Attainable and measurable goals are everything both in life and business: without them you can’t truly track your progress or success. A lot of people’s goal going into business is to make money and, yes, that’s fair enough. But the best way to actually achieve this kind of massive goal is to plan out a bunch of smaller and more immediate ones. The key to achieving the vision you have for your business is to set your goals and have a business plan in place for those goals.
Factors Within Your Control
There are some things in life and business that you simply can’t control. This is a fact that you’re going to have to come to terms with pretty fast so you can focus on things you can control. You can focus on your coffee quality, but you can’t control an increase in coffee prices. You can control the ways you’re merchandising your products, but you can’t control a medical report stating that coffee increases your risk for heart problems.
When you set your goals, make sure you are focusing on things you can actually affect. There are plenty of aspects of your business you have complete or at least the majority of control over. These are the ones you have to focus on and learn not getting caught up in the other messes.
Setting Specific Goals
Looking at a massive long term plan can be really overwhelming and is a recipe for hopelessness and indecision during an important process. That’s why you should set your long-term goal and then break that big goal down into small, short-term goals. These will be stepping stones for you to follow towards your final destination.
Set Your Long-Term Goals
This type of goal is something you’re wanting to accomplish over the next 3-5 years. These may be things like financial goals like sales goals, profit goals, or expansion goals. You might set your goal as “make $25,000 a month in sales”. These are the most typical long-term goals we’ve seen business owners make.
Set Your Short-Term Goals
Once you’ve determined your long-term goals, it’s time for you to break these big ideas down into smaller little ones. If your coffee shop is currently making $10,000 a month in sales, and you still want to get that $25,000 a month, you’re going to need to make a bunch of smaller plans to move it up to where you want. You want to create a set of plans that will act as your action plan that you can measure in increments to track your progress.
Think of it as a two-story house: you’re on the first floor and you want to get up to the second level. You’re going to need a staircase! Each step on that staircase will take you to the next and then the next, until you reach that second floor. As basic as that concept was, it’s pretty effective. It helps to visualize that to see that you don’t just automatically jump from the first floor to the second; you went up a series of steps to get there.
This is the same with business. You can’t expect your business to jump to the next level without defining the small steps to get you there. To do this, break down your long-term objective into daily, weekly, monthly, and annual goals. To increase your revenue, you might set your goal to sell 20% more pastries. To sell more pastries, your goals might be to train your employees to ask customers if they want food, and make sure your pastry case is always clean and appetizing.
Creating a Plan and Putting it Into Action
The next step is actually coming up with the plan. This involves deciding on which specific actions you’re going to take on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to stay on top of your goals. You’re also going to want to be as specific as possible with who’s executing each and what results you want to see. The more detail the better! This makes for a good goal. Once you come up with a specific goal, ask yourself “How exactly do I plan on accomplishing this?” The answer to this isn’t an easy answer, but the more you work through that question, the clearer and more detailed plan you’ll have.
Focus and Evaluate
You’re going to want to focus on each step that you’ve created to see which specific actions can be taken to get this goal accomplished. You can get as nitty gritty specific as you’d like; the more the better so that you know exactly what you’re doing to get to the next step in the plan. It’s also essential to talk to your employees whatever goals you set because they’re going to be a massive part of the process too. You’ll want to keep track of their progress towards the goal and make sure they’re staying on track. It’s helpful to give them feedback and keep everyone updated on the overall progress towards each goal.
Once you set up your smaller periodic goals, you can then evaluate how realistic and attainable they are. After sitting down and checking out your goals, you might need to change things if they’re a little too unrealistic like wanting to go from $10K to $20K in sales in a week. You’re going to want to reevaluate your goals along the way to make sure you’re on track and that they’re still relevant. If you’re continuing to exceed your goals, you might want to make them more challenging. On the other hand if it feels like you’re not meeting any goals that you’re setting, you might want to adjust them. Aiming high is good, but not accomplishing any goals is demoralizing. Not hitting any goals also suggests they weren’t the right goals in the first place.
Goals Achieved? What’s Next?
You’ve achieved the goals, so now what? Well the answer to this is twofold:
First you’re going to want to take a look back and see how you did through that process. Take a look at the entire process and the results that came from it as a whole and all of the details. Ask yourself these questions:
- What was achieved?
- What was learned?
- What could’ve been done different?
- How can we improve?
- How realistic were the goals?
- Were they the right goals for what we wanted to get done?
Once you take some time to reflect, it’s time to make new goals and plan of action and the whole process starts itself over. This way your business will be on this guided and on-going journey towards new goals and achievements.