Business owners sometimes shy away from setting specific, measurable, attainable, and time-bound goals. It is almost as if they fear accountability and commitment. Sure, fear of failure can often be scary, but without goals, progress is elusive and achievements are unattainable. It is simple really. Setting goals is an essential first step toward success, both in business and in life.
First, let’s define what a goal actually is. A goal is not merely a wish or a vague desire. It is something you genuinely want to achieve and are willing to work for. This is an important distinction. Wishes are passive thoughts, like “It would be really great to have a bunch of cash in my bank account.” Goals, on the other hand, are benchmarks that are identified and that spur action. A goal could be, “By the end of 2024, there will be $1,000,000 cash in the company savings account or retained earnings.” By identifying an actionable and well-defined goal, you can begin creating specific strategies and tactics to accomplish it.
Let’s look at it another way. A wish might sound like, “Gosh it would be nice to go to Paris sometime,” while a goal would manifest as, “I am going to Paris next June.” And with that destination set, you then start listing all the necessary actions required to make that trip happen. You block off the dates in your calendar, you start saving money for travel expenses, you research and develop an itinerary, you book your flights and hotels, and you even sign up for French lessons. Each action is purposeful, well-designed, specific and measurable, with someone (in this case, probably you) assigned the responsibility of completing each by a certain date.
So tell me, in which of those scenarios do you think you will actually make it to the Champs-Élysées?
Goals Are Accomplishment Targets
Setting goals is a way to bring you closer to your company’s or your own life’s vision. Goal setting is a consistent process that requires you to ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve in my business (and/or life), and what do I need to do to make that happen?” Goals serve as steppingstones that propel you forward towards realizing your vision.
Goal setting is not only practical but can also be a fun and inspiring process. When you take charge of your goals, the work and energy you invest in achieving them are fulfilling because you know that you’re moving in the right direction and making progress each day.
Ask yourself this. As a business owner, if you aren’t actively focused on your goals, what are you actually spending your time on? Often, when we lack clear goals, we find ourselves caught up in a whirlwind of daily noise that fails to move us or our organizations forward. We get lost in all the busy work that consumes our time and energy without yielding substantial results.
Goals Come in All Shapes and Sizes
There are different types of goals that can guide your business ownership and growth journey. Critical Success Factors are foundational goals that need to be accomplished to bring your company vision, and even your life vision, into reality. Annual goals are obviously the targets you set to achieve over the course of the next 12 months. These goals are based on your Critical Success Factors and serve as milestones along your path. Additionally, quarterly goals provide shorter-term focus. These are the objectives you plan to achieve within the next 90 days, allowing you to work in focused sprints towards your larger goals.
Regardless of time dynamics, goal setting is one of the most powerful tools for growth and success in your business. Goal setting provides clear direction. It motivates and inspires you to act. It helps you leverage and optimize your time and energy. And it paves the way for truly remarkable accomplishments.
So, don’t shy away from setting goals. Embrace the process, commit to achieving them, then witness the transformative impact they can have on your life and business.
To learn more about getting out of your own way as the business owner so that you can have the freedom you want click here to schedule a call with Blair.
Blair Koch is the CEO of TAB Denver West, a TAB CEO Advisory Board Facilitator, and a Business Ownership Lifecycle Coach. Blair has spent most of her career helping small business owners achieve their personal and professional goals. She also hosts the Best Businesses in Denver podcast.