NASE Blogs

Business Goal setting tips and tricks

Apr 24, 2011

OK ... here we are at the end of April. Taxes are pretty much out of the way and you should have a decent feel on the economy and what your business is capable of achieving this year. So, if you did a bunch of goals for New Years and they haven’t really worked out ... don’t get discouraged.

If you are serious about setting goals and making your plan work I want to offer up a few “Tips and Tricks” that might help you keep on track. Just remember the K.I.S.S. theory and don’t try to be unrealistic about what you are able to achieve.

Never depend on “finding time to set or evaluate your goals” … You never find time to do all the things you need to do in the entrepreneur’s life. You have to “make time”. Commit to setting, reviewing, and implementing your goals on a regular basis ... like the first day of every month. If you wait for the just right time … it may never happen.

Do what works for you ... Read all the books you want and go to all the seminars you can afford … but don’t think that you can be someone else. If a full blown business plan works for you … great. But, it you are more adept at just taking on one challenge at a time ... that is OK too. The key point to understand is that everyone is different and what works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for another person ... you need to find your own “goal success tricks”. Try different methods and keep doing what works and stop doing what doesn’t work … no matter what some guru might tell you!

Don’t be a lone wolf … The most successful people surround themselves with other talented people. Don’t try to be a hero who does it all … bring in the talents of employees, spouses, and professional advisors who can offer ideas and help motivate you to success.

Build goals on past success … Look back over the past few years and make a list of what you did that was really successful. Make another list of those things that didn’t go so well, or that you should have done but didn’t.

Be realistic ... Don't make "blue sky" projections. It's better to take longer to achieve small goals than to set unrealistic goals that are unobtainable. Becoming distraught over the lack of results usually creates a negative “no-can-do” attitude and ends up with giving up.

Be specific ... Setting a “general” goal doesn't allow you to measure results. Set a specific achievable goal based on past results.

Don't set too many goals ... Develop a plan that allows dedicated efforts without becoming sidetracked. Once a set of goals is achieved, set new ones. Generally, no more than four major goals should be worked on at the same time. A key element to success in reaching any business goal isn’t about hitting a home run. It’s about taking small steps to success.

Outline actions to achieve the desired results and a timeline ... You need to have "actions" to reach a goal. If you want to decrease operating costs you get there by regularly evaluating payroll and production expenses or conduct a competitive comparison to ensure you are inline with the industry.

Break major goals into small segments that can be tracked ... For example; If overall you want to grow your business 20% in a year, strive to increase profits 5-percent in January through March, 10-percent April through June, 15-percent July through September and 20-percent October through December.

Prioritize … Prioritize goals as to which are most important and which are least important along with which goals will produce the best results to your bottom line ... know which goals are going to give you the biggest return on your investment.

Regularly review progress ... At least once a month, review your goals, projections and results, and revise them if necessary based on actual achievement and current conditions.

No matter what your goals are be sure to religiously review financial statements, business plans and every aspect of your business every month ...The #1 mistake that small businesses make that prevent them from controlling their finances and keeping more of what they work for is poor financial habits.

REMEMBER the primary rule in any business is …

            There is only one reason to be in business ... Make a profit!

            There is only one way to stay in business ... Make a profit!

Don't give up ... If the projected results aren't reached within the planned time, re-evaluate the goal and, if necessary, put it on hold until a later date when conditions may be more conducive to success and move on by putting more effort into the next set of goals on your list.

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