Boss Lady

4 steps for setting achievable goals


A: “My goal is for my business to win more new clients.” 

B: “My goal is for my business to generate 10 new sales by the end of the quarter.” 

Which of the above goals is more likely to be achieved?

I think you it’s option B. It shows serious intent about achieving a goal by placing numbers and a timeframe on it. Option A is really just a wish.

You don’t need to wait until the beginning of the year to set goals – any time is a great time to take stock of where you are now, recalibrate, and set new goals for where you want to be.

But whether you actually achieve those goals will depend largely on whether you are doing four things that many business owners are not currently doing… 

1. Create S.M.A.R.T. goals

Make SMART goals: that’s not just a convenient or clever name. It’s a really simple acronym to remember and apply every time you create a goal. It means the following:

  • SPECIFIC your goal should be no longer than 15 words and be aimed at something very specific;
  • MEASURABLEyou must know when you’ve achieved your goal: that means you need to make it measurable by including numbers;
  • ACHIEVABLEmake sure that the goal can be achieved in the timeframe you set (see the final point);
  • REALISTIC make sure you have the right tools and resources to complete the goal;
  • TIMEDinclude actual dates rather than a timespan. With a date, you are more likely to commit and work towards that specific day and take the action necessary.

Think SMART for all of your goals and they’ll be a lot easier to achieve.

2. Write each goal down

If you write down your goals, you’re over 80% more likely to achieve them than those who don’t commit their goals to paper. To be truly effective, goals must be written down. Only then will you commit to the necessary actions. And when I say written down – I don’t mean write them in a notebook and put the notebook away in a drawer never to be referred to again!

I was at a friend’s house recently and she’d gotten the whole family involved in their goals. When washing my hands in the bathroom I discovered the mirror was covered in sticky notes with everybody’s goals written on them. And each day the kids would race home from school to mark off their goals on the fridge. What a great way to teach the kids about goal setting! 

3. Focus on the activity – not the goal

If you’re a rugby union player lining up a conversion kick after a try, is it best to focus on the scoreboard or the goalposts?

Ultimately, the goal is to win the match by getting the highest amount of points on the scoreboard. However, if you focus on that (the end goal) you’ll miss the kick…and be less likely to achieve the end goal!

To achieve a goal, you need to focus your sights on the specific actions necessary to complete it. Only then will you kick the goals.

Now apply this to your own business: break each goal down until all that is left is the action required. For instance, say it’s the end of the quarter now. If your main goal is to generate 10 new sales by the end of the next quarter, what does that mean in terms of activity?

  • How many proposals do you have to write to get 10 sales? 40?
  • How many sales meetings do you need to have to generate 40 proposals: 80?
  • How many calls do you need to make to set up 80 meetings: 240?
  • How many business days are there between now and the target goal date: 80?
  • How many calls do you need to make each business day to arrange meetings: 3?

The goal that once seemed so far off (10 new sales) now seems far more achievable because you know the precise daily action required to accomplish it: three calls to prospects per day is not scary at all. And you know that by taking this activity, you will reach your target.

4. Reward yourself

It’s really important to recognise your achievements in business and reward yourself for them. Yes, the reward may be actually achieving your goal, but there’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with a little something extra too.

I have two very busy boys who can sometimes get a little rowdy at school. So they have behavior goals that they work towards each day. They decide at the beginning of each day what their goals will be, and decide on what their reward will be for achieving their goals. It’s often iPad time or Lego time for the last 15 minutes of the afternoon which they think is really cool. And they come home every day excited to show me that they reached their goals and tell me all about their amazing Lego creations.

By setting real goals you have positive, purposeful, reachable signposts for the future of your business; rather than simply being reactive, you are in control of your own direction and destiny.

About Sarah Stein

Sarah Stein is the woman behind Miss Efficiency Bookkeeping, and the author of “Wow … I’m in Business!” Sarah knows all too well the detours and road-blocks that business owners can encounter on the journey of running a business. And that’s where her passion comes from – seeing business owners manoeuvre around those obstacles and forge their own path to run a successful business.

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