Can you believe another year has passed? As I look back, I’m amazed at how far we’ve come. At the same time, I look ahead and am overwhelmed by how far I still want to go. Can you relate? Goal setting is something that is consistently on my mind. I’m always reevaluating my goals and adding new ones.
I rewrite my marketing plan each year. There, I evaluate past successes, or areas where I fell short and devise a plan for reaching new goals in the coming year. I highly recommend this process. It can be very revealing and enlightening.
But, how do you know that your goals are realistic and attainable? Here are seven helpful strategies!
1) First and foremost, write it down!
You will never be able to hold yourself accountable if you can’t refer back to your original goals. So grab a pen and start jotting down ideas.
You can always organize your thoughts on the computer later. Writing ideas and goals down will help you think through the process and gain insight on what all it will take to accomplish the goals you have in mind.
2) Be specific!
Expand or grow is not a specific goal. While that may very well be your goal, you need to make it more specific. Think through the process. How will you grow and expand? What will be your specific strategies? Does that mean hiring employees? Increasing sales? Make sure your goals are clearly defined and tangible.
3) Are they measurable?
Now that you have some specific goals in mind, how are you going to measure them? You can’t accomplish something if you don’t know what it is you wanted to accomplish. Did you want to hire five employees or just one? Did you want to increase your sales by 100 percent or just 50? Include something in each goal that can be measurable. If your goal is to advertise more, state how many ad placements you want to do, or how much you want to spend in your advertising budget. That way, next year or next quarter when you evaluate your performance, you’ll have something to judge yourself by.
4) Assign a deadline.
A time-frame is important to each goal and makes it more specific and more measurable. If you want to have something accomplished within a certain time period, state it. If you write down a goal but don’t assign a deadline you won’t have that extra motivation to get it completed on time. A deadline can be the difference between an attainable goal and one that is put on the back burner.
If you’ve been in business for a while, research what you’ve done and what you’ve been able to accomplish in the past. This history will give you a good basis to know whether the goals you have in mind are actually attainable or not. If you only had $2,000 in sales last year, chances are you won’t reach six figures this year, at least not without some serious changes. If you haven’t been in business long, research competitors. See what they’re doing and how they’re growing. This may give you an idea of whether your goals are possible and may actually steer you toward some more effective strategies.
6) Baby steps!
Large goals are great. It’s good to dream and aim for the stars. But, in order for your goals to be realistic and attainable, you need to break them down into baby steps. List out the smaller goals that it will take in order to reach your bigger ones. This is encouraging because oftentimes it means that you will reach the smaller goals more quickly and build momentum to the larger, more reaching ones.
When you’re writing down your goals, remember to be positive! Use affirmative words such as ‘I will’ instead of ‘try’. When you’re evaluating the past, be positive. Even if there are less than perfect results, focus on what benefit or value there was. You’re much more likely to be successful if you’re happy about your goals and where you’re taking your business. Make sure that comes through when you’re writing your goals.
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Dawn Berryman is the founder of MarketMommy.com and Market Mommy:: The Blog, online marketing resources for mom entrepreneurs. Market Mommy shows moms how and where to market their businesses. She holds a B.A. from Indiana University and has worked in the marketing/communications field for more than 8 years. She resides in rural Ohio with her husband and two young children. For more information, please see: Market Mommy.