This guest post comes to us via Elise Blaha Cripe. Elise is a blogger, crafter and goal setter in San Diego, California. She has been sharing thoughts and DIY projects on her Internet corner since 2005. Elise hosts a weekly podcast, elise gets crafty, that focuses on handmade business, blogging, creativity, and inspiration. In the spring of 2015, Elise launched GET TO WORK BOOK, a daily planner + goal setting workbook designed to help you make progress on your big goals. The 2016 GET TO WORK BOOK is currently available for pre-order here.
Goal setting is one of my favorite topics (to write about AND think about) and I find myself spending a lot of time doing both. I am so honored Sarah invited me over to be a guest and share some tips with you. Technically, these are going to focus on setting goals to improve your small business but I really think they can be applied to anything.
Don’t be afraid to think big picture
Before you start thinking about how you want to work on and improve your business, it helps to consider where you actually want to be headed.
Are you trying to quit your day job? Become a fortune 500 company? Make enough to spend your summers backpacking? Knowing your “end-game” is so valuable because then you know more about what you need to be doing today. Maybe you need to be saving more of your profits. Maybe you need to be re-investing more. Maybe you need to develop more passive income streams. It’s hard to know what to focus on until you have at least an idea of what you want your future to look like.
Choose something measurable
Good goals are specific. Of course, you want to “improve sales” or “grow your newsletter” but instead of just saying that, determine some numbers.
How much do you need to improve your sales? How many newsletter subscribers would you like to gain this month? Determine measurable goals, write them down and then work towards them. The satisfaction of “hitting” those numbers is awesome, but even if you fall short, you have a real amount that you fell short and that can be helpful when coming up with what to shoot for next year or next month.
Be realistic (but challenging!)
As Pinterest quotes will tell you, it’s more than okay to dream big. But when it comes to goal-setting, I have found that going too big is never good. You want your goals to be realistic - something that you can actually achieve - but also inspiring enough that they feel challenging. It’s a semi-tricky balance to find, but through practice (and trial and error!) you can get there.
Again, you want to pick something realistic (probably not this Friday) but challenging (probably not four years from now). When considering deadlines, it also helps to stagger your projects and goals. Don’t make everything due the same month or try to launch everything at beginning of the year. Give yourself (and your customers!) some time to avoid burnout.
Break it down
Once you have your realistic and measurable goal(s) in mind, the next step is to break them down. This is the “how” portion. How are you going to get from A to B? What do you need to do today, this week, next week and next month to get there? What are some action steps? I have found that the more action steps I list out and schedule as to-do list items the better. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by a huge project. Instead, let yourself get busy working on smaller steps on a daily basis.
Remember, this is fun
Coming up with goals and striving towards them can be a hugely satisfying exercise. At times, it can also feel really hard. But on the whole, you’re growing. You’re expanding. You’re learning and you’re making progress. All of those are good things and all of those will pay off for you and your business.
I encourage you to think of the whole process as something enjoyable. Remember that you get to choose your goals; no one is setting them for you. Pick the stuff that makes your heart race and your stomach flip a bit. Then get to work.
What goals are you setting for your business? Making your goals public is a great way to hold yourself accountable - tell us in the comments!