Here’s a question that a reader to my weekly newsletter, Small Business Success, put to me. It certainly got me thinking about how equally important goal setting is for home based businesses as with any other. Here’s the question and my response
“What blend of long, mid, short term goals do recommend for small home based business owners?”
Firstly off all you have recognised one of the two many keys to running a successful business, whether it is home based or office/shop based, and those are:
1. You have to have clear goals or targets. Without a very focus vision you won’t get any where
2. Whilst you can have independent short, medium and long term goals, for them to be totally effective they have to be interlinked and flow or blend together.
So what is the perfect blend? I would say it’s as basic as making sure that all three goals work to the same end. It’s no good having a short or medium term goal which in no way links or helps achieve your ultimate long term goal. It’s all about ensuring that everything you do on a day-to-day basis adds value or takes you one step further to the achievement of your long term goal.
Many people have a problem with goal setting. It’s always referred to as the foundation of any successful life and business. It may be a well repeated mantra but that’s because … it’s true!
Short, medium and long term goals are not just for personal aims or large businesses; they can and are useful for small home-based businesses as well. To get the blend right here are the steps to take.
Understand and list out what outcomes or goals you can set and achieve, such as:
a. a specific sales target
b. a profit figure
c. the number of products you want to sell in a given year
d. where you want to ultimately operate from – a new executive ‘office’ in your home or a ‘real office’!
e. to sell up and retire early
f. a specific number of employees
g. and anything else which would give you a sense of achievement
Once you have your definitive list the next step is to decide which is your long term goal; which is the goal you would most like to see achieved in say 5 years time. Think and choose carefully. It has to be the goal which motivates you on those dark and miserable days when nothing is going right! It has to be tempting enough to break through the barriers which are regularly put in front of you.
Now you are off. The next stage is to map out how you are going to get there. What actions do you have to take along the way to get you to your goal? What will you have to change within your business or home? How many new customers would you have to attract? What new marketing ideas could you try? What new products could you introduce? What new skills will you need to acquire yourself or bring in to the business?
There and a host of other questions are the ones you could ask yourself based around the key question, which is ‘What would I have to do to achieve my 5 year goal?’
Once you have the answers to all the questions relevant to your business that you can think of then these are then your short and medium goals! All that remains for you to do is categorise which is short and which is medium and off you go.
Whilst you can have short, medium and long term goals which are totally independent of each other, unless they are blended together, focused on achieving that big, final outcome, it just doesn’t work.
So what’s the blend?
33% – short term
33% – medium term
33% – long term
1% – hard work!
© Robert Warlow
Small Business Success