Do’s & Don’ts for Setting Goals

Now is the time when many of us reflect on this year and begin looking forward to what the new year may bring. Take the time to acknowledge your accomplishments and maybe some lessons too. It’s important. But then move on — and focus on what is ahead of you. It starts with setting goals.

Whether you own a business or work for someone else, setting business, professional and personal goals pays off. 

7 Do’s & Don’ts for Setting Goals

Do Write Them Down & Keep Them Visible.  Your goals clarify what you want or a desired outcome.  If you are truly committed to achieving them, put them in writing and keep them visible so you view them often.  Whether that be daily, weekly or something else – don’t set them and forget them!

Don’t Go Overboard.  Since goals help keep you focused, too many can mess you up.  Keep the number of goals manageable – and set them for all areas of your life and business.  I recommend 4-5 personal goals and no more than 5-7 critical business goals. 

Do Be Specific.  As they say, vague goals create vague results. A goal like earn more money (which most people want) is too general to propel you to act. If you want to earn $100,000 next year, say so. Put it in writing. Now you can focus on what you need to do to achieve it. 

Do Make Them Measurable.  Goals are accomplished over time — so you will want to monitor your progress and stay on course. Quantify goals so you can track how you are doing. What we measure, we can achieve so build measurements into your personal or business goals.

Measurements can include actual results or improvement percentages — whichever works best for you. Here’s a few simple examples to demonstrate measurable goals:  Lose 20 pounds, Increase salary/wages by  20%, Arrive home by 6:00 pm, Read 2 books per month, Hire 2 new employees, Increase customer base by 10%.  

Do Set Deadlines.  All goals are not created equal.  Some are more critical.  Some take more time.  Some are contingent on others. Establishing due dates for your goals and related actions helps you prioritize what is important and creates urgency to get it done.  Deadlines also help you avoid procrastination.

Do Think Bigger.  Set goals that are challenging but realistic given the time-frame you establish. Get out of your comfort zone and put some stretch in those goals — so they actually excite and motivate you to take the action to achieve them.

Don’t Ignore the Why.  When setting goals, ask yourself “Why is this important to me?”. Know the motivation behind your goals to make them more meaningful.  Why do you want to earn 20% more this year or be home by 6:00 pm?  The why is often what really drives you — to keep going throughout the year. 

Goals without actions are simply dreams.

Nothing will happen until you take action. So once you identify your goals, take a few minutes to jot down what you need to do in order to accomplish them. Some goals require more tasks than others, but your road map to success requires you to take action.

As a final thought, share your goals with someone who has a stake in your success. Accountability goes a long way and can be the ingredient you need to put you over the top!

Attention Business Owners. Do you struggle with putting your goals together and developing a road map for success? Then check out my Ultimate Guide to Action Planning. This step-by-step guide will put you on the right path.

Get Started. Stay On Track

Do you want your business to take a major leap forward next year? To get off to a quick start and stay on track? Then my accountability program may be just what you need. More than accountability, this program provides business owners with structure, another set of eyes and practical advice too! And it all starts with setting goals. Click here to learn more or contact me directly.


Setting Goals: 4 Ways to Power Profit

Building a business is a marathon. It’s about consistency over a period of time. And it starts with setting goals and planning your activities. For sustainable growth and profit, here are four ways to make your planning pay off.

Focus On All Parts of Your Business.

While sales growth is important, improvements in four core areas – revenue, cost, customer satisfaction and operational performance – drive long-term profitability. Your goals and  activities should support them.

While sales growth is important, improvements in four core areas – revenue, cost, customer satisfaction and operational performance – drive long-term profitability. Your goals and  activities should support them.

  • Revenue: It’s not just about getting new customers. Look for ways to retain and grow your current customer base. Can you get them to buy more often or spend more? Can you expand or update your product or service offerings to reach new people?
  • Cost.  It’s not about cutting expenses, but optimizing your costs or improving the return on investment – from labor to marketing.
  • Customer Satisfaction. Happy customers are your best source of new business, especially today when social media makes it easy to give reviews and spread the word – good or bad. Do you and your team deliver on your promise to customers and make them feel appreciated?
  • Operational Performance.  How efficient and effective is your business?  Are your people productive? Is there a lot of waste and duplication?  Do you spend time re-doing work or services?  Do you struggle to meet customer or supplier deadlines?

Small improvements in all these areas can provide massive results on the bottom line.  So when setting goals, think systems and people to power profit and success.

Think Beyond Likes and Strengths.

When choosing the actions to support our goals, we often gravitate toward what we like or excel at.  If a task is critical to your success, you can’t just ignore it.  Delegate it, outsource it or learn how to do it effectively.

Keep It Balanced.

The majority of small business owners start their business to get more money, time, control and freedom. You can build a business that delivers these things, but it won’t happen if you create your plans in a vacuum, ignoring your personal vision and goals.  Remember, your business should support your life, not the other way around!

Change the Path You Take.

As you choose the activities to support your goals, avoid the tendency to go down the same path …

  • I need more revenue, so let’s get more customers
  • We must get more leads, so we need to do more marketing
  • I want more sales, so I must reduce my price or discount
  • We need more profit, so we need to cut expenses
  • I want a better team, so I need to hire better people
  • I want more time, so I need to hire more employees

Depending on your current business situation, some of these may be true. But did you know that you CAN …

  • Grow revenue and profit without adding new customers

    Ultimate Goals & Action Planning Guide
    A Step-By-Step Guide For Small Business Owners
  • Get more leads without investing more in marketing
  • Get new customers and keep the ones you have without discounting
  • Build profit by improving efficiency and productivity
  • Leverage your time and better serve your customers without hiring more people
  • Create a better team using the people you already have

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Why New Year Resolutions Don’t Work

While new year resolutions are common practice, most people fail to stay on track for more than a week or two.  Whether you want to lose weight, spend more time with family, work less or make more money – it takes more than good intentions to make it happen.

Here’s how to turn your resolutions into results.

# 1 – Think Goals. Most people set resolutions that are vague. So think goals instead.  Make it specific, write it down and keep it visible so it acts as a constant reminder for you.

#2 – Take Action. Nothing will change unless to take action and do something.  This may include specific tasks, new skills or simply changing some old habits or behaviors.  For example, if you want to spend more time with your family, you may need to go into work earlier, delegate non-essential tasks, hire an assistant, improve your time management skills or plan and prioritize you work better.  So now that you set your goal, identify what you need to DO in order to achieve it.

#3 – Share It.  Share your goal with someone who is supportive and passionate about your success.  This can be a spouse, friend, mentor or coach.  Sharing your goals with someone else adds a level of accountability and focus – because it is natural for them to ask you how you are doing.  It’s the best motivation out there!

It’s not too late.  Make this the year you get what you want. Set It.  Do It. Share It.