Tips For Setting Business Goals

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

As you begin the goal setting process, I recommend making notes that will help keep your thoughts organized and give you something to refer back to. How you write them is up to you; choose what suits your lifestyle and is easy to keep track of.

Evaluate your Needs
In order to plan appropriately, consider where you want to end up. Quite simply, what’s the point? Once you have your overall needs in mind, setting specific goals will help you meet them.

Your business needs may include hiring an assistant or leasing a larger office. You should also consider aspects of your personal life that affect your career, such as a desire to work from home or to fit spiritual pursuits into your schedule.

Take Stock of your Skills
Once you’ve identified your needs, it’s imperative you take stock of your skills. What are your strengths and abilities? Is your current education level adequate?

Once you’ve listed the skills you have, consider ones you may need to obtain. Explore refresher courses related to your industry, certifications that give you an advantage over your competitors, or even books to read.

Get a Plan
When you know what you want to achieve and what skills will aid you, you’re ready to start general short and long term planning.

Consider what is realistic for your lifestyle. Be honest with yourself, taking into consideration everything from related expenses to travel time to daycare arrangements.

Write Down your Goals
You now have a record of your needs and a general plan, but it’s still necessary to write out your goals. What are the statements that define your “mission accomplished” and the specific outcomes you desire?

List at least 10 business-related goals you’d like to obtain. The easiest way is to record them as you think of them without concern for prioritizing yet. Examples could include buying a new computer or marketing your services to a larger audience.

Now that your goals are written down, you can prioritize them according to importance or necessity. If you must accomplish some goals in order to pursue others, they’ll come first. For instance, you may wish to increase traffic to your website but may first need to add content that will attract more visitors or have your site optimized for better search engine results.

Set Check Points, Time Frames and Deadlines
Your goals are your destination; road markers and check points along the way will ensure you stay on course. Set reasonable time frames that take into account your responsibilities and personality, but don’t try to change your entire life or deny who you are. If you’re too harsh, you’ll get discouraged and your goals will instead turn into a list of dreams you hope to achieve “someday.”

Find Balance and Learn to Multitask
You may find yourself cutting out activities in order to focus on your new aspirations. Spending less time watching TV isn’t a bad idea; however, it’s not healthy to fixate solely on your career. If you follow a specific plan you won’t feel overwhelmed and find yourself without “downtime.”

Establish a daily to-do list that allows for work and play. Make sure the items are manageable and to the point. Taking time for family, friends, hobbies and exercise will keep you healthy and prevent you from burning out. You’ll return to work refreshed and ready for the next challenge.

Take Risks
New endeavours always involve a certain amount of risk, but it can be managed. Prepare to take risks where necessary. At the same time, avoid unnecessary ones that could cause unneeded stress or hardship.

Be Adaptable and Flexible
Even with the best laid plans, unexpected issues occur. If a roadblock pops up on your journey don’t stop traveling; just take a detour. While you need to stay on track, you also need to be adaptable. Re-evaluating your route, or even your destination, isn’t failure.

Sometimes, it may not be life’s big surprises that steer you off course; you may simply get distracted. We all have days when we feel lazy or don’t accomplish anything. If you have one of them, don’t give up. Tomorrow is a new day; just resolve to refocus then.

Seek Support and Believe in Yourself
It’s important to believe in yourself and remember that you are worthy and can do whatever you put your mind to. A great way to reassure yourself of your capability is to write down a list of what you’ve already achieved. You’ve done great things before, so you certainly can now.

Share your goals with a colleague or mentor you trust. Consider someone who appreciates your profession as it will make explaining simpler. Family and friends want you to be happy and successful but if you have a specialized job they don’t understand, they may not realize the effort it will take to achieve your goals. It’s not that you shouldn’t tell them; their love is incredibly important. However, a colleague or mentor can provide specific support and accountability.

If you take the time to plan appropriately and record your goals, they will undoubtedly be obtainable. Challenge yourself, make the effort to be well organized, seek support, and balance work with fun. Love yourself, have faith in your abilities, and you’ll find success!

Contributor: Danielle Knowles

Danielle Knowles is a Feature Writer for Fraser Valley Pulse, as well as the owner of Red Pencil Editing Services. She loves to laugh, go on adventures and read.  Danielle lives in Abbotsford with her husband and fur babies Oogie Boogie and Mungo. Twitter: @redpencilca

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