How to Set Goals and Create Effective Business Strategies
Good Afternoon to all of my current and future Entrepreneurs. Welcome to part 2 of my Mindset4Business blog series, “How to Set Goals and Create Effective Business Strategies.” Today we’re going to discuss what goals are, how to set them, and why it is important to have them for your business. Then once you get an understanding of how to set goals, we’ll talk about creating a winning strategy for your business. So let’s dive in.
Running A Business is Like Playing Basketball
Instead of writing a boring paper on what goals are and how to it applies to business, we’re going to play a little mindset game first. When creating goals and strategies, I want you to see it as a basketball game. Your overall goal is to get the ball in the basket and score. You’re all the way on the other side of the court with 10 players standing between you and the basket. Five players are on your side and the other 5 are against you. The ball is in your hands. You must decide how to move and work with your teammates to help you get around the opposing players, get the ball into the basket, and score. That is what setting goals and creating strategies are about in a nutshell. Now let’s see how this applies to your business.
The diagram, above, is pretty much an illustration of what I said in case I just confused the crap out of you. Running a business is a game. The idea is to create a product and/or service, make it better than your competitors, and score paying clients. The ball represents your ideas and strategies. Every time the ball meets the basket (your goal), you score a client. To achieve all of this, the business requires a plan which involves setting goals and creating effective strategies.
To give you an idea of how this is done, I’ll use Code4Blessings as an example. Goals are separated into two parts—long-term and short-term. A long-term goal for me would be to have Code4Blessings be to make a lot of money. A short-term goal would be to figure out how to score my first client. These are good goals to pursue but how can I tell when I’ve made the goal? How much is a lot of money to me? I can design a landing page for $50. Would that be a lot of money? What type of client would I be satisfied with? Would I be happy if someone let me design for them for free? This is why every goal must be S.M.A.R.T.
A SMART goal was originally defined by Dr. Edwin A. Locke’s Goal Setting Theory in 1968. It is one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. My long-term goal is to make a lot of money. A more SPECIFIC way to say that is I want to make $100,0000 annually. Also, specify that I want PAYING clients. Saying it this way also makes it MEASURABLE. When I look at my earnings, I can see how close I am to making $100,000.
Now here is the difficult part. Is it ATTAINABLE? Do I have the talent and skills necessary to achieve such a goal? If not, do I have access to other resources that do? In order to make $100,000 annually, I would have to complete at least 1 Premium and 1 Professional website every week. Am I that fast? If not, do I have access to outside sources who can assist me? Will the amount of time, these resources save me, be worth the money I spend on it?
Goals must also be Relevant. Making $100,000 from paying clients is definitely relevant. In my perspective, this has more to do with how relevant short-term goals are to the overall long-term goal. Figuring out how to gain my first client is relevant to making $100,000 but now I have one question for you. Suppose I decided to make it my goal to stop watching television for a week. Would that be relevant? One could argue that by not watching tv for a week would free up more time to spend focusing on your business. This is true; however, it also frees up time for you to wash the dishes, do the laundry, and help out with whatever daily emergency arises in your family. What I am trying to say is, make sure your short-term goals are focused and have a direct effect on your overall long-term goal. It can’t deviate into something else. That’s pretty much my definition of relevance.
Finally, your goals must be Timely. You want to put time-limits on your goals. Yes, I said that I want to make $100,000 annually but did I specify how long it should take me to get to that point? Be realistic with yourself. Think about what resources you need to have in place to earn that much money in a year. If you’re just starting out and you have no clients, how long do you think it will take to start getting some? Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to work your strategy and achieve your goal. Start out small and say, with this strategy, my business will get recognition and I will land my first client in a couple of weeks. If the strategy works, challenge yourself to get 2 more clients in the following week. But if two weeks go by and you get nothing at all, does that mean we give up the goal? Absolutely NOT!!! You just need to adjust your strategy which we will now discuss.
Creating A Winning Strategy
Thanks for sticking with me this far. Now that we’ve had a pretty long discussion about goals, the wheels should be turning in your head now as to how you should plan a winning strategy for your business. Are you ready? Let’s go!!!
As I wrote this section, I realized just how long this blog had gotten. So this section will be split into two parts. The first half will focus on assessing ourselves and what we’re working with. The second half (which will be part 3 of this blog series) will be getting you out to the public. So with that said, the first thing I want you to do is to get a piece of paper and a pencil. Take the paper and either draw or fold it into four sections. In the first section, I want you to write 10 strengths you have in regard to your business. What talents and skills do you bring to the table? What do your friends and family tell you when they’ve sampled your product and/or service? What unique qualities do you feel will put you ahead of your competitors?
In the second section, I want you to list 5 weaknesses that need immediate attention. Why not 10? Because first of all, we as humans spend way too much time thinking about all the things we don’t have, and I do not want to give you the opportunity to talk yourself out of this very important thing that you are doing for yourself. I know the one thing that’s at the top of your list is money or lack thereof. We’ll get to that issue. Finish writing your 5 weaknesses.
In the third section, you’re going to list at least 5 opportunities. These are the answers to your weaknesses. When my son was a baby and I lost my job suddenly, I started baking for money. Once upon a time, I was a Professional Pastry Chef and according to family and friends, I made cheesecakes and cookies better than most of the popular bakeries out there. My main weakness was I had $0.25 in my bank account. One opportunity that came my way was my food stamps. I used some of them to buy my ingredients. Then I took $15 of my unemployment money, I received later and purchased business cards. That was opportunity #2. Opportunity #3 was my church which was loaded with people who liked to eat. My pastor gave me permission to bring samples to the church and I gained quite a few customers that day. In my first week of business, I gained 2 clients who wanted their children’s birthday parties catered and the following week, I got an order to prepare someone’s wedding cake. Looking back, that was actually my first experience designing my first website on Yahoo. But that’s another story. I hope this answers the issue of lack of money.
Then in the final column, you will list 5 threats. This is where you research about 5 competitors. What are they doing? How did they set up their website? What products or services match yours? Pretend you are a customer and think about what might be missing that you would want there. In other words, look for strengths and weaknesses and compare them to your own. What qualities do you feel you have that need to improve?
The exercise I just did with you is called a SWOT Analysis. SWOT, as you probably know now stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Between that and your goals, you should have all of your game pieces in place and know exactly how to develop your product and/or service. At the very least you should know what you want to sell and what you want to achieve with it. Now it’s time to brainstorm your marketing campaign and figure out how we’re going to put all this together and present your product or service to the public. But that, my dear friends, is for the next part of the Mindset4Business series. Thank you for taking the time to read through it. I hope it was helpful to you and I hope to see you all in part 3 of Mindset4Business. Happy Trails everyone!!!