Setting goals to start a Business will help us when the time comes to decide whether this is a strong viable business idea or not. Researching a new business idea takes time and effort. The more we put into this early phase the stronger our position in the first few months of trading. Poor research leads to short lived businesses, not even the big franchises get this element of business planning right all of the time. It’s OK to say, well it sounded a good idea but on paper it doesn’t look a viable proposition, so it’s back to the drawing board or ditch the idea all together.
To stay on track and complete our research in a timely manner we need an easy to follow method of monitoring our progress. This is goal setting, we all have experience of this, good intentions at New Years, lose a few pounds for that up coming family event or holiday we’ve got booked. But how many times have we achieved these? If you’re like me something always crops up, good intentions fall by the wayside. Setting simple step by step points in time to review how we’re doing will help to focus, motivate and ultimately achieve our ambitions. I can safely say that I have adjusted a number of time frames for goals that I have set simply because a little thing called life got in the way. There is always that unexpected distraction part way through or right at the start. A family member becomes ill or needs our time to support them in the short term, a work colleague goes off sick and their tasks need picking up adding time to our day. When these unforeseen circumstances present themselves I just review and adjust my goal time frame, difficult I’ll admit when the goal involved is a physical event that needs a set number of training hours before any real progress is made. If it’s important to you this is where we need to set and manage the expectations of family, friends and bosses. The response might be ‘I can take on this extra duty, help or support but something will have to give’. Taking this approach will focus the mind, prioritising what is important given our present circumstances.
So, how do we go about setting goals, there are books and books and books written on this subject, there’s also additional info here. What follows is a brief summary of what’s involved. If delving into the many books on the subject, you’ll no doubt come across the acronym SMART, which stands for;
SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT and TIMELY or TIME BOUND.
We are going to look at applying these to a practical example. Let’s assume our goal is to design a company logo, well, already we’ve fallen down on our parameters above, we need to define our goal in clear terms, thereby understanding what will be achieved and when. Re-framing our goal to something like, I’m going to design a company logo within 1 month, gives us a goal within a set time frame. Yet it still fails to comply with SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE and RELEVANT. Let’s complete it by adding those in, we might end up with something like, I will design a company logo that is flexible enough to fit into my wider brand ideas. This will be completed with the support of ABC design Ltd and ready for vox pop market reaction within 1 month.
Now we have our goal and time frame we can start to breakdown how that looks in detail. After setting the goal it follows that ABC Design LTD will be contacted immediately to start the project, we have made the assumption that contact to identify a rough time frame for delivery of their services has already been made. After week 1 our ideas will have been communicated and they will be hard at work producing initial sketches. We allow 7 to 10 days for this process, another week for feedback and rework, then a few days to fine tune. At any point during this our ideas and direction can change and may mean we start to miss deadlines, this is not a failure or a disaster, it just means we redefine our goal and move our time frame accordingly. Setting a goal and time frame has focused our minds on what we really want from this process and adjusting the parameters to get it right is more important than sticking to a pre defined rigid goal.
You can use ready made goal templates, these are available to download in some cases free of charge with no email address sign up, there’s one here at Business Balls. Being realistic with time frames is sometimes difficult because of the fast pace of modern life but setting goals really will get us off to a flying start.