Strategy

How to create 90-day financial goals — and actually reach them

Stacey Price /

Stacey Price Healthy Business Finances

Stacey Price. Source: Supplied.

Most business owners have an idea of their financial goals, but generally speaking, the goals remain in their heads. They would probably like to reach a certain revenue level, they would like a certain number of recurring clients, they would like to draw a certain wage.

But again, nothing is written down. And when I asked business owners how those financial goals came about, generally most people say something like ‘well it seems like a good number’.

Now I am going to be perfectly honest here — goals which are ‘good numbers’ are generally not made up of any kind of research, data, facts or figures. They are often unrealistic numbers and can have the debilitating effect of squashing a business owners confidence in their own ability.

Christmas is just around the corner — 74 days away to be precise. So why not create some financial goals for the next 90 days to set you up for success leading into 2019?

Here are my top tips for setting 90-day financial goals and sticking with them. Financial goals that are realistic and meaningful will be valuable to your business in the long-term.

Why 90 days?

Well, habits take generally 21 days to form, and it generally takes 30 days to actually push through the ‘I can’t do this’ phase to the ‘I actually want to do this’ phase. So the first month is setting you up for success.

The second month is evaluating how the goal is going — is it realistic, too far-fetched, not big enough?

And the last month is really consolidating on that goal and ensuring the entire process is stuck like glue.

It needs to become a habit, second nature. So we always look three months at a time when looking at goals.

So start by asking yourself: ‘What is the one thing I want to achieve in the next 90 days?’ It might be doubling your client base, increasing revenue, cutting costs by 10%, or making a profit.

Pick one goal. Nail it for 90 days. And then move on to the next one.

If we focus on too many goals at the one time, there are too many targets to aim at, so we generally miss all of them.

Write it down

Better yet, get a whiteboard from Officeworks and write the goal at the top of the whiteboard. Then break the whiteboard up in to four quarters.

The first quarter is where you are now. So for example, I might write that my goal is to hit sales of $9000 a month by 90 days at the top of the whiteboard. In the first quarter, I write where I am at now, which might be $5000.

In the second and third boxes, I write my goals to increase that figure over the next two months. So the second box, which is the end of the first 30 days, I might write $6000. The third box, which is at the end of 60 days I might write $7000.

And the last box on the whiteboard, is where I want to be at the end of the 90 days, which is the $9000. I now have monthly targets to reach, clear as day in front of me, to help me along my journey. Seeing those goals every day in my office makes me more determined than ever to reach them.

Just start

I know we read and see this message all the time: just start. But often with financial goals, people are genuinely scared of the process. So the easiest option is to revert back to what we know is safe: our everyday work.

However, our everyday work is not getting us towards our goal. It will keep business ticking over, but we want to achieve more, so we have to do more. Every day, try and do one thing which makes you better, one thing which makes you stand out (for the right reasons), one thing for people to remember you by. It is that collective group of ‘one things’ that will propel your business forward.

I am not saying the ‘one things’ are easy — generally they are not. The reason we haven’t done them before is we are scared of them. But you have to start somewhere — so pick one thing, and do it. Don’t focus on all the things, focus on one thing.

Have an accountability buddy

For many people, 90 days may seem like forever, but once you get back into the grind of your business, you can easily reach the 90 days and be in exactly the same financial position as before. This will then lead to you thinking you are not good enough, will never achieve your goal, and you could lose motivation.

So get an accountability buddy.

It doesn’t have to be someone in the same industry. What they have to understand is your goals, and they have to be able to give you a pep talk, some inspiration, some clear thinking and a new perspective when you need it. Plus, they must really be on your side.

Perhaps an accountant or financial coach can really explain those numbers for you. The best athletes have coaches to help them perform, so think of your accountability buddy as someone helping you reach your full potential.

Measuring the goals is just as important as the goal itself

Let’s revisit our goal to reach $9000 in revenue by the end of the 90 days, with our mini targets at 30 and 60 days.

How do you know if you have met the goals?  How do you know if you are on track? You must have a way to measure this goal.

Hopefully, you have accounting software and can run some reports to guide you. I suggest tracking your monthly goal on a weekly basis by breaking it down into weekly mini goals. That way you can track how you are going, what has impacted the goal, what is working and what still needs to be implemented before the end of the month.

The goal might be static but you should always be reviewing, changing and implementing to make sure you are on track.

You can do it

Financial goals can be scary.

Often it is the first time you feel the business is a serious beast. Often you want to run away from it. But why would you be in business if you didn’t want it to make money and grow?

Setting up some realistic goals and giving yourself 90 days to achieve them, via mini monthly goals, will set you on the path to growing your business. It won’t be easy, but your business will thank you for it.

NOW READ: Five tips for getting your startup investment ready

NOW READ: A new financial year: Time to reconnect with your business purpose

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Stacey Price

Stacey is the founder of Healthy Business Finances, where she specialises in helping business owners understand their financial information. She is a qualified chartered accountant and registered BAS agent and self-confessed numbers nerd.

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