“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.”
– Lawrence J. Peter
According to a landmark Harvard study, setting goals and writing down your business objectives enhances your motivation and increases your likelihood of success. Moreover, companies that had written objectives showed a 700 percent increase in growth versus those that didn’t. The results clearly showed that setting goals and writing them down increases success rates and the chances of achieving those goals. Further, we all know that failing to meet goals is pretty frustrating and can set you back.
So, what can a business owner/executive do? Here are five things to remember about setting and executing your Business Goals:
1. Fail fast and learn from every mistake.
Yes, fail fast – that means drive to your objective but if the road is impossible, pivot and try something else – and before you’ve spent all your time and money. When mistakes happen, celebrate them as learning opportunities and share what those learnings are. Develop goals around your overall business objectives, and then use them to develop 3-year, 1-year and quarterly, team and individual goals. It’s important that every team member sees how their objectives are part of and contribute to overall business goals. If you are trying to grow and scale your business, written goals are one of the keys to your financial success. If and when a setback occurs, you can put it in context with your overall objectives.
2. Build a support system.
High performers and successful business owners don’t do it alone. They understand that they can achieve more and do it faster with the help of a mentor, coach, or an advisory team. If you want to get a higher level of fitness, you should probably hire a personal trainer to help you create and follow-through on a training program. Setting and meeting business goals is no different. Look for allies and build a network of experts who care about your success and keep you heading toward your goals. Meet with them regularly, seek their wisdom, ask for advice, and listen carefully. More about this at the end of this article.
3. Set SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound.
This acronym was first coined by George Doran in 1981 and is just as useful today. Far too many people set goals that are not “SMART” in any sense. For example, people say “This year my goal is to make more money.” But, how much more money? By what date? Doing what? By not including these specifics, the goal has no meaning and likely won’t be achieved. We will explore SMART goals in more detail in a subsequent article.
4. Understand the Fear of Failure.
Some business owners don’t want to write down their objectives and share them because they’re afraid to expose themselves and fail. However, every experienced business person knows you can’t really predict the future. So long as you “fail fast” (see #1 above) and study those failures to learn from them, you’ll keep on improving. Don’t let fear of failure keep you from setting and declaring clear goals. Your support network should demand this of you as you should demand it of them. Learn from your setbacks and celebrate your successes.
5. Writing down your goals increases motivation and improves your chances of success.
Defining goals should be a collaborative endeavour, because when you involve others, everyone is aware of their objectives and are now more accountable to achieve them. Written goals provide a way to tie each contributor’s performance to the overall company goals, which in turn are driven by measurable objectives — such as revenue, profit, and customer satisfaction. Hitting each milestone gives positive feedback for the achievements which should be celebrated by recognition and rewards.. Don’t be afraid to put your goals out there and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”
– Henry Ford
Written by Phil Doublet
Advisor & Business Coach for Chinook Business Advisory Ltd