There are two types of planners, one who has everything planned out perfectly and the other who takes the risks and wanders new streets in search of something exciting. So let me ask you a question.
Have you ever visited a strange city, one that you didn’t know?
If you are there as a tourist visiting several sites around the city, then you have two options to start with: The first one is the planned traveller’s guide- to grab a brochure with all the tourist sites marked on it and then use the GPS map on your phone to guide you from one to the other.
The second option is to walk out of the hotel and start walking, you turn left and right at each street intersection as you feel right at the time, and you continue to walk with suspense and hope that you will eventually find all the tourist sites in the city.
By following either option one or two, you are likely to feel some similar results but yet with different outcomes.
If you follow option one with the GPS and the brochure listing all the sites, you are likely to finish the day exhausted but knowing that you saw as much as you could.
At the end of the day both options leave you exhausted but only one seems to be productive…..
When you think about it, this is the exact thing we do with our businesses. When business owners do not set productive goals then they tend to simply walk around till the end of the day and get exhausted. Whereas, businesses that have set productive and achievable goals within a time frame, act like a tourist with a GPS leading to a destination.
So why is it necessary to set productive goals to reach a target or destination in your day to day work life? Let’s see what several studies have to say about setting productive goals.
So what does research tell us?
In a LinkedIn article, the research analysis summarises that your team will deliver 18% higher productivity if you set a productivity goal compared to a general do your best goal. By taking the initiative to set goals that are way productive on a day to day basis, businesses will be able to achieve the goals faster and without burnout.
In another study, Dr Gail Matthews, at the Dominican University in California, found in her research that writing down a goal on paper, rather than just having it in your head increases the chance of obtaining that goal by 42%. You are able to get a clear focus on what to do when you write it down. Not only does it motivate you and your team to work towards the goal, but it also helps the team to strategize better brainstorm, and progress to success.
A new survey report from Clutch titled ‘5 Strategy Development Tips for Small Businesses in 2020’ found that only 15% of small business owners report documentation of their goals whereas 27% of businesses who have failed to document their goals were just walking blindly around the world.
Businesses that take accountability for their actions are more likely to improve in achieving their goals in a year. Signature Analytics review of research found that when people publicly share their goals, they have around a 65% chance of success. However, having a specific accountability partner boosts that chance to 95%.
So what do I need to know?
Now that we are on the same page when we talk about productive business goals. Let us see how small businesses can set goals and achieve them on time. However, before we can go further into implementing a strategy to achieve business goals, you need to know that as a business owner, not all goals are big corporate ones. By dismissing the idea that great goals are necessary to achieve profits, you will be able to improve productivity, and efficiency, and see results in the business.
When we talk about setting a goal for your business, it doesn’t need to be complicated, it could be, for example, a simple goal such as that you need to make $50,000 of sales every month or something realistic for your business.
You can just simply start using the SMART technique, and as a business coach, I would recommend that you start right here. Let us take an example to be more clear about what I mean by using the SMART technique for setting goals within the business.
A goal needs to be SMART
Specific – The goals you set in your business must be specific, direct and purposeful. As mentioned in the example given above you can create a goal to achieve a certain sales value within a time frame.
Measurable – When you are clear on the purpose of the goal, the next thing you should focus on is whether your goal is quantifiable to track the success rate. Eg: If your business is aiming to reach a certain sales value, then you must be able to measure the progress to understand whether the goal is attainable.
Attainable – Writing a goal on a piece of paper and being able to achieve it is two different things. You can’t write a goal to make $50,000 in sales when for the last two years you have struggled to make $10,000 in sales, but if you are making $40,000 in sales then you can definitely have this as your goal.
Relevant – Every goal you set within the business must be relevant to your business mission. Set goals that you relate to, spending extra time creating irrelevant goals will only take you back to square one, where you walk aimlessly.
Time-based – Treat your goals as deadlines. When you put a time frame to your goal you are more likely to achieve it with success. Saying you will make $50,000 sales in the future will do no good for your business, such goals do not have a solid deadline and it can alter whenever you change your mind. However, if a goal like achieving $50,000 per month of sales for every month starting in 3 months. This gives you time to achieve it.
A key tip for small business owners: Write the goal down, don’t just have it in your head. It could be a simple post-it note on your computer or a vision board. But make sure that you can see it every day.
Your goals are incomplete without an action attached to it. Decide some actions that you are going to do to achieve your goal. While just writing them down is the most important step you need to also think about how you are going to achieve this goal. If we want to increase sales then it might mean we start following up each quote with 4 emails, a text message and a phone call to increase conversion rates.
Next, you must focus on who will be responsible for the goals to happen – delegating the goals to an individual or a team will move the process quickly. As I mentioned earlier in one of my articles ‘’Busy is not a Badge of Honour’’ delegating goals and tasks will help your workforce work better, if no one is responsible then they won’t get done.
And lastly have someone to report your progress to, also referred to as an accountability partner. This could be a business coach, mentor, fellow business owner, or mentor. When you have someone to report back to, then it is likely that you will work towards achieving the goals within SMART business strategies. If you do not have an accountability partner then you will simply forget to achieve certain goals in your business.
What is your next step?
These are my tips on how a small business owner can achieve realistic and simple goals to be productive and get effective results within the business.
So what are your goals, write them down and start planning to achieve them!