Many entrepreneurs think that the annual planning and setting business goals at the start of each year is enough. Business owners go through the process, feel like they have a plan, and as he/she gets farther into the year, the plan and goals go by the wayside. I want to ask you to reconsider that process.
A Planning Approach
Consider thinking in terms of one-, three- and five-year strategic planning so that you can identify what you want in the future and begin building it into your goal-setting today. This approach is followed by both large and small businesses. (Learn more about creating a plan here.)
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For example, when I was Property Director for Gap in the UK, we developed a three-, five- and 10-year strategic plan based on how many stores we wanted to open per year, and the towns and cities where we wanted to put them. In order to execute that strategy, we determined which areas we would pursue first and where in each of those areas we wanted to be. By researching the locations, noting when they might become available, and pursuing them, we were creating an ongoing pipeline of projects covering a span of several years at one time.
Breaking It Down
Let’s look at an example for an entrepreneur. You may want to write a book or have the goal of speaking in front of certain audiences. Getting your book published by a known publisher may require having a proven following through social media and/or an email list. Similarly, to be invited to speak at events the same requirement will likely apply. Creating a plan to build your list and social media following from day one – with those larger goals in mind beyond the immediate year – will serve you well as an entrepreneur.
Setting bigger, broader goals for the year and then breaking them down further into achievable quarterly goals, keeping in mind both the present year and the future, is a good idea. At the end of each quarter, you can do a check-in and recap what has been achieved. You can see what is left to be completed, if anything, and review and prepare the next quarter’s goals. If necessary, you can then add in what wasn’t completed in the previous quarter.
When doing your initial goal-setting, it is helpful to employ the SMART goal-setting system. It has been around for a long time and it works! Here is your refresher for setting SMART goals. Make sure that they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. This system ensures that you set achievable goals at the outset, making the process of executing, reviewing, pivoting and revising them much more possible.