When you are running your own business, it is so important to set goals. This applies if you are a small start-up, a large business, a virtual assistant, a freelancer, a social networker, and everything in between. So let’s talk about it: What is the importance of setting goals?
We will start with the WHY. Then I will talk about what type of goals to set. Lastly, I will provide some tips to help you reach your goals—whatever they might be!
Why goal setting is important
Anytime you are trying to go somewhere, you need a road map. Setting goals is like setting the destination on your GPS. It is the place you are trying to reach. When you are running your own business, you need to have an idea of where you are trying to go.
Your goals might be financial or they might even be personal. Some examples of goals might include how many new clients you want, how many conversions you want on your website, or how many new followers you want on social media. Setting these types of goals gives you direction and something to aim for. They give you focus too. If you know what you are striving for and it is at the forefront of your mind, you are more likely to work towards it!
Without goals, you might feel like you are just treading water. You may also feel like you work all day but are not achieving what you want. By setting goals, you are also setting priorities for yourself. With clear goals set in front of you, you can prioritize what is the most important and what will make the most difference in your business.
What type of goals you should set
When I talk to team members about setting goals, I always recommend setting SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. By using these parameters to help set your goals, you know exactly what the objective is. You have a goal line, and you know when you need to cross it.
The three most important parameters of the SMART acronym, in my opinion, are specific, measurable, and time-based. Examples can be helpful, so an example of a general goal I often hear is “I want to make more money.” An example of the SMART goal version of this would be “My goal is to double my monthly sales within 6 months by gaining 5 new clients per month.” Can you see how this second example is more helpful? More clients equals more money. I have 6 months to reach this goal, and I have a clearer path on how to get there.
Now, as a CEO or business owner, you probably think more big picture too. It is good to have large and lofty goals too, which is why I do not want you to get hung up on the achievable part. Heck, reach for the stars! Another way to think about it is to have a goal, then have stretch goals that will push you to reach higher.
If you want more of a breakdown of SMART goals, Forbes Advisor has a great article called, The Ultimate Guide to S.M.A.R.T Goals that I recommend.
How to reach your goals
Break it down
Setting SMART goals already helps set you up for success because it gives you a jump start on laying the groundwork toward your goals. Once my team members have their goals set, my #1 tip is to break it down further into smaller steps.
When you look at the entire goal, it may still feel intimidating. It is like Desmond Tutu once said though, “There is only one way to eat an elephant: one bite at a time.” What this means is that doing a little bit at a time will gradually accomplish big things.
To help you get motivated to reach that goal, take your big goal, and break it down into smaller, more achievable action steps. If your goal is 5 clients per month, you need to get 1-2 new clients a week. How many outreaches does it take to get 1 client? Let’s say on average it takes 10 calls. That comes out to 10-20 outreaches a week. And if you work 5 days a week, your road map tells you to make 2-4 calls a day. See how that sounds less intimidating?
On my team, we like to say trackers are earners. Tracking your progress on each goal helps you to see your overall progress. I recommend writing down your goal and then marking off the progress of the smaller steps I mentioned above.
We have a Goal Tracker download available for you if you do not have one of your own. These can be used to track your goals, whether it is for business or personal use. There are some examples of how to use these, and we encourage you to get creative!
Seeing your progress will also help you stay motivated because you can visually see things moving closer to your goal. You will have your daily, weekly, and/or monthly steps laid out for you. Color them in or cross them off as you achieve them. By keeping your trackers visible, it will motivate you to hit those BIG goals! And it will remind you that you ARE making progress, even when you feel like you aren’t.
Take some time this week to sit down and really think about your goals, in life and in business. Prioritize the ones you want to focus on first, break them down into smaller, more achievable steps, track them, and do not forget to celebrate when you hit them!