Why written goals are important...
It’s commonly quoted that people who have written goals are 50% more likely to achieve than people without goals.
That’s a compelling statistic. I’ve found it true in both my personal life and the help I give my clients. It’s the reason that when I start to work with new business owners, my first question to them is always “what are your goals?”. Likewise, I start every meeting I have with “what do we want to achieve in this time today.”
I do this because I find it helps us be strategic and focused. As a person or a team, we can accomplish more, when we're focused. It's true in life, and especially true in business.
Goals for your business are important because:
They define what you want to achieve
What is it you'd like to happen in your business? I’m going to hazard a guess and say that you’re reading this because you’re in business to make money. [By definition, business means a commercial enterprise. If you spend time doing it, but don’t intend or want to make money from it, that’s a hobby, not a business.] So, it's likely you're here because you'd like to earn money from your business.
But, if you haven’t set a goal or defined how much money you want/need to make from your business, then it’s hard to hit the target. Or, worse still, it’s EASY to hit the target, because you don’t have one defined. (Essentially, you can 'succeed' even when you’re failing to pay yourself and feed the family). That’s not usually satisfactory to most people I meet – most people want to feel like they are a success. Achieving your goals, and getting results, is a sure fire way to feel like you are successful. And success breeds success.
It's ok if money is not your number one goal though!
Personally, I'm more driven by freedom than I am by money. Sure, money is a tool for me to fund the freedom lifestyle I want, but it's the lifestyle goals that excite me not a particular sum of money. My approach to goal setting is to choose what I want to achieve (e.g., a family holiday to the UK, or work less than XX hours per week this quarter), then I work out how much money I need to fund that, and I work backwards from there.
So, I encourage you to think seriously about what it is that you want to achieve. Define your goals. Be specific. Make them measurable. Put a due-date. Own them and act on them.
You will waste less time
Hands up who can get a little off track at times? I’m the first to admit that my focus is like a butterfly’s – I flit about and easily get distracted. Distraction has got to surely be the number 1 productivity killer, which is why it’s important to remain focused. It's hard to focus on something and stay accountable when you haven’t defined what that thing you’re wanting to be doing is. I encourage you to base your task list off the goals you want to achieve. Staying focused on tasks that will lead you to your goals will waste less time.
You'll stay excited and productive when things get tough or tedious
As you go through the day to day grind and reply to that 100th enquiry about the same thing, it can be easy to forget why you’re in business. All the enjoyment-sucking daily grind tasks, or obstacles that crop up, can ruin your mood. As your mood reduces, so does your productivity. Lower productivity usually = less profit. But, you have a reason for being in business - it’s hopefully something that keeps you excited to get up each day. Staying focused on your goals is more likely to keep a sparkle in your eye. It will help you achieve whatever the goal is that you’re passionate about when things get a little hard.
It helps others support you
Whether you have a team of employees or a team of supporters on the sideline, we all need a good team behind us to be successful. If your team know what you want to achieve, they can support you in making it happen. Easy.
If you want input from investors, you will need a well-written business plan, based on your goals.
At The Helpful Academy we have lots of ways we can support you in achieving your goals:
A great option for getting a clear visual path forward, and a personalised plan is to take the In-Flight Audit®
The In-Flight Audit® will help you assess 26 areas of your business in under 15 minutes, and give you an action plan of what to work on first.
About the author:
Kat Soper is the Founder and Head Trainer of The Helpful Academy Online Business School.
Kat is passionate about helping start-ups and small businesses succeed and achieve their business goals so that they can achieve the lifestyle they desire (and deserve).
This is a great post. I like to write my goals down too for all the same reasons.
I love writing my goals down. This is a great post! Thanks for sharing.