“Growth requires a plan, not just a dream.”
And were does a great plan begin, but with a goal in mind?
We all have goals we’d like to reach — but sometimes we fail to see them through. Why does this happen?
I think the problem is this: Most of the goals we dream up for ourselves are too vague or too unrealistic to be attainable.
If you’re like me, you are really good at setting lofty goals, but you need some practical, actionable advice on how to reach them. To help, I want to share with you a smart method of goal-setting that will help get your goals our of your day-dreams and into reality. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to write smarter, more achievable goals for yourself and your business.
1. Make it specific.
How will you know how to start working toward your goal when it is not clearly defined? A vague goal is an invitation to procrastination. Specific and measurable goals, on the other hand, are less overwhelming because they call for a particular set of planned actions.
Vague Goal: My goal is to make more money.
Specific Goal: My goal is to earn a minimum of 20K in 2010 by selling my bracelets and earrings on Etsy, BigCartel, and 4 local brick & mortar stores.
After reading the vague goal, I’m left asking, “How?” But after reading the specific goal, I can immediately envision the component steps necessary to achieve this goal.
2. Make it measurable.
Writing measurable goals allows you to assess your progress towards reaching them. And as a business owner, you’re surrounded by measurements: views, hearts, sales and more.
Example: If your general goals include increasing your reach on Twitter, you might measure your number of followers, or your number of RTs and Mentions.
3. Give it a time frame. Runners need a finish line. Goals need a deadline.
Sure, your time frame can be flexible. But giving your goal a realistic deadline will help to keep you motivated, and keep you from dragging your feet.
Example: A goal like “Write more blog posts” gets you nowhere. A goal like, “Write 3 blog posts by Friday” compels meaningful action.
4. Make it realistic: Is your goal something you can achieve within your time frame and with your current resources? Drafting unrealistic goals just sets you up for frustration and disappointment.
Now, I’m not saying “Don’t dream big.” I am saying, “Spend some quality time brainstorming solutions to your potential problems.”
5. Put it into action.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed, or even frustrated, when we think about striving toward our loftiest of goals. So here’s the practical solution: Break down your long-term goals into several manageable steps. Make these “action tasks” as concrete as possible. Prioritize the tasks, and secure any outside help you will need along the way.
Example: Your long-term goal might be to open your own Etsy shop, but there are many sub-goals you will need to accomplish first:
3. Planning a budget for business expenses.
4. Registering a business name.
5. Get a tax ID number
6. Obtain requited licenses and permits.
It’s so helpful to create a list, and check off the tasks as you complete them. Working on the day-to-day level is ultimately more effective than working on the day-dream level. Now that you have a direction to grow, and the practical know-how to get there, it’s just a matter of checking the steps off your to-do list.
If you first take the time to write specific, measurable, and realistic goals, you might find that achieving your dreams of growing your business is an easier task than you once thought. The next step is simply, to start.