What does it mean to be goal oriented?

If you are goal oriented as a person, it means you are focused on achieving a specific objective or to accomplishing a given task.

It can also refer to your business or marketing plan…or even a project plan – you can make your targets goal oriented, which means they are designed to achieve the results you want.

As Albert Einstein once said, “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”  I agree with this to a certain extent, but I do also think that people, such as family also contribute to helping you live a happy life, but I get where he was coming from!

You can apply goal setting to all parts of your life, not just to your business objectives. It just means that you set yourself targets and objectives that will help you make progress. For example, if you join a gym, you can’t expect to be lifting the heavy weights or running for 20km, the minute you step into the gym. You have to build up to that in small steps…or goals. The same could be applied to losing weight… you might have to lose 52lbs, but that isn’t going to come off in a couple of weeks, you need to have a plan with set goals (or little milestones) to get you there. Your first goal might be to lose 7lbs in one month – that’s easier to achieve as it’s realistic and specific. No matter what your goals are for, whether for you in your general life, for your health or for your business, your goals should be SMART goals.

For the purpose of this article, I am going to focus on being goal oriented for your business.

Habits determine whether you will achieve your goals

Many of us ponder the question, “How can I be more successful?” What we don’t realise is that we all hold the tools to become successful inside us, we just need to bring them out. Successful people are where they are because of the habits they adopt. Habits determine our behaviour. If you create good habits and adopt positive behaviour, you will have the ability to be successful.    

A goal driven person will work much harder whenever there are deadlines to be met. If you have a goal in your sights, plan how you are going to achieve it – have a clear idea of all the steps needed to get to that goal, breaking it all down into manageable chunks. You may not achieve parts of your goal first time around, but it’s about being focused on that end result and recognising all the steps in between.

What can you do to motivate yourself to achieve?

One of the key things that will help you achieve your goals is motivation. How do you stay motivated to achieve your goals? This is not always easy.

  • Make sure that the goals you want to achieve are really YOUR goals. You have to absolutely want that goal to be able to achieve it, so don’t look at what other people do and want out of life, look into yourself and what it is that you want – what is important to you?

    We sometimes think we want something, just because one of our friends or business colleagues talks about it. For me, a good example is Instagram and getting a good following. I’m still in the early stages of this, but at the very beginning, I was really hung up on how many followers I had, compared to others. So I did all the wrong things to get followers – one in particular, was the ‘follow for follow’ mentality, (or on Facebook, the ‘like for like’ mentality). For a start, after you have done the initial follow or like, several people will unlike or unfollow you and this is depressing when you see your follows going down instead of up. It’s because these followers aren’t the right people for your business. You need followers to follow you because they GENUINELY like your content, or are genuinely interested in your business. The same applies the other way around – only follow or like the businesses that you absolutely feel a connection with or are genuinely interested in their products or services. The follow for follow people will never become your customers.  
  • Money… Lots of people feel that money alone will be enough to motivate them…and maybe for some it does, often to the detriment of everything else. Obviously all of us who are in business for ourselves have money in our minds…we need to pay bills, we want to buy nice things and to do that, you need money. But it’s not a good idea to let it control your every move and fill your every waking thought. You still need some downtime to pursue a hobby or to be with your family and friends. It’s important to still have a life outside of work and making money.
  • Motivation also comes from the people around you. It’s important to be able to bounce ideas off like-minded people, so it’s good to surround yourself with positive thinkers who emanate positive vibes. We’re human and most humans give and receive energy and inspiration, so make sure you are receiving as much as you are giving away.
  • Self-awareness. Some of your goals may need you to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are in order for you to achieve the end result. You may need to learn new skills or get someone who has those skills to help you. 
  • Be organised! It’s very easy when you’re focusing on a particular goal to let your thoughts and ideas run away with you. Sometimes your energy and motivation can be seriously damaged by over-stimulation or a cluttered mind, because you just have so much going on in there!

    Instead of trying to keep it all in and wing it, sit down and take time to put all your ideas onto paper (or on a word doc) and make a list. Talk it through with someone who understands where you’re coming from and talk out your ideas – they might suggest some solutions. Put your ideas into specific tasks and allocate a time period. You will feel so much better for it.

    Whilst on the subject of being organised, it’s also crucial to work in an uncluttered and organised space. If your desk space or work area is cluttered and untidy, it will affect the way you work.
  • Keep your eye on the bigger picture. When you’re working on some of the more menial tasks in order to reach a particular goal, you might be tempted to cut corners or not bother with some elements. But if you keep that end result in mind, it will help you stay on track.
  • Time management is also crucial to achieving your goals. Each goal, or each part of a goal should have a clear deadline so you are accountable for making progress.  
  • Sometimes things will go wrong – it’s inevitable that it won’t all be plain sailing. To keep yourself motivated during these moments, it’s important to remember that things do go wrong and sometimes it’s completely out of your control. Take the Covid-19 virus for example. None of us could predict that a virus that would affect the whole world…just come out of nowhere and stop many businesses in their tracks. But it did, and it is still affecting many businesses, including mine. But we have to keep believing that it will pass and things will slowly get back to normal. It might be a different kind of normal, but we will get there. And we have all adapted and thought of other ways to get our business moving and still try and achieve our goals.
  • Finally, try and be consistent. If you want to get to that goal, you have to do something towards it every day. Some days you might not feel like doing anything…and you should have at least one day off a week, when you can switch off and be with your friends or family and relax. But, on your work days, if you’re feeling a bit lethargic, just do something small towards your goal – speak to your positive friend; write a social media post; make a new list with smaller, more achievable chunks.

It’s also good to be process oriented

Being goal oriented is nothing new. Whether you realise it or not, you are set goals from the minute you’re born. Your parents or guardians encourage you to take a bottle, to crawl, to walk, to talk, to use cutlery…the list is endless. But these are all goals that you are encouraged to achieve and you are rewarded if you achieve them.

I remember my Mum taking me to a birthday party and she put me in knickers instead of a nappy for the first time out of our own house. All the way there, she reminded me to ask if I needed to use the bathroom and what a good girl I was, and how clever I was. And, if I managed to do this all afternoon, she would take me to the toy shop and I could have a new dolly….and there you have it…I had a goal to work for. The goal was getting the dolly….the process was that I asked to use the bathroom and didn’t pee my knickers!  Needless to say, I got the dolly and I was so proud that I’d achieved my goal!

So, setting your goals is good but achieving them is also about the processes you go through to get there.  

If you’re setting goals, then you need to have an action plan in place to describe the process you will go through to get the end result. And you need to make sure it is the right process.

Make the process enjoyable and rewarding

None of us can do something we don’t like doing for very long. For example, if you have decided you will follow a particular fad diet for the next six months, it is unlikely you will get to the six month point. Fad diets tend to include things we don’t like eating, or don’t like doing, so it makes it harder to stick to, than a sensible eating diet where nothing is forbidden, it’s just that certain foods are limited.

You need to wake up every morning, looking forward to going to work so you can start work on the next part of your process to achieve your goals. If the process you have chosen is unworkable, you won’t stick with it. Both the goals you want to achieve AND the process must both be rewarding. If the processes you choose are ones you like, they become part of the goal in that they lead you there. And if there is a process you don’t yet understand, take the time to learn about it and always be on the look out to learn new skills.

I love writing, so any goal I set for my business always includes a large element of writing, as that is what I enjoy and it makes my goal feel closer. When you can find the right process for you, you’ll love working on them and you’ll most likely not only achieve your goals, but surpass them!

Conclusion

It’s good to set goals for your business, so you are working towards making your business a success. However, don’t let your goals rule your life or ruin your life! Make sure you strike the right balance and still live a little, spend time with your family and enjoy some rest and relaxation. Work is not the be all and end all for a happy life!

Ensure your goals have a process to get you there that you will enjoy. It will of course, involve hard work and dedication, but if you can make the process rewarding by incorporating things you like to do, you’ll enjoy the journey and it won’t be so stressful.  

If you have any comments or more ideas, please feel free to comment below.

10 reasons why you need a business plan!

I’ve had a few people ask me recently, “just why is it so important to have a business plan?”

Well, a business plan serves two crucial core purposes; it provides a financial validation and it also serves as a roadmap to keep you on track all year.

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By financial validation, I mean that your plan gives both you and any outside funding institution you may need for loans etc. a strong indication as to whether your business venture will be a success. If you are doing a business plan for this purpose you would add in specific detail regarding how you run your business and whether you will get a return on any investment that, say a bank, will loan you and of course that you are financially viable enough to be able to afford loan repayments.

The second core purpose, the roadmap, is the area I will be looking at in more detail as this is what most small businesses (who don’t necessarily need financial input) think that a plan is not a necessity. And some small businesses manage completely fine without a plan, but I feel it is important as it lays out your action plan; details all the milestones and successes you have established and gives timescales for when you expect to complete certain tasks. It gives you a clear path to follow and keeps you focussed on achieving the goals that you have set for your business.

So, I’m going to focus on what a business plan does for your business and why it’s important.

10 reasons why you need a business plan (2)

 

To demonstrate that you’re serious about your business. This just puts it down in writing that you are committed to building your business and how you’re going to go about making it a success.

goals-2691265_640To ascertain your business goals or milestones. Your business plan will make you think about what you want to achieve with your business and where you see yourself in a year’s time… in five years’ time or more. You can plan not only your long-term goals, but also some quick wins and short term plans. They are significant events that you want to achieve, such as building a website, launching new products/services, producing a brochure and also things like getting your first 100 or 1000 followers on social media.

To understand and know your competition. A business plan forces you to look at your competition – analyse how they work, what they do that makes them stand out in the crowd, look at their products and how they advertise them, package them etc.

customer-563967_640To understand and know your customers. Planning makes you look at your customers; who are they? Why do they buy your products and why do they buy when they do? Do they belong to an average age group or geographic region? An in-depth customer analysis will help you understand what makes your customers tick and how you can better serve them and give them what they want.

To assess the feasibility of your business. Is your business viable? A feasibility study involves researching your target market and your competitors and will let you know if your business venture is likely to be a success.

money-2696228_640To determine your financial needs. Do you need to raise money to buy stock and how are you going to do this? Are there training opportunities for you, so you can learn more about what you do, that incur a cost? How will you factor this in? If you need a big financial injection, you will need to look at loans or investors…your plan will then need to be very specific around how you will be able to afford this kind of investment and what your return will be.

To reduce the risk of looking at the wrong business opportunity. If you do all your research, you will be able to clearly see if a particular business opportunity is going to be feasible, if there is a market for your products/services or whether an alternative route/opportunity might be better for you.

To push you to research your market and really get to know it. Researching your market will help you understand the latest trends in your particular area. Is this market growing or receding? What is the biggest threat to your business/industry? What is the size of your target market and how do you get your products/services in front of them? Your business plan will help you gain a greater understanding of the ‘what, when, where, who and how’ of what your business will face.

stamp-143192_640To pinpoint your brand. Creating a business plan makes you focus on what your brand is; helps you describe your business succinctly and decide how you will position your brand to your customers and target market.

To measure the success of your business. This is the bit that most of us forget about when running a business. It’s important to have measures in place so you know if a particular product or strategy is working. It gives you the option to change your strategy or break it down to make it easier to manage. By writing down the goals you want to achieve, you can look at them every month or quarter to see how you are doing against what you wanted to achieve at the beginning of the year…and adjust things accordingly – this might include removing certain goals, changing them or adding new ones. But if you don’t measure, you don’t know!

Your business plan is about what you want to do. It’s always a work in progress and once you have one and use it, you will wonder why you didn’t do it before!

Find out more about what to include in your business plan in more depth and how to do it …10 essential tips in making a good business plan

And click on this link for your free basic business plan template/instructions Business Plan

If you need any help or advice, please feel free to get in touch.

Did you start your New Year with a bang?

Happy New Year everyone, if a little belated! Did you start your New Year with a bang…
or was it more of a sigh?

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January and February are notoriously hard for the small business as things are generally chimpanzee-978809_640quiet after the Christmas period and January seems to go on forever…or is that just me? It’s a time when we feel lethargic and I always think January feels like a bit of a let-down after the festivities of Christmas and New Year…..a bit like my Chimp friend here on the right!

Whether you’re busy or not, this is an ideal time to kick-start your business, tell people about what you do, show your products or services and get that business rolling in.

Lots of us make New Year’s Resolutions, but less than 10% will achieve that resolution…in fact by now (end of January) most people will have given up on their resolutions…or at least be finding them hard to keep. So, try and tap into what your customers make resolutions about. If you’re a health and fitness business, for example, some of your customers may want to lose weight and get healthy this year. Ask your customers what their resolutions were and see if you can help them achieve that resolution with your products or services.

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Social Media Marketing Ideas

Social Media is a very popular place to advertise your business – you can use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any of the other many sites. I’m going to look at Facebook and the Facebook business page.  If you have a business Facebook page, contrary to what you might think, people don’t follow you to solely buy your products or services. They like to see a wide variety of posts to keep their interest, so it’s a great idea to have a plan of the kind of things you will be posting month on month.

  • Interesting or entertaining content…this can be fun or factual, but all in a light-hearted way – maybe use memes, jokes, contests, puzzles or just a fun inspired image.
  • Content that inspires your audience – there are loads of inspirational quotations out there – you could google a particular theme and run with that for a month, posting something inspirational once or twice a week. Inspirational posts can also be image based – a breath-taking image, something that makes your audience say ‘Wow!’
  • Educational posts – can you teach your audience something? It could be a ‘how to….’ post; how to crochet a hat; how to make a particular tasty dish – a new exercise to combat belly fat or in my case…how to market your small business. These posts help to set you up as an expert in your field and inspires confidence in what you do.
  • Dialogue/chatty posts – these kind of posts are encouraging your followers to interact with you. Ask a question, and be genuinely interested in the answers you get; run a poll to find out your followers’ opinion on a particular subject; publish a post of something that interests you, maybe your favourite holiday destination, with a caption that says why you like your favourite destination – then ask what your followers’ favourite destination is and why.
  • Personal posts – I’ve read that it’s not a good idea to share too much from our personal lives. However, there is a time and place to engage with your audience on a personal level, to connect with your audience and show them you are a real person! You could share photos of your pet or an event you’ve been to; a place you love to visit and why or maybe what you’d like to do if you won the lottery! This makes you a real person that your customers can relate to, but worth noting to limit these to a couple times a month.
  • Promotional posts for your business… YES, there is space for this too! Share new products or services and how they can help your customers; a discount; buy one, get one free; recommend a friend. Also share customer referrals and testimonials

These are just a few ideas on how you can keep the attention of your customers and attract new ones on Facebook. The important thing is to make a plan with a good variety of posts to keep your customers’ interest and make them want to come back for more. Make it your February resolution to plan your business page on Facebook!

New Year’s Resolutions for your business

New Year's Resolutions for your small business

I don’t normally make New Year’s Resolutions on a personal basis, but I do try and do it for my business, as I find it makes me review my business for the coming year and decide what I need to do more effectively. Here are a few general pointers…

  • Get a new diary or journal for your various projects, so you can keep your meetings, training sessions and appointments up to date and also have a place to write down your ideas. Keep it with you at all times in case you get inspiration when you are out.
  • Learn something new…choose something you enjoy or are interested in to learn in 2018. It might be related to your business, or something that you can do in your downtime. It’s important to do both to ensure you have a good work-life balance.
  • Do you have a media kit? If not, you might like to think about having one so you have all your promotional materials to hand.
  • Rearrange your work space so that it’s a pleasant environment to work in and if you like to work with music, pull together a playlist of songs that you will enjoy working to.

Now onto the more business and practical side of running your business…

  • Manage your cash flow more effectively…try and build up some capital to invest back into your business and have a little in reserve for emergencies.
  • How often do you look at your digital presence? If you have a website, make sure that it is mobile-friendly and take some time to review and update your website content. Do you have an email marketing list? If you don’t, now is the time to think about creating one. If digital isn’t something you’ve done yet, it will be worth paper-3042645_640adding this to your resolution list.
  • Does your brand still say what you want it to about your business? If not, it might be worth you looking at rebranding.
  • Charge what you are worth – this is much easier said than done – I think we’re all guilty of underselling ourselves. Have a look at what other businesses charge who do the same as you and make sure you are on a par with them.
  • What about social media? All small businesses can benefit from social media…have a look at other similar businesses to yours – what do they use? Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter? Research what is best for you and go for it.
  • Do you have a business blog? This is something that can really help push your business and what you do…definitely something to think about. A blog can serve two purposes…one, to help set you up as an expert in your field and two, to show your human side, who you are and help your audience get to know you.

These are just a few ideas and I’m sure you can think of many more. The next step is to put your resolutions into action…transform them into goals for your business and put them into your business plan for 2018. Then you have a record of what you want to do and can you can work on how to achieve each one.

Finally, I’d like to wish you all a very Happy New Year and I hope you achieve all you wish for in 2018.

Does Goal Setting leave you feeling lost?

FREE Goal Setting checklist and template

If you have your own business, your business goals for next year should already be set, so you’re ready to make a good start after the Christmas holiday. If you haven’t set your business goals yet, then why not take up my offer of a free checklist to help you – complete the request at the bottom of this page

A goal without a plan is just a wish

Every January, I set myself resolutions – the usual kind of thing, lose weight; get fitter.

paper-3042645_640I’m ashamed to say that by the end of January, I’ve forgotten all about the resolutions…I’m still aware that I want to do the things I resolved to do, but life gets in the way. However with business, you can’t afford to be so blasé – a planned business with structured goals will always be more successful, and reviewing your plans on a regular basis gives you the chance to pick up on anything that is going wrong at an earlier stage.

So where do you start? There are 4 areas to think about….

What is your Mission Statement?

This is a statement that includes what your business is, who you’re selling to, what you’re selling and what is your unique selling proposition that makes you stand out from the crowd?

For example, if you run a dog sitting service in your own home, you might say…

“All dogs in our care live in our house in a safe and secure environment, and are treated as part of our family. We are happy to administer any medication and provide a loving and attentive service to your much loved pet.”

What are your business goals?

Think about where you want your business to be by this time next year. By which percentage do you wish to grow and how many customers do you expect to have? Make sure you have at least one goal that relates to your mission statement and one that links to the financial position of your business.

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Goals need to be SMART….

Specific – for example, my New Year’s Resolution, “I want to get fitter.” This is too vague. Being more specific, I should say, “I will join a gym and go three times a week.”

Measurable – You need to be able to measure your goals – for example, you might want to increase your sales by 25% by this time next year. How would you measure this throughout the year to ensure you are on track? You could break down sales, so you know how many sales you need to make every month to make this happen.

Attainable – goals need to be achievable, so don’t set the bar ridiculously high, such as Del boy in ‘Only Fools and Horses’ – “This time next year, we’ll be millionaires.”

Realistic – in the same way as goals needing to be achievable, they also need to be realistic. You must be both willing and able to work towards them. Only you can decide what is achievable and realistic for you and your business.

Timely – it’s sensible to put a time-frame on each of your goals – this keeps you focused. If you don’t have a time-frame, there is no sense of urgency and you can keep putting off doing anything ‘until tomorrow’…and we all know that tomorrow never comes!

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What are your business strategies?

Strategies are all about what are you going to do to achieve your goals.

Think about the four Ps…

Product(s) – what is it about your product that makes your customers want to buy it? Do you need to change your products in any way to meet your customers’ needs?

Pricing – how do you aim to compete with your competitor’s pricing – do you want to match it… undercut them… or do you want to charge more for a more quality product and service?

Place – where and how are you going to sell your products? Do you sell them yourself or outsource them to retail outlets?

Promotion – how are you going to let your existing and potential customers know about your products? This includes thinking about advertising, PR, direct mail and personal selling.

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What action do you need to take to achieve your goals?

How are you going to achieve your goals? If we take the ‘I want to increase my sales by 25%’ scenario, how will you do that? You might decide to launch a new, attractive product…you might give a discount if customers spend over a set amount, or do a ‘Buy one, get one free’ offer for a specific week.

Another scenario might be that you want to re-brand your business to make you stand out from your competitors. This will have a financial implication, so that needs to be in the action plan – your goal would be to re-brand, your action would be around how you will afford to do that – how many products would you need to sell, for example, to cover the cost?

Once you have decided the action(s) for achieving each goal, you need to know how you can measure the success of each action. Measurement is very important as it gives you an insight into what works well for your business and what doesn’t.

If you plan ahead, you stand a much better chance of succeeding. So, give a little time to setting your goals and sorting out how you are going to achieve them.

To obtain your free checklist and template for goal setting, please fill the form below and press submit.