES DRIVE YOUR BUSINESS: Either your business is growing or it’s not. Revenue only goes up or down. True, there are years it stays even. Because of the pandemic, you might be experiencing one of those years, or even a downturn. Some businesses are thriving during this difficult time because they pivoted early, or are in industries whose products and services are in demand and they know how to take advantage of it.
Ask yourself: “Am I thriving or dying, or something in between? If my business is thriving, what am I learning that will make it even better next year?
- Are the products and services you offered, the services your prospective clients and want to buy? (if so, revenue is up)
- Did you have the right mix of offerings? Are you appealing to the clients you want to serve? (if so, revenue is up)
- Are your customers following the path you want to take them on, and are your offerings geared to taking them there? (if so, revenue is up)
If you answered no to these questions, own up to the reality that your business is dying, or it is not where you want it to be. Ask, how do I pivot to a new model, approach or change? If your business is not providing you the benefits you desire, perhaps you are in the wrong business. Tiny shifts in perspective can monumentally alter how you view the work you do.
3. OPERATING EFFICIENTLY: If you take the temperature of your business at least 4 times during the year, when your (fiscal) year ends, there should be no surprises.
Ask yourself: “Am I delivering on the promises I make to my customers?
- When customers start working with me, do they remain customers for many years?
- Are my customers sending me referrals?
- Are the systems in place so we don’t lose productivity in providing our services and products?
- Is our technology up to date and easy to use?
- Are we in the right position to take advantage of opportunities that come our way?
- Do we manage by the numbers?
4. ACTION STEPS: This is tricky. Actions can mean so many things: values, employee engagement, acting on opportunities, taking risks when called for.
Ask yourself? “Do we have the right strategies in place so our actions stand up to our values?
- If we asked our employees how they feel about working for us, would the answers be in synch with what we believe our management style is?
- If we asked our customers how they feel about working with us, would the answers be in synch with how we believe we serve them?
- Do the attitudes our employees, customers, vendors and professionals experience with us, stand up against the actions we portray?
5. RESULTS: In the end, results speak for themselves.
Ask yourself? “Have we created relationships that help us achieve the results we set out to accomplish? “
- If we ask our colleagues to nominate us for an award, would they be willing to go out of their way to help us win?
- If we ask for help because we’re struggling during the pandemic, would our vendors give us different terms?
- If we need a loan to help us through, will our banker know us by name?
6. GOAL SETTING: After analyzing the answers to all those questions, begin to set goals for the new year. I’ve worked with business owners who think goals are unnecessary. It looks to me like their daily work is harder. I’m all for streamlining effort. Goals are simply placeholders for accomplishments. Think about goals in each of the areas of the SOAR for Success formula. (Take the SOAR for Success Quiz on my website and discover any gaps that exist: https://gailzelitzky.com)
Key success areas:
It doesn’t matter if you are a solo or you run a business with employees, each area impacts your success. When you take the time to stop and closely analyze your business, then you have the opportunity to realign, reimagine and rediscover your (and your business’s) unlimited potential – all before you find there is none.
Try to set at least 3 goals in each area. I feel silly even saying this, write them down! When you keep goals in your head you make it harder on yourself. A written plan takes away stress and makes room for clarity. Clarity and focus drive your success. Seek power, precision and profit and continuously ask yourself, “how do I make that happen?”
7. And, don’t laugh. I still set SMART GOALS. What is a SMART goal? It is a goal that is: Specific. Measurable. Actionable. Realistic. Time-based.
Vague goals cannot be measured. No goal is worthwhile if you can’t identify how you will know when you reach it.
Pie-in-the-sky goals do not serve anyone, least of all you! Every goal should be able to be implemented and acted on.
8. Measurable Goals. Goals that are too much of a stretch only serve to frustrate you. You want to celebrate success. Don’t make them too easy and don’t make them too hard! Stretch, yes. Anguish, no. An important part of measuring goals is to set a date for completion. Always note the date you expect to accomplish the goal.
9. Implementation is your key to your success. You can write down all the goals you want. If you are unable to take the steps necessary to complete them, nothing happens. In setting goals you should ask, WHO? Who is going to work on them? Part of being realistic is identifying how the work gets done and if the answer is always you, chances are part of your plan will not succeed. WHAT? In what ways will the goals be achieved? What needs to happen, in what order and by whom?
10. Tangible Goals are not vague or indifferent. They are able to be communicated in clear language that leaves no room for confusion.
Now it’s up to you to put the plan in action. It’s very simple, really. Especially if you are clear on where you are going, what is most important to you, and how you are willing to live your life.
Need help in identifying and setting the right goals for you? Worried about implementation? Click here for a 30-minute, private, complementary coaching. I will respond with a brief form for you to complete. We can then find time to talk and discuss options so that you can be sure to lead the life that is right for you.