~by Haley Lynn Gray~
There are a few things you can do in business that nearly guarantee you’ll make more money. One of those things is to set goals in your life and in your business. They can be quite simple or they can be rather complex.
In general, if you set a goal, you are at least 30 times more likely to achieve it. The number goes up if you actively tell people about it. And there are apps now that you can use to track progress on goals. With one of these apps, you have to pay up if you don’t hit your goals. Imagine the consequences of having to give someone money for not reaching a goal.
In January, we will start with this year’s Girl Scout Cookie sale. One of the first things I have the girls do is to list out their goals for the upcoming cookie season. Of course, I try to be reasonable about it, so if a girl who has never sold any boxes before suddenly says she’s going to sell 2,000 boxes, I know that is probably not realistic. I do start to worry when my younger daughter tells me that she plans on selling at least 3,500 boxes of cookies this year, because I know she’ll do it and that I’ll be spending way too much time in front of stores selling cookies for the months of January, February, and March.
Goals need to be specific. For example, you might have a goal that you’re going to sell a certain number of widgets, or that you’re going to build your email list by a certain number of people, or that you will consistently send out emails starting on a particular date.
The second thing that you need in your magical goal setting recipe is that the goals need to be attainable. From my example above, I try to determine whether a particular girl’s goals are attainable, or whether she’s off in the weeds dreaming about a prize that isn’t likely to happen. This year I know that I have two girls (at least) that are gunning for the 3,500 box level. They are likely to hit their goal because they both have a history of selling large numbers of boxes of cookies and they have the parental support to do it.
Third, goals need to be measurable. If you just say you’re going to do more marketing for your business, how are you going to measure “more marketing”? Or “more sales”. Everything should be measurable. As in the example above, the goals are for a set number of Girl Scout Cookies to be sold, which is perfect.
Fourth, there needs to be a specific due date for goals. In the case of Girl Scout cookies, we know when the end of the sale is, so we know we want to do a certain number of cookies by the end of the sale in March. We have just about 60 days to sell the cookies before we have to pay Council for them. We can, of course, go into overtime with leftovers, but in this case, we mostly end up finishing on time. And that’s a pretty good thing, since I’m usually thoroughly sick of cookies by the end of the Girl Scout Cookie selling season.
Goals need to be on a short timeline. They should not be so far in the future that you procrastinate. When goals are set that far out, you may be tempted to put off working on them because there will always be “tomorrow”. Only, that date never arrives, and you won’t achieve what you were working towards. For goals with longer timelines, up to 90 days is a reasonable length of time. This way you can keep your eyes on the end goals.
In my own businesses I set goals much the same way. We’re going to acquire X number of clients in X amount of time. When it comes to achieving goals, it’s easier when your dealing with just yourself. If you have employees, you’ll have greater success if they are invested in the goals, so you’ll want to incentivize them.
When setting goals with employees, they need to have both rewards and consequences for achieving or missing goals. Goals have to be attainable by the particular employees, and they need to have all of the above qualities as well.
In addition to setting goals, it’s important to set a range of goals for a time period, with low, medium and high goals. That way, you can reward yourself for hitting the easier goals while working to achieve the more difficult ones.
Here’s an example with gaining clients as the goal: I set a goal to acquire at least 2-3 new clients per month, with a maximum of 12. If I bring on too many new clients, then I can’t do a good job with them, but if I bring on too few, I don’t have enough income to meet my needs.
Goal setting is important in life and in business because it gives you something to work towards. By setting goals that are near enough for you to feel the urgency to work on, you will make steady progress in your business.
Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray
Haley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.
Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.
Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.
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