The Oxford Dictionary defines a goal as “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”. But deciding on your business goals is a lot more than simply thinking about what you want to achieve. Your “desired result” for your business may be to make a lot of money, or to be successful. But how much money is “a lot”, and what does success mean for you?
Having clear goals is essential for running a successful business, because if you don’t know exactly what your goals are, how are you going to get there? How do you know what you need to do, how far you’ve already come, or even when you’ve reached your goals, if they are not clearly defined?
That’s where your business plan comes in. A business plan can help you to set your goals and achieve business success – whatever that may look like for you. Here are three golden rules to help you get started:
As we have already established, saying you want to make a lot of money or sell lots of products isn’t enough. How many products do you want to sell? How much money do you want to make? You need a number to aim for, so that you can outline the steps you are going to take to achieve this amount. Goals should be specific and quantifiable.
For example, you may have decided that you want to make enough money from your side project to make it your full-time job and leave your current employment. But what does this mean in real terms? Exactly how much money per year would be enough for you to be able to quit your job and be self-employed full-time? Think about what you want or need and write down this number.
It’s no good plucking a number out of thin air, or saying you want to make your millions in your first year. While you should consider what you want to achieve, it’s also important to think about what will be possible for you to achieve. Work out what is realistic by thinking about your profit margins, the quantities you think you will be able to sell, and your outgoings.
In our example, you would need to set a realistic time frame for completing your goal. You have a figure in your head for your self-employment goal, now how long will you need to make this much money? Is a year long enough, or do you think you could do it in less time? You want to challenge yourself to get what you want as soon as possible, but you also don’t want to set yourself an impossible task – that’s a good way to feel demotivated very quickly.
3.Break It Down
Once you have defined your realistic goals, you can then plan how you are going to achieve them. The best way to do this is to think a little smaller – you want to put the big picture to one side for now, and dig down into the detail.
Looking again at our example of transitioning to self-employment, we already have an annual salary figure we want to reach. So let’s break this down further: how much would this be per month? How about per week? Per day? Once you know your daily target, your yearly goal may seem easier to reach.
You can now look at everything else in more detail – what do you need to do in order to make this amount of money per day? What are your revenue streams, and how can you maximise them? What activities will you need to complete every day, or every week or month, and how will these affect your income?
Once you’ve completed a goal, congratulate yourself and celebrate – then create some new ones. After all, you’re not in business just to complete one goal and then stop. How will you maintain your success, or take further steps towards it? What do you want to accomplish next? Always having a goal in mind helps you to stay motivated and enjoy what you are doing, and isn’t that why you started your business in the first place?
A business plan is an essential tool for reaching your business goals. It’s somewhere for you to write down what you want, plan how to get there, and record your successes. Your plan is a roadmap for you to continually refer back to, to see how far you’ve come and where you need to go next. For help with writing your business plan so that you can achieve your business goals, contact cbm online using the form on the right or call 01604 420 420.