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Making and Achieving Your Business Goals

You know by now how important goal setting is for your business. But how are you actually doing with setting and, more importantly, keeping those goals?

Goal setting is not an easy thing. It involves time and often emotional energy that can be hard to come by when you are focused on just getting through today. Plus, your goals are personal and unique to your business, which means you cannot just fill in the blanks and follow the steps to achieving them.

If you Google “how to set goals,” you will get hits that range from training for a marathon to growing a multi-million-dollar business. You can try SWOT analyses or SMART goals or checklists or meditation — the list goes on and on. It can hard to figure what will work for you and what will end up in the pile of broken resolutions.

Regardless of the tool, most goal-setting methods have some basic steps: find your motivation, build in accountability, create a plan and allocate your resources. 

What motivates you?

When planning a dream vacation, most people like to start with a destination in mind. More often than not, that destination is more about what you want to get out of your vacation than the specifics of geography and itinerary and cost. You want to be invigorated, you want to relax, or you want to reconnect.

It should be the same with your goal setting.

Whether you call them Big Hairy Audacious Goals or Objectives, and whether you define them in one word or a logic model, it all boils down to a simple question — what do you want to achieve? If everything goes your way, what will have changed? What does your world look like when your goal/objective/vision is achieved?

This is the aspirational, fun part of goal setting. Focus on your ultimate motivations like thriving and creating and changing lives. If you need a nudge, refer to your mission statement or take some time reminiscing about what got you into your business in the first place.

Avoid defining your goals just yet and just dream. If this was vacation planning, now is when you focus on the beach. You will get to the beach towel and the budget later.

Be accountable

This is the part where you can start defining your dreams more clearly and figure out how you will get there. Think of it like when you look up destinations to decide which kind of beach you want to be on and when you want to book your trip.

For the detail-oriented and vision board people, the SMART Goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) and OGSM (Objectives, Goals, Strategies, and Methods) can be great frameworks. These tools encourage you to think clearly about what your goal looks like and when you know you have achieved it. You have defined achievements to work towards and check off, and they tie clearly to your ultimate vision or objectives.

Another tool is the BSQ method, or Think Big, Act Small and Quickly The basics of this are the same as SMART Goals and OGSM, but the mechanics differ in that you simply break down your big vision into smaller steps, and then you have a schedule to hold you accountable.

Finally, the Backward Goals tool start at your vision and work backward. After defining what success looks like, you describe how you know you have succeeded and what you need to do to achieve success.

Your plan of attack

Now that you can be specific about where you are going and what your vacation will look like you can start planning your trip in earnest. Using the BSQ timeline, your OSGM Methods, your actions from the Backward Goals or even the more visual Golden Circle, you can start figuring out what you need to do.

Of course, a long to-do list can be overwhelming, even for the most detail-oriented of us. Some experts recommend a Tiered Goals framework in which you schedule your goals and tasks based on when they can be done. With this tool, you have a built-in check in points to reassess and recommit.

Some leaders use the Goal Pyramid, which breaks down goals into urgency and milestones. This is particularly helpful when you are working on multiple activities at once, all of which support a bigger objective.

Use your resources

It is now time to look at how you can afford to take the vacation of your dreams. Or, rather, how you can build the business of your dreams.

Keeping your ultimate goal in mind, take an honest look at where you are thriving and where you could use some help. A SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) can be useful in this stage. Check in with peers and competitors to determine where others are compared to you. And bring in employees or even trusted clients to highlight blind spots you may have missed.

Do not forget to count mentors, support networks and your own insight as an asset in achieving your goals. All the financial assets in the world cannot make up for real-world experience and knowledge.

Everyone from Tony Robbins to Brene Brown to your mom has ideas about what is the best way to achieve your goals. What it comes down to, however, is what works for you and your business. Take the time to find a tool and method that works for you and you are already on the right path to achieving your goals.