When it comes to setting goals for your online business growth, it's vital you know exactly what you want to achieve first - your vision - BEFORE you start creating your ultimate wish list of things to get done this year.
That's where, in my experience, most business owners go wrong - they just don't set their goals within the wider context of what they are actually trying to achieve and what they are passionate about long term.
It leads to your goals feeling a bit pointless or unachievable ...and when you feel like that about the goals you've set, more often than not, you shrug your shoulders and ignore them, pretending you didn't set them in the first place!
Sounds familiar right? We've all done it...
So it's time to get back to basics and power up your online business performance by starting with a simple goal setting process you will actually stick with!
My step by step guide below details exactly what you need to know to set crystal clear goals that work hard to drive you forward and create momentum in your business.
Goal setting is the process of defining:
When we set clear goals we have something to aim for, a sense of direction and a clear success path to follow.
Goals can and should be set at all levels;
How will you know if you are making the right decisions each day and taking the business in the right direction if you have no idea what it is you are trying to achieve or what that success looks like?
You need to set goals. Clarify what it is you are aiming for.
.. and then most importantly measure your success against those goals.
It's how you know you are progressing.
Goal setting is typically undertaken annually as part of an Entrepreneurs business planning process. This is one of the key ways to discover your true priorities for growing your business and once you have done the work on goal setting, the outputs will keep you on track as your work towards that business success.
Goals set the standard for your team, defining exactly what you want to be achieved and what you want them to prioritise.
Team members that work for you will also want to know what their individual goals are so that they can know when they are doing great work and how they contribute to the overall success of the team.
Each layer of goals in your company should always be aligned with the overall business goals. So an individual goal must align to a team goal, which aligns to an overall business goal.
Goals flow up through the business - this is where the phrase "all rowing in the same direction" comes from....
Not only does it make sense, but individuals working towards a common greater goal are more focused, they feel part of something and motivated to achieve more.
So let's get into it - this is how you get started with simple goal setting:
The first step to setting goals is acknowledging where you are today.
Now you know "where you are" - next it's time to cast your mind forward and imagine what the future might look for your business.
Paint that picture in your mind and then write down a simple statement of the business you are trying to create. e.g.
In 12 months time I will be running a business that serves xxx [insert type of customers] globally, I will have generated $x of sales and paid myself a monthly income of $x. Our profit will be $x and the number of customers on my email list will be xxx. I will have x members of staff working for me and we will known for our success in selling xxx [insert products or services].
When you know where you are today, AND where you want to get to - you can start to see the gap that exists between those two places.
For example, if today you currently achieve online sales of £3,000 per month and you would like to get to £10,000 per month, then you can see that your gap is that you need to find more sales and that a sales target of £7,000 more sales each month is required to achieve your goal.
For each "gap" you have identified between where you are today, and where you want to get to - now write yourself a goal.
Your goal or aim is to close that gap.
You goal is to find a way to move yourself from where you are today, to where you want to be, by taking action. Taking baby steps towards that goal.
Get specific by breaking it all down into more manageable chunks. Don't think too broad or vague like "grow my online business" ... get very specific on what your growth goals are:
Once you have set your goals, of course it is time to take action. There is absoltuely no point in doing all that hard work and excellent goal setting if you are going to store your goals on a dusty shelf somewhere!
So how might you find more sales? Well, you need to find more customers...
How might you find more customers? Well, you need to look in the places your customers might hang out....
And that leads to action > Researching where your customers hang out and marketing directly to them in that place.
When a "gap" or goal seems huge - don't panic. Just think to yourself what would be the very first action I could take today that would help me move a little closer to that goal?
Then start rolling your brain forward through all the possible steps you would need to take one after another in order to achieve your goal.
Finally - write these steps down - this is your action plan!
Your goals should use the SMART methodology. That is, they need to be:
This methodology ensures that you have a well-defined goal. You will also be able to tell when you have achieved it. Make sure that you are accountable for your goals, so make them prominent and allow others to see them.
If you are struggling when it comes to setting goals, then there are a great number of resources available online that will assist you in setting your goals.
TED talks online is an inspiring resource to help you achieve good things and these talks are available on a wide range of topics. There are a number that relate to the setting of goals that are worth a watch.
One of my favourite articles around is 6 Tips for Goal-Setting That, Trust Me, They Don't Teach You in College this takes you through some thought provoking steps you need to think about when it comes to setting big goals.
Your goals are there to inspire you and your team into action. Any time that you are ‘stuck’ for what to do next to grow your business, or what to prioritise above all the noise and clutter, simply go back and look at your goals - you will quickly see what your next steps should be.
With well-defined goals your business will be set up for success and you will know when you have achieved your business dream.