We here at Imagine Media are all about goals. We're diligently working toward completing our company Q1 goals and we're excited to share this guest post about how you can work toward your own small business goals:
Without goals, your small business is not so much a business as it is a loose collection of random ideas, plans, and dreams. Of course, every small business needs ideas, plans, and dreams to succeed - but they have to be focused into a comprehensive business plan.
As Ray Silverstein of Entrepreneur writes, “many small-business owners are wishful thinkers, full of big ideas. They spend hours talking and dreaming about what they'd like to accomplish, but never in concrete terms. They repeat the same ineffective activities over and over, and then wonder why they're not getting anywhere.”
The first step to turning your business into more than just dreams is to start setting concrete goals.
Write down a specific set of goals
Yes, write it down. On paper. If you can’t do that, then your goals have no real basis in reality. Be specific with your business goals. “I want to be successful” or “I want to make more money” are not real goals. Real goals are measurable and achievable. Create a roadmap for your specific goals - a timeline for when and how you will bring about the change you want to see.
For example, if you want to build a new website for your business, steps might include making sure you own the domain you’ll need, designing the site (website builders make creating sleek, DIY websites very easy), testing the site, promoting the new site on your social media networks, and so on. Of course, you don’t have to do all of this in one day, but if you assign deadlines for each step, you’ll be much more likely to get your site up and running in a timely fashion.
For over 30 years, business owners have been using an acronym when constructing a business plan. When creating goals for your business, you have to make sure that they are SMART:
Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
Assignable – specify who will do it.
Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
Without all of these components, your goals may be destined to fall flat.
Don’t put on blinders
Once you have some SMART goals in place, it’s easy to turn on the laser focus and only allow yourself to care about those specific goals, achieved in those specific ways, in that specific amount of time. Yes, you need to work hard to stick to your plan. But excessive rigidity can be a detriment. For real success, you need to flexibility to see opportunities as they arise.
“Structure and consistency are vital when it comes to goal setting, but too much can cause you to miss out on big opportunities. While you want to create an action-oriented system that helps you make forward-moving progress toward your goals every single day, you also need to remain open to changes that may make the end result even better than you imagined,” writes The Balance.
Check your stress
Stress is the silent killer for anyone involved in a business project. You’re told to put your head down and work tirelessly to achieve your goals, but that advice doesn’t take into account the fact that humans are indeed human and we get tired, and burned out. If you don’t take time to relax, recharge, and manage your stress you could be actively crushing your dreams through a powerful, yet hard to avoid, act of self-sabotage.
Pat yourself on the back
Don’t ever tell yourself that achieving a business goal, however small, isn't a big deal. It’s a huge deal. Don’t forget to stop and celebrate the minor achievements you make on the way to your major ones. They count too. Owning a business is partly a mental game, and you have to be able to celebrate when you score a goal.
Story by: Dolores Santos