Carefully Considered and Written Goals May Dramatically Increase Your Overall Success
My mom used to say: “You’re going off half-cocked.” Most of the small businesses that I have worked with could use the same challenge. Any well-run effort should have a plan, and every serious plan starts with the goals. The goals answer the questions:
- Why am I doing this?
- What are the ultimate success metrics?
- Why would consumers or businesses buy from me?
- Am I passionate enough to do what needs to be done?
There may be a few more questions for that list, but those would be a great place to start. There is an almost unlimited list of ways to make a living or a fortune. Evaluating your specific idea by asking these four questions can help you to make choices between options, and get serious with yourself about diving in.
You are about to risk substantial time, money, energy, and emotion. Setting very specific goals before you start that effort is A. Sensible, and will B. Actually contributes to your success.
You may want to start with your personal life goals. Have you thought them through? Have you written them down? Recent research has shown that those who write down their goals achieve success at a much higher level than those who have not. I believe this advantage derives from the kind of thought that goes into the writing process. You might have some general goals in your mind about what you want in the future, but writing them down will bring clarity, and cement them in your mind and heart.
Whether we are talking about personal goals like family size, where to live, lifestyle choices, and charitable efforts, or business goals like total sales, profits, or type of enterprise, clear goals will provide direction regarding strategies and tactics.
The headline promised that this article was not just for start-ups, and it isn’t. You can and should stop yearly at least to contemplate any changes in goals, and to review your progress towards achieving the goals you’ve been working on.
Another time to think through your goals is when there is a major transition such as a major new product line, an acquisition, a buyout offer, or retirement. Entrepreneurs are commonly distracted from their primary focus by some new, bright shiny object. Even a new line of business for the company may look great in concept, but not really be lined up with the goals you’ve set. Of course, you can change your goals any time, but it is better if that decision is considered in the light of “changing goals,” rather “it seems like a good idea.”
There are many excellent books on goal setting. The first few chapters of my book, “Running a 21st Century Small Business,” take a deep dive into setting life goals.