Today we are going to talk about goal setting! I would say this is a good time of year to do this, but really I find myself having to do quarterly goal setting. YES, REALLY! I stop “working” (running on the hamster wheel) and start making sure that all the work I am doing is actually productive work!
While there are many different kinds of goals (personal, professional, health), this post is going to be talking about accomplishing goals for your business.
I started thinking about this while talking with a coaching client who was seriously considering whether to work with a new client. Her story, and a few more, will help make my theory about goal setting clear later!
3 Important Factors of Goal Setting
Having worked with hundreds of small business owners I have found that there are three important factors in actually accomplishing set goals…
This is ABSOLUTELY the most important factor that determines whether you will carry through with your goal. Not surprisingly, a human being that likes what they are doing will be more inclined to work on it than if they hate doing it (shocking but true!)
You need to make sure what you are trying to accomplish is deeply interesting to you. If it is just a passing fancy (or someone else's dream) then you will be tempted to get off track when the going gets tough.
It is easy to think that anything we want to do is going to be well received in the marketplace. Unfortunately, this is just not the case!
There are millions of things that we could be doing or making at any given time. We can spend hours (days) researching and trying and working, all on something that will fall flat with a big thud when we go ahead and try to sell it.
I am constantly hearing about “greedy business owners”, but in my experience many small business owners don't always keep their own financial best interests in the forefront.
Many of my clients have great hearts and want to do good or help people. They are willing to work their butts off for very little financial compensation. With this in mind, you need to make sure that there is a really good chance of being well compensated for what you are doing!
A Great Goal Has All Three Factors
I am super visual and often seeing a process in pictures helps me to clarify my thoughts. With that in mind I made a cool…
Handy Dandy Venn Diagram of Goal Setting!
Seeing this made the choices of goals even more clear for me!
Interesting became linked to time… the only irreplaceable asset in my business. I can make more money, buy more inventory or get more clients, but any time I spend off track is gone forever.
Needed became even more clear… there is a really big difference between something that is wanted, liked or NEEDED. That last one means that your product or service is going to help someone and that they will be compelled to purchase it from you!
A great resource for figuring this out is Pat Flynn's book, Will It Fly. This may be one of the best books ever for keeping on track with your business ideas! (promo)
And finally profitable jumped out as a full third of a deciding factor on what to do… social media is a great marketing tool, but is spending time on it profitable (for some it is, for many no). Growing a huge email list is great, but only if you have a way to monitize it.
Goal Setting Connections
Everything that I have tried and failed at in business has had two, but not three of these items. The biz owners that I work with have experienced this too! With that in mind, let's look at some real life examples.
Interesting and Needed (but not Profitable)
The gal I talked about earlier fits into this one! She had the chance to work with a new client who was super passionate about his goals (shining a light on veteran soldiers) and she was interested in working with his team.
The one thing that I really tried to figure out with her was how was she going to get paid for supporting this goal.
She is a writer so there was the benefit of access to interview interesting people, okay that is good. She also saw it as a way to get to travel which was also interesting to her. And helping veterans was super needed… but, who was going to pay her?
After spending a lot of time (and a bit of her own money), she found out there was no way to monitize this project. While it did serve a great purpose, she is a business owner who needed to make money so she had to stop it and move on to something that would pay her bills.
Needed and Profitable (but not Interesting)
This one is super personal to me! I have a background in real estate and a current real estate licence so every time I reached out for help on how to improve my business, everyone said the answer is to focus solely on Realtors and stop working with my Etsy and writer peeps. Sigh.
I got it! But the thought of focusing ONLY on Realtors for the rest of my career was not a happy idea. I did try to do things along that line, but gradually became less and less creative and motivated.
For me, the interesting part is marketing, not a certain genre. To stay interested and motivated I have to be able to work with and learn about a wide range of client types. Focusing on Realtors might have increased my income considerably, but it would have decreased my enjoyment in my work.
Profitable and Interesting (but not Needed)
This one has broken lot of hearts! I feel like every one of us has had a great idea that should take the world by storm. We research it and find out that there is no real competition so why not go ahead and try it, only to find out there is no competition because there is no need in the marketplace.
Or it is something that we know our client base SHOULD do! One gal I work with does a great job with clients, figuring out where the money leaks are in their business, but then they don't want to do the things to fix those leaks. Her value comes from helping, but the client base is unwilling to do what it takes to implement her ideas.
A great resource for this problem is The Lean Startup. This book will help you to figure out at each point in the development cycle whether your idea has commercial merit and whether you should carry on or pivot to a new idea.
Goal Setting Wrapup
Having goals is easy, even getting super clear about your goals is a victory! But it is that old standby, “hurry up the ladder, but make sure it is leaning against the right wall!”
If you are working on something currently, take a moment to review whether it has all three factors of success. If you are working towards a new goal, start now and sketch out how your idea is going to hit each of these points for yourself or your company. A little time now can save you hours, weeks or months of effort later!