As 2021 kicks off, many people are taking this time to set their yearly goals.
This often involves a period of reflection on the previous year to see what worked, what didn’t and what needs to improve. If you didn’t achieve some of your goals, you may be tempted to just roll them over and try again next year.
But this time, I want to encourage you to be more considerate with your goal setting.
It can be easy to get caught up in chasing the next big win or implementing a shiny new strategy which you think will take your business to the next level.
And while short-term goals are necessary, it is also very important that you are considering your long-term vision for the future in every action that you take each day.
So put aside your current short-term goals for a minute (and by short-term, I mean those which you aim to achieve in a year or less) and take the time to go through these steps first that will enable you to dream big and set the course of action for your business for years to come.
Be very clear about your long-term vision
Your vision is the cornerstone of your business.
You started your business because you wanted to create something that would have a positive impact on the world and in people’s lives.
This vision always needs to be front and centre of everything you do.
But it can’t just be a vague image in your mind. You need to make sure you have it written down somewhere so you can constantly refer to it and you can also share it with your team.
Take the time to sit down and ask yourself the following questions.
- What impact do you want to have on the world?
- How do you want your life to look in 10, 20 or 30 years?
- What do you want your business to be known for?
Check your resources
Now that you are crystal clear on your long-term vision, it’s time to check your current resources.
That means seeing what you already have available that is going to help you, as well as identifying where there are gaps that will need to be filled over time.
This is where you will need to sit down with your team, or alone if you are a solo entrepreneur, and literally make a list of your current resources and the resources you will need in the future.
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This includes tangible resources, such as money and equipment, as well as intangible resources, such as the experience and skills of your team.
For example, you may need to seek out investors to grow your business or you may need to upskill your current employees.
Then, for the resources you don’t currently have but will need, make a timeline of when you aim to acquire these, as these will become your short-term goals over the next few years.
Make sure your short-term goals are in line with your vision
This is where your short-term goals (12 months or less) come in.
When you don’t align your short-term goals to your long-term vision, you will waste resources chasing other goals which end up being completely unrelated to what you originally wanted to achieve. You just end up chasing whatever strategy seems to be popular at the time or trying to emulate what others in your industry are doing.
Basically, without a clear vision, you will always be thinking in the short term which doesn’t give your business a chance at surviving and thriving for the long term.
So rather than think about what you want to achieve in a year (which is what most people do), work backwards from what you want to achieve in 10 years.
Think about what the first steps might be and develop your short-term goals from there.
When you set your short-term goals, you need to be able to draw a clear path from that goal to your long-term vision.
It absolutely has to make sense, and if it doesn’t, then scrap it.
Constantly review your goals and objectives
This last one is very important.
Too many people get to the end of the year and realise they have barely made any progress on their goals. Then they either try and rush through it or just add it to the list for next year.
Throughout the year, new tasks and goals might pop up which may seem important at the time. But often they probably aren’t.
In order to remain in control of what’s happening within your business and to stay on track to achieve your vision, you must schedule regular times throughout the year to review your short term goals.
Ask yourself the following questions.
- Are the tasks that are being completed in relation to these goals still relevant?
- Are the goals relevant to my overall vision?
- Are there any required resources?
- Are there any inefficiencies?
At the end of the day, the best way to ensure you have a successful year is to make sure that the goals you have are related to your vision for the future.
You are committed to this business for the long term, which means taking thoughtful and considered actions in order to create the biggest impact within your business.