6. The science and practice of goal setting in business
What do you want to achieve? Before you actually set up, decide what you want to achieve with your business. If you are already in business, review where you are going, are you clear about this? Take time out to think about and write down your goals for your business?
Research shows that only 3% of people write down their goals, and on average these people earn 10 times those who don't have goals. Plus research shows that people with up to date written goals are as much as 3100% more successful than people who do not have up to date written goals.
And make sure your business goals don't conflict with things you want to do personally. When you are thinking about your goals, think about and write down your personal goals too. And if you are a multi owner business you will obviously need to discuss your responses with your colleagues, and agree on a shared set of goals for the business.
Make sure that the goals you write are SMART: (S)pecific, (M)easurable, (A)greed, (R)ealistic, (T)imeframed
Once you have written down your goal as a SMART goal, think about what the effects would be if you didn't achieve it. What is the pain that you and those you love will experience if you don't achieve your goal (Why do this? Because recognising this pain is an enormous motivating force that will help you to work even harder to make sure you don't fail!).
Then decide what you will gain when you succeed - i.e. wealth, health, happiness, a prosperous retirement etc. What will you see, hear and feel? And what else will your success allow you to achieve/do? And finally write down the key things you will need in order to achieve your goal. For example, it could be new resources, contacts, skills, actions etc.
I'm also keen on identifying any potential barriers that may lie between your situation and circumstances now, and those that may limit your success toward your goal. What are those barriers? How might you overcome those barriers (thinking ahead helps enormously here)? who/what else will you need to overcome those barriers?
Next try and prioritise the goals you have written. Lay out all of your goals in front of you and decide which are the most important to you, which are less important and which (if any) are, on reflection, not important after all. For each goal that is still important, work out how you will achieve it, break it down into smaller steps to make it easier to manage. Plan in timescales to do each step, write them into your diary or planner. That way you make reaching your goals part of your daily activities.
Think carefully about everything you have just done and thought about. What are the implications for what you are doing in your business and your life - and what you should be doing? Transfer the things you should be doing to an action planner. Keep this somewhere where you won't lose sight of it, so that you are reminded regularly about what you want to achieve. If you think it would help contact an advisor, mentor or coach to discuss what else you can do to achieve your goals. Sometimes it helps to go through the whole exercise with a third party, who can be more objective and help you to focus on the right things.