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When is a Goal Not a Goal? How to Set Goals for Growth

The process of goal setting, initially, is all about where you see yourself ending up. This is the Big Goal, the “I want to own the most successful financial planning service in town” goal that motivated you to begin a business in the first place and continues to get you out of bed each morning.

However, there are problems with this big picture approach. The proverb “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” applies here. Just having the Big Goal repeating like a mantra in your head is not going to make it real. You can keep going in to work every day, but nothing is going to change unless you have turned your thousand-mile journey into a number of smaller more achievable steps.

How to formulate achievable goals in business

A goal has a number of attributes before it can qualify as achievable. Firstly, it has to be specific. You need to be clear about what it is you are trying to do. “Make more money” is not good enough. “Make more money by selling more units” is better. “Make $5,000 profit by selling 15% more units” is even better still. It is a clear statement not only of what you want to achieve, but the precise means by which you will do it.

Time out: Applying a stop watch to business goals

If you want to “make $5,000 profit by selling 15% more units” you need to add something else – a time limit. Otherwise you could be happily working towards your goal a year from now, or two years. It’s not really a goal unless there’s a specific time limit. “I want to make $5,000 profit by selling 15% more units by June 30” is more of a challenge, true, but it also makes you even motivated to move those units.

Business goals need to be a challenge

If you already make $5,000 in a bad month, you haven’t really set a goal at all. You are operating well within your comfort zone and that’s not a goal, it’s a certainty. You need to make sure your goals are challenges, otherwise they are pointless and you will be unable to inspire your staff or yourself to achieve them.

Get the infrastructure in place to achieve business goals

Before you set out achieving your goals, make sure that you have the equipment and services backing you up. There’s no use pushing your sales team to sell 15% more before June 30 if they can’t communicate with clients. For example, they may need to send large files via email and your server can’t cope. With a virtual fax number from eFax, all your staff can learn how to send large files over the internet without choking the system. Image-heavy catalogues and even large video files are a breeze to share.

Of course, you can fax too, and the beauty of cloud-based systems like eFax is that they use the internet to send the fax. There’s no line rental, no paper, there isn’t even a fax machine. Your business gets a virtual fax and a file share system with the same service.

Setting goals is not easy. But if you want to remain truly focused and inspired, at some stage you are going to have to take a hard look at your business and set achievable, challenging goals on your way to that ultimate Big Goal.

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