As your business comes to the end of a year of operation, it’s time to start planning your goals for the next year.
Your goals for the new year will depend on what type of year your business had. Your goals may be a combination of fixing issues that held you back and how to grow your business and increase your profits.
Goals are the foundation of a business plan. Without goals, you don’t have a direction to take. Any steps that you take in your business are arbitrary and often end up being a waste of your energy, time, and money. Operating a business without goals is often compared to heading out on a trip without a map or directions.
You probably already know the importance of goals for your business plan. However, what you, and many millions of other entrepreneurs may not realize is that your business plan, and your goals, need to be updated annually.
Answer these questions…
- Did your business change over the past year?
- Do you have new products or services?
- Do you have new customers and prospects?
- Do you want to make more money this upcoming year?
If you answered yes to any, and all, of these questions then guess what…? It’s time for new goals.
If you want to take your business to the next level, and increase your income, then new goals are in order. But let’s be clear here…any old goal won’t do. To take your business to the next level, there are some fundamental considerations you’ll want to make when setting your goals.
You’ve likely been exposed to the concept of SMART goals. These are goals that are:
- Time bound
One of the most often overlooked components of SMART goals is the concept of Achievability.
Is the goal that you’re setting realistic? Is it something that you can take steps toward on a consistent basis? Why is achievability important and why is it so difficult to pinpoint? The question is often motivation. We, by nature, tend to set either really super safe goals or pipe dream goals. Safe goals, goals that can be accomplished with little or no effort, are often set by folks who are just going through the motions in business.
They’re not excited about their business. Or they’re too busy to set goals, or they’re terrified of failure. Generally, entrepreneurs aren’t terrified of failure but they can feel overwhelmed and/or apathetic about their business. If you’re no longer excited about your business, it may be time to step back and explore why.
But what about those that tend to set pipe dream type goals? We’re talking about those unrealistic “I’m going to sell a million products” type goals when last year they only sold 1000 products.
These types of goals are exciting.
It’s easy to get pumped up about a goal that triples your income or has you hitting the bestseller’s list, right? But motivation for grand and unrealistic goals often fades quickly. You’re left with a goal that never really got off of the ground and perhaps some wasted time, energy, and effort.
What Makes a Goal Achievable?
Achievable goals are goals that challenge you. They force you to create a strategy and a plan to follow through. However, the follow through must be possible. It’s the ability to follow through that determines whether a goal is achievable or not.
Here’s an example, let’s say that you decide you want to double your income by adding another, unrelated service to your business. You take the steps to create the program. Great. However, if you don’t also follow through and create good products or services along with good promotions to sell that service, then sales won’t increase and neither will your income.
If you don’t market your new service program and bring on highly motivated workers, you won’t double your income.
So, an achievable goal is a goal that you can realistically follow through on the steps required to make it happen.
Summing it Up
An achievable goal is:
- Challenging – Achievable goals don’t need to be easy goals. They should challenge you to work hard.
- Motivating – Your goal should make you feel motivated with every step that you take. As time goes by, you want to be able to continue taking positive steps toward success.
- Realistic – it might take hard work but with a good plan, you can achieve success
- Doable – you must be able to follow through on your plans to achieve success.
- Achieving Success – Milestones Are the Secret Ingredient
Milestones are actions or events that mark a significant step in your process. For example, if you’re writing a book then you’ll have a better chance at success if you set smaller goals that lead up to your end goal of writing the book.
You can work backwards to determine what your milestones should be and when they should be accomplished. For example:
- Goal: 50,000 word ebook/information product done by June 15th
- June 15th – book edited and ready to publish
- May 15th 50,000 words
- April 15th 40,000 words
- March 15th 30,000 words
- February 15th 20,000 words
- January 15th 10,000 words
Milestones help you stay on track to achieve your goal. It makes a larger goal much more manageable and breaks the process up into smaller goals that are also specific, measurable and so on.
Setting milestones and breaking your goal down into manageable steps is a test. If you’re unable to do that, then the goal is not achievable. IF your smaller goals and milestones seem too difficult to achieve, then the goal is not achievable.
We’ve talked quite a bit about what an achievable goal is and why it matters. We’ve defined what achievable means in terms of goal setting and how to know if your goal is achievable. It’s important to also take a look at what types of goals help you take your business to the next level.
It’s easy to get caught in the “more money” type of goals. However, there are other types of goals that can lead to increased profits and a better business as well.
The Three Major Goal Categories to Grow Your Business
If someone were to ask you right now what one step you could take to grow your business what would you answer?
Generally speaking there are three categories to look at. And if you establish achievable goals in all three areas, you’re on your way to fantastic business growth and a good year.
#1 Income Goals – Income goals are just that. They are “I want to make $XXX in profits this year.”
They require some pretty strategic planning. You have to determine how you’re going to reach those income goals. What are you going to add, change, get rid of, and so on?
#2 Audience Goals – An audience goal means that your goal is to grow your followers, prospects, and ultimately your leads. This approach builds your exposure and awareness and generally leads to more profits. Again, you’ll want to decide what an achievable audience goal is and how you’re going to achieve it.
#3 Product Goals – This refers to the goal of releasing new products or creating promotions for existing products. Take a look at your existing funnel. Explore your audience needs, motivations, and buying process. How can you add more value with products or services and grow your business?
As you look at these goal categories, you’ll see that they support business growth and they support one another. A larger audience increases profits; more products and promotions may also increase your income. Identify your goal for the upcoming year. Break it down into smaller goals, set milestones, and achieve success.
Review and Improve Your Business
Need help? This doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Download my free report that includes the issues you need to address to review your business right now. Once you document your response to these issues inside the report, you will be ready to create a successful business plan for the new year.
Business planning is included in my Business-in-a-Box along with a sample business plan you can use as a template. This is a complete system for planning, starting, and growing your residential cleaning business.