Goal setting. It sounds easy, and even with the best of intentions, most of us don’t get very far in achieving our goals. It’s not that we don’t know what we want or how to set goals, it’s more a question of how do we go about achieving those goals?
I talk to many millionaires and have asked how they set up their goals. They all do very similar things, like visioning, creating very specific goals, and action plans.
Create Your Vision
The first thing you want to do when setting goals is create your vision. According to Joyce Schwarz, author of The Vision Board, “Visioning is an ancient art and science that dates back to the caveman days, which is a combination of meditation, soul-searching, and even improv.”
Visioning is imagining and feeling what you want the future to be like. You want to create a crystal-clear vision of your future with as much detail as possible. Then you can refer to that vision over and over again. In your vision, address all of the pieces of your life. Include your family, friends, lifestyle, finances, and business in your vision.
Start with One Primary Goal
If you’re someone who has trouble achieving the goals you set, it may be because you have too many goals all competing for your time. It’s OK to have many goals, but you don’t need to work on them all at once.
In order to choose that one goal, you need to first define your business priorities.
Priorities. What is the most important thing in your business? How about the second most important thing? Third?
If you don’t know what is most important in your business, you cannot effectively make decisions about the year ahead. Maybe customer retention is the biggest factor in your success. Or maybe improving conversions on your online campaigns is a top priority.
Once you have chosen your one primary goal, answer these questions:
- How would you feel in 5, 10, or 20 years if you never achieved this goal?
- Is the goal bold enough?
- Do you believe you can achieve it?
- Does this goal conflict with any other goals?
- What obstacles will you encounter?
- What people or groups will you need to work with to achieve the goal?
- What knowledge will you need to achieve this goal?
- Are you willing to pay the price? Are you 100% committed?
- What are the benefits of achieving the goal? What pain will there be if you don’t achieve it?
You want the goal to be big enough to be scary, hard enough to matter, and exciting enough to commit to it – no matter what. After you answer these questions, you should have a general feeling if the goal you chose fits the bill. If not, go back and change it.
Set Metrics and Tasks
So, now you have a vision of what you want your future to look like and you have a primary goal set. Most people can get to this point, but then fumble around not know how or where to start. The answer? Work backwards using measurable metrics and steps.
Work backwards. Break it down! Break your primary goal into 3, 6, 9, and 12-month goals so you know where you need to be to reach your goal at each point in the year.
For example, let’s say you want to earn $8,000 per month by the end of 12-months. Right now you earn $4,000 per month. So within 6 months you need to earn $2,000 more per month. And within 3 months you need to earn $1,000 more per month. In order to make the goal of an extra $1,000 within 3 months, you need to make $250 more per week. See? Measurable.
Now, translate those dollar amounts into your product or service. Let’s say you are a graphic designer. If you average about $250 per client, you’ll need 1 more client each week to achieve $250 more per week.
So your task is “Get one additional client each week.” That’s sort of intangible. How do you get one more client per week? You may be thinking, “If I knew that, I would be making more already!”
The key is to know your numbers. If you are keeping track of your metrics already, you should know your closing rate–how many prospects you need to talk to in order to sell one person. If you don’t know, start keeping track.
Let’s say your closing rate is 50%. That means you only need to speak with two qualified prospects to secure one new client.
But how many people do you need to talk to if you want to find two qualified prospects? If you don’t already know at this point, look at your history of sales and make an educated guess. Let’s say you average one quality prospect for every 6 people you talk to. That means you need to have twelve conversations each week.
To meet your goal, brainstorm a list to accomplish just that one objective. Ask yourself: “How can I have twelve conversations each week?”
If you have conversations by attending networking events, how many do you need to go to? If you have conversations via email, how many more visitors or subscribers do you need to your website?
Write down your goals each quarter as well as the tasks you will need to do to accomplish them.
3 Month Goals – Earn $5,000 per month.
- Get one additional client each week.
- Have twelve conversations per week.
- Go to two more networking events per month.
- Create four guest posts to bring in traffic to the website.
- Set up a system to keep in touch with qualified prospects.
- Have twelve conversations per week.
6 Month Goals – Earn $6,000 per month.
9 Month Goals – Earn $7,000 per month.
1 Year Goals – Earn $8,000 per month.
Commit to just the first three months. Decide that you will achieve your three-month goal no matter what. Declare that you will still be pursuing this goal in three months.
Commit to the goal for at least three months, and then you can decide if that goal is right for your business. If not, modify it, but stick with it long enough to decide.
Now that I have objectives, how do I achieve them?
You will never know exactly what you are going to do every single step of the way in reaching your goals. Small businesses change so quickly that there is no way to predict what information you will need 9 months from now. What you can do is set up a system to determine what to do next.
Action Items for Achieving Goals
Look at your goals! In order to achieve any goal, you must consciously bring attention to the goal each week. Set aside time at the end of the week to look at your objectives and rate your progress. Keep your goals posted in a highly visible place. This might be a bulletin board in front of your desk, on your refrigerator, or even in the bathroom!
Set weekly priorities & tasks. Start each week by deciding what three things are most important to accomplish in your business. This will drive you to accomplish them even if you have to work late into the night.
Figure out your priorities by setting aside time to plan your week. Your week should not only be about putting out fires. Your tasks each week should always be bringing you closer to your goals.
Find a mastermind group, coach or another business owner who can hold you accountable. While it’s possible to create a great business without a good support network, why would you want to? There will be hard days – days when you throw your hands up and say, “I’m frustrated! This isn’t working!” Implement a support system that can bring you back in and remind you of how far you’ve come. Your accountability partner/group can also help by sharing their experiences and expertise.
Nolan Watson of Sandstorm Gold and Sandstorm Metals told me about what he does with a group of friends and business owners. He said, “It makes you do things not only to think about what you’re trying to do and therefore guide some of your, actions but it also makes you know that someone is going to call you on it if you don’t do it. So eventually, you end up doing it.”
So what can you do right now to set yourself up for achieving your goals? Pick one action and do it RIGHT NOW!
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What helps you set and achieve your goals? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!