Running a Small Business & the Art of Setting Goals

Small Business and the art of setting goalsSo far, this series has talked about three major topics involved in running a small business: The Art of Balance, The Art of Discovering Goals, and The Art of Defining Goals.

In today’s installment, we’re going to dive into how to set goals in a way that increases your chances of actually accomplishing them.

It All Starts with a Step-by-Step Plan of Action

Once you’ve discovered and clearly defined your goals, the next step is breaking them down into what I like to call “bite-sized” steps. Why bit-sized? Because bite-sized steps can be accomplished on a regular basis — even by people with ridiculously busy schedules.

Think of it like a pizza. How many people do you know who can sit down and eat an entire pizza in one bite? Nobody, right? In order to eat a pizza (or at least part of a pizza) it first needs to be cut into slices. Being from NY, these must be triangular slices — not square!

Once your pizza is cut into slices, it’s a little more manageable, but you still have to take one bite at a time in order to eat the whole slice.

It’s the same with your goals.

Ultimately, if we take steps on a daily basis (no matter how small) we’re moving ourselves closer to goal attainment.

Here’s global view of what my mentor, Zig Ziglar, has to say about the goals process. His fantastic book, See You At The Top, goes into great detail about this subject:

  • Identify EXACTLY what you desire
  • Spell out exactly why you’d like to reach these goals
  • List the obstacles you need to overcome in order to get there
  • Identify the people, groups and organizations you need to work with to get there
  • Identify what you need to know (learn) in order to reach these goals
  • Develop a plan of action
  • Set a date on it — when do you expect to get there?

Regarding that last point, it’s important to remember that we may not reach a goal on the intended date — but we’ve still got to set an exact deadline. Without an actual date, you may find yourself perpetually on the road to accomplishing a goal “one year from now.”

That being said, it’s important to be kind to ourselves during the process, because things like missed milestones happen — even to the best of us.

Plus, some things are out of our control. And if you’re a parent, lack of time and energy are real obstacles that may hinder rapid accomplishment. Fear not, it’s still possible, as long as you become a master at setting a step-by-step plan that can easily be accomplished.

And if part of a plan simply doesn’t work? This is not only OK, but a healthy part of the process.

If this happens, it may feel like a failure — but it’s NOT! In fact, it’s a mini-success because it’s given us the opportunity to ADJUST THE PLAN. And with proper adjustment, we can realign ourselves more closely with the end goal.

If all of this seems overwhelming, that’s normal. But if you allow yourself to believe that you can do this, you will. If you believe that you can’t, you won’t. In other words, your perception will create your reality.

Goals & the Kindergarten-to-College Analogy

I’d like to take a deeper look into the process by sharing what I call the “kindergarten-to-college analogy.” ANYBODY who tried to look at this scenario as a point A to point B endeavor would be completely overwhelmed. Here’s a way it can be broken down:

  • THE GOAL: To graduate college
  • WHERE I’M AT: Kindergarten

Here’s the step-by-step hierarchy to accomplishing my goal:

  • Section it off by grammar school, middle school, high school and college
  • Now break it down by grade (year): kindergarten, grade 1, etc.
  • By semester
  • By month
  • By week
  • By day
  • By class

You get the idea.

Each step leads us closer to our goal of graduating college, but could you imagine trying to leap past all of those steps at once?

Do you do this to yourself with your business goals?

It’s much easier to complete your goal if you look and act upon it from the “by class” level. Now it’s manageable — a small enough bite that you can actually chew on it, instead of choking.

One Final Note on Setting Goals

You may not have the whole plan in place when you start, and that’s OK. As Zig Ziglar always said, “go as far as you can see, and you will see further.” In other words, lay out as many steps as you can, adjust as necessary, and as you move forward more steps will clarify.

The biggest trick here is making sure each step or action you take is bite-sized.

Thank you for visiting Cuppa SEO! I wish you the best of luck in accomplishing your goals.

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