Goal Setting Is Your Lifeline
Is your business stuck in a rut? Do you feel like you are drowning in the day-to-day responsibilities of keeping your business going? That’s not an uncommon spot to be in, especially for small business owners. A Metcalf & U.S. Chamber of Commerce study reported that on average small business owners spend 14 hours a day working on their business; that’s nearly double the time that the average American employee spends working.
No question: you are BUSY. When your day is consumed with business decision after business decision, payroll, inventory, regulations, staffing, technology, and more, it doesn’t take long to start feeling like you are checking the minimum requirement boxes and barely keeping the business afloat. The problem is, when your focus is just on staying afloat, you might survive, but you aren’t getting anywhere.
You need a lifeline: you need goals. It might seem counter intuitive to pause scooping the water out of your sinking boat, to step away from working on the day-to-day priorities, but taking a moment to grab a hold of goals is the lifeline that could save your business. PFSbrands CEO Shawn Burcham says it this way: “If you want to grow your business, then you need to constantly find ways to work on the business instead of in the business.” Whether you have an hour to spare or a day to really dive in, make time for goal setting.
Really LOOK at your business
Before you can plot a path to get to where you want to go, you have to know where you are. Take time to really evaluate the state of your business. Ask questions like:
- What do the financial reports say about the current state of your business?
- What are your customers saying?
- How do your employees feel about working for your business?
- What have been the biggest pain points as a business owner or manager?
- What have you spent the most time working on this last year?
- What areas of your business are being neglected due to lack of time and resources?
Teachers don’t test students for torture purposes; teachers test students to evaluate their level of learning. The same applies here. While evaluating these questions might be painful and leave you feeling like a business-failures, a deep dive into the current state of your business will give you the insights to map the path to success.
Where do you want to go?
Now that you have pin-pointed the current location in your business, it’s time to determine your destination. Where do you want your business to go? What does success look like? There’s a popular Michelangelo quote that says, “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” This is YOUR business. You get to define success. Don’t aim small. Here are some questions to ask when thinking about where you want your business to go:
- What do you want your business to be known for?
- How do you want your customers to see your business?
- How do you want your employees to feel about working for your business?
- What does financial success look like for your business?
You know where you are, you know where you want to go… now how do you get there? It’s time for goal setting.
Define your Goals
This is where you plug in your destination and your current location to chart the path. There are many possible routes to get to where you want to go. Start brainstorming the steps and benchmarks that will get your business to your definition of success. Those steps and benchmarks will be the smaller goals that will lead to accomplishing your bigger goal of success.
There is a popular acronym using the word SMART that provides useful parameters for how to set goals. Your goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Track and Communicate Your Goals
You were already feeling under water, and now you’ve defined your dreams for success and the goals to get there. It seems as if you’ve just added even MORE to your already overwhelming workload. How will you track these goals, let alone communicate them to your team? One valuable resource for helping managers track their performance and goals is a tool called GRITTrac.
GRITTrac is a web portal that helps you track goals, engage employees, and keep everyone in your company focused on the big picture. You can set goals for the company, specific teams, and individuals. You and your employees can even set and track personal goals. Additionally, the tool allows you to import your entire business playbook, organizational chart, and even financial performance information to give a full high-level consolidated overview of how your company is performing and if it is on track to reach its goals.
Planning, tracking, and communicating your goals is the way to get your business out of the rut it is in. Find what works for your unique business, whether you utilize GRITTrac, develop your own system, or utilize other tools on the market. Goal setting IS the gamechanger.