Everyone starts to consider goals for the future when the year comes to an end. You may be in a position where you have been considering starting up your own business, or you may have a business but are ready to take it to the next level, but for one reason or another have been putting off the steps necessary to 'go there'. You have to set goals to make it reality, however. Often fear is what holds us back from setting goals. What if you fail? Or what if you succeed?? You want it but it scares you terribly!
Less than three percent of all Americans have written down goals. Eight out of 10 businesses fail within the first 3 years because a surprising number begin their businesses without creating any plans.
They say that if you don't plan out your journey, you can't get there. If you envision your business going somewhere, how do you know where 'there' is without that plan written down? Another saying is 'Failure to plan is a plan for failure'. But if you never set up your plan, you can't fail, right? However, then you will look back at your life, 20-40 years from now and find yourself saying, 'I wish I had...' Life is too short to allow yourself to limit your possibilities.
I believe that we all really can achieve anything that we believe is possible. We do need to plan for those dreams, however, and be realistic. Just thinking about them will not make them reality, and just opening the doors and saying we're in business will not make our dreams a success. We create our own reality, whether that's success or failure, based on the research and work we are willing to put into making those goals happen. What do YOU want to achieve?
Let's consider some tips to help you create and achieve your goals and create the business of your dreams:
Share your goals with others
When I talk to a potential client, the first thing I have her do is tell me what her three top goals are with her business. For some people, this is the first time they have done this exercise, but for everyone it can be a powerful step to help them share goals that sometimes they have never spoken to another person about. That's one of the tips in accomplishing goals - share your goals with others. In fact, if you share your goals with many people, it does tend to propel you forward. Call it fear or call it meeting a challenge you don't want to live down if you fail, but it does work!
Challenge yourself with big goals
Often we need support to think big. Most people tend to set goals that are easy, because they are afraid of failing, but you really can achieve anything; it just may need more planning and time than you initially considered. This is one of the benefits of setting up goals and working on plans to make them happen. As you create your business and marketing plans, you are able to tell if your goals can be accomplished within the time frame you envision initially. If you make your goals too big, you can't realistically achieve them. But if you make them too small, they become de-motivating. The best rule of thumb is to make them challenging but realistic - just a bit uncomfortable but challenging enough to stir up your passion and sense of excitement.
Cut big goals down to manageable pieces
As mentioned above, you want to think big and challenge yourself. But some goals are huge and need to be broken down into sections so they can be accomplished realistically. If you want to create a business that earns $100,000, and you have no access to outside funding, you may need a few years to make it happen. Cutting big goals down into multiple smaller goals can help you gradually grow into your larger goal and give you an incredible sense of accomplishment.
Even as you create your smaller goals, break them down into daily, weekly and monthly goals. Making them this manageable helps you check them off your 'to do' list much more quickly than larger goals. You then get a greater sense of accomplishment, which is very motivating for the next series of goals.
Make your goals specific
I always push my clients to narrow down their goals into exactly what they want to achieve, which helps ensure their success. If your goals are vague, how will you know you accomplished them? How much do you want to make, by when and by doing what? Then you create action steps to achieve these goals. If your goals are specific you are able to measure your progress, but if you have not set up specific goals, what will you measure?
When creating your goals, be sure to have the end in mind. As with a trip, to make it successful, you have to know where your final destination is. If you don't know where you want to go, how will you know when you get there? Then, once you have made that ultimate goal, you will be ready to set new goals.
Set a time
One of the hardest things for my clients to do is to set time frames for their goals. This really puts meat into what they want to create! They worry about not meeting their time frames. However, as they set up their action plans for their goals, they eventually see what is possible with planning. Putting a time frame to your goals gives you a clear target to work towards. Without a time frame, your goal of 'earn $40,000' could end up a goal you work towards your entire life. In fact, you may relate to this very well, as I have met many people who have created goals without time frames and, years later, are still working on those goals. The number of people I meet who tell me they want to create their own business, but have not done anything about it, is too great to count.
Measure your progress
As mentioned above, as you create your goals, you need to also create a way to measure your progress. You do this so you can tell if a strategy is working or if your goal is as realistic as you initially thought. One example would be you launch a website and a goal is to attract 1,000 people within 3 months. You would want to track the number of visitors to see if you were meeting that goal. If not, you would need to make adjustments in order to meet a new goal or achieve that goal.
One great way to move people forward when working on new business goals is by getting support. Everyone who has achieved great success can tell stories of a mentor, coach, colleague or consultant who helped them at various levels of their success. Don't try to go it all alone; everyone needs someone to talk to and share wins, ups and downs, worries and victories and private doubts with. That support can come from a business coach, a support or mastermind group, or even from others in a group coaching program, and that support can change with each stage you are in. Support from others gives the advantage of other perspectives or ideas that may not occur to you. We all need someone to run ideas by, to check to see if we're on track, or to keep us motivated. Family can be a great support, but often family and friends are too close to you to be able to provide an objective outlook to your goals and strategies you use to accomplish your goals. Family members tend to want to 'fix' things for us, where someone like a coach or group can give ideas or just be an ear to listen to our concerns or thinking process.
It can be scary to consider starting a business from scratch. Many people fail because they aren't willing to put in the time, effort and work necessary to understand what is realistic and what they can expect. However, any successful business professional will tell you that, with planning and setting realistic goals, you can create a thriving business. Don't allow fear, uncertainty and self-doubt hold you back from at least taking the steps to investigate creating a business you have been dreaming of for years. Live your life as if this is your only chance to live your dreams. People seldom regret taking chances to enhance their lives, but many people regret not acting on a dream.