Summer is here. The epic battle between air conditioner and heat wave has officially begun. Armed with a glass of ice-cold lemonade in one hand and a sweet chunk of watermelon in the other, you suddenly come to the realization that the fiscal year is more than halfway over.
You start sweating. And no, it’s not because of the scorching July weather.
It’s time for you to reflect on your corporate state of affairs. Have you reached the goals that you set for yourself at the beginning of year? Are you at a particular stage in business you’re satisfied with? In which areas have you succeeded? Could you be doing better in others?
Don’t fret if you’re not quite there yet or have stumbled off track. You’re certainly not alone.
The promising news is that now, in the third quarter of the year, you have just enough time to alter your course and start implementing lucrative changes in your business. The seeds of change are goals. Sharpening your goal-setting skills could prove vital in effectively growing your business and bolstering your bottom line.
A 34-year old self-made multimillionaire who earned his first million at 25 and grossed over $600 million in revenue last year recently expressed that he owes his success to a simple piece of goal-setting advice. His mantra? “If you don’t set goals properly, you’re guaranteed not to reach them. If you do set goals properly, you’re not guaranteed to reach them, but at least you have a shot!”
If you’re motivated to get out of a rut, expand your product-line, or simply increase profits, heeding the following goal-setting steps will give you the chance to make it happen, or at least move in the right direction, before the close of the business year.
Step 1: What Do You Want?
First and foremost, you need to clearly define your business goals. What do you want to accomplish? The trick is establishing quantifiable goals. If they can’t be measured, it will be near impossible to monitor your progress and adjust your plan to ensure that your goals are met. Your goals should be realistic, but never sell yourself short. Ensuring that your goals are specific will simultaneously help you clarify exactly what you want to achieve and allow you to track your progress. Don’t just plan to “increase your sales.” How much do you want to increase sales? And by what deadline? These quantifiable measures are your keys to success.
Step 2: Put it on Paper
Publisher and founding director of Success Magazine, Darren Hardy, who owned a company producing $50 million a year in revenue at the ripe old age of 27, always tells entrepreneurs, “Don’t just think it, ink it!” If you don’t record your goals on paper, they’re merely transient wishes. The first action step toward achieving a goal is writing it down. Otherwise your goals will escape you, as you get caught up in managing your day-to-day business affairs.
Another important thing to put in writing is your deadline. Without one, your goal is bound to fail. When you establish a timeline, you’re putting your goal into context. Otherwise, “life happens” and you end up pushing your goals further and further off. Choose a reasonable deadline; not too soon that you’re setting yourself up for failure but not so far off that you lose momentum.
Step 3: Create A Trusty Roadmap
A goal is useless if you don’t have a plan detailing how to achieve it. Working out the logistics may be tedious, but if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So, how do you plan to achieve your goal of increasing your sales by 15% in 6 months? Perhaps you need to increase your customer base by using direct marketing campaigns or engaging with your clientele via social media platforms. Do you need to add someone to your team to take on these new responsibilities? Do you need to improve your e-commerce site by hiring a graphic designer to give it a badly needed face-lift? Whatever your goals, clearly identify what steps you’ll take to achieve them. As you evaluate your progress at milestones along the way, you may need to adjust your action plan – and that’s fine!
Step 4: Go Public!
You’re much more likely to stick to your action plan if you have accountability. Sharing your plan with a team can be very motivating. You can determine what kind of role the team will play. It may be advantageous to meet with them at designated milestones to discuss your progress and get their feedback. Making your goals known may give you that extra push you need to stay committed to your goals.
Step 5: Pat Yourself on the Back
Setting your plan into action isn’t easy, but it’s well worth it. Ensure that you see your goals through. Whenever you reach a milestone, reward yourself and your team. Positive reinforcement can do wonders for personal and professional morale. Just stay focused and enjoy the process.
There is no time like the present. As daunting as it may seem to do the legwork of goal-setting right now, you’ll appreciate the eventual pay-off. So grab a pen and paper and brainstorm what you’d like to see happen before the end of this business year… but not before you finish eating that juicy slice of watermelon.
Onward and upward,