by Tracy D. Holloman, MA, ACC, CPC, ELI-MP
A question that many of us should be asking ourselves daily as we look to grow our businesses is, “would I be fired today for the work that I am not doing if I worked for someone else? Think about it, if we worked for someone else, would we be able to get that other load of laundry in or, take a quick trip to the store midday and get to writing the newsletter, bookkeeping or networking later? Probably not!
While being a small business can be appealing, especially if you are a solo-preneur or have less than 10 employees, the fact is, if you don’t have focused goals and activities, and have something to help keep you accountable, you can’t expect to grow your business and have the success you desire. Success is really about accountability; one of the many ingredients in the recipe of business growth.
Each year we start with a clean slate, we set goals, mostly in our heads and never really on paper. What’s that all about? Goals written down are far more likely to be achieved because:
- They force us to clarify what we want. Imagine setting out to lose weight and not having a weight that you want to get to in mind? How do you know what or what not to eat? How much exercise should you engage in? How do you know when you have lost enough weight and how do you maintain it? Instead, you start by understanding how much you need to lose. The same is true with the milestones in your life and business. Writing down your goals forces you to select something specific and decide what you want.
- Goals motivate us to take action. Writing down your goals down is only the beginning. Articulating your intention is important, but it is not enough. You must execute on your goals by taking action. Writing down the goals and reviewing them regularly will entice you to take the next important action in achieving your goals.
- They provide filters for other opportunities. The more successful you become, the more you will be presented with opportunities. In fact, new opportunities can quickly become distractions that pull you off course. One antidote is to maintain a list of written goals by which to evaluate these new opportunities. Another antidote is to get yourself an accountability partner to review your goals and ensure that you stay on course. A new trend that is highly sought after is coaching. Coaching has been proven to be an excellent accountability tool and a way to help remove blocks that get in the way of achieving goals.
- They help us overcome resistance. Every meaningful intention, dream, or goal encounters resistance. From the moment you set a goal, you will begin to feel it. But if you focus on the resistance, it will only get stronger. This is also where coaching can help you to keep on track to achieving your goals.
- They enable us to see—and celebrate—our progress. Life is hard. It is particularly difficult when you aren’t seeing progress. You may feel like you are working yourself to death, going nowhere. But written goals are like mile-markers on the highway to success. They enable us to see how far we have come and how far we need to go. They also provide an opportunity for celebration when we attain them.
As you continue to grow your business, incorporate goal planning as a way to help you grow your business. Remember though that achieving the goal requires that you plan the goal ensuring that the goal(s) is smart. In other words, specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, time bound and outlines what the consequences are for not achieving the goal, the rewards for achieving them and understanding what obstacles could potentially get in the way. Build in accountability by ensuring that there are tasks that you complete each day to achieving the goals and if needed, get yourself an accountability partner or coach to help you. When you have achieved your goals you’ll have started an enriching and rewarding process to growing your business.
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