Whether you’re just starting out or already in business, it’s important that you set goals for yourself and your business. And once you know how to avoid these common mistakes, these simple principles can be applied to any other area of your life:
MISTAKE - Not Setting a Deadline
It's a well known fact that when we give ourselves deadlines for our goals, we are much more likely to achieve them. Somehow, knowing that there is a timeframe involved focuses our efforts and even when we do very little differently, our success is faster.
MISTAKE - Phrasing Your Goal as a Negative
It’s important that you frame your outcome in a positive way. Swap a negative goal like “I want to get rid of my debts from training and start earning” to “by 30th January, I will be earning _”.
Alternatively, if you know how many clients or customers you will need for such an income, “by 30th January, I will have 20 regular clients/customers each week. ”
MISTAKE - Not Considering the Variables
You need to work out how much of your goal you control. Using the example above, you may think “I can’t possibly get 20 clients or customers on my own because it depends on the market…” This is fine. Once you know that the market is an important factor, you can tailor your approach to be better prepared.
What do you have control over?
MISTAKE - Not Being Clear on What You Want to Achieve
Are you clear about what you want to happen? The clearer you can be, the more motivated you will feel and everything will be easier. What will change when you have 20 regular clients/customers each week? Picture your diary filled with appointments. How does that feel?
Too hectic? Do you want to readjust your figure or reschedule your available working hours? Once you’re happy that your goal is clear and that you want to put your energy into making it a reality, fill in the details.
MISTAKE - Not Thinking About the Impact on Other People
How will reaching your goal affect your friends, family, community and the planet?
Ruth wanted a busy business and was doing lots of marketing with no success. When we examined what business would actually mean for her, we realised why. Beth worked from the home she shared with her partner so he had to make himself scarce a lot. This exercise made Beth realise how much she hated putting him out.
MISTAKE - Not Having Clear Goalposts
Often, we get so lost chasing a dream we forget to assess our progress. How will you know when you have reached your goal? What will success look and feel like?
There’s no point working all out if you don’t appreciate it once you get there. The most successful and happy people set themselves measurable goals. Using the same example of getting 20 regular clients/customers by 30th January, you might decide that this will involve building up slowly. If you currently have 10 clients/customers, you will want to double it. If you’re new to your business, you’ll probably want to build up from a lower number than that.
MISTAKE - Not Having a Map
Again, by breaking your overall goal into smaller steps, you will illustrate the old saying: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
If you were apprehensive about driving from London to Cornwall for the first time, you’d break it into stages. Your first leg of the journey might take you to Reading where you might stop to refuel, then a second leg to Exeter where you could stop off for lunch. The final leg would take you to your holiday destination. Or this may be too much driving and you would decide to break the journey into smaller steps.
Give yourself credit for each step you take.
MISTAKE - Not Identifying Your Support Systems
Don’t underestimate the support you have or could gain access to. Be creative and list all the support you have. Feel that support as you progress and let it lift you towards attaining your goals.
© Eve Menezes Cunningham 2005. All rights reserved.
Eve Menezes Cunningham is an accredited life coach who helps executives and entrepreneurs to set and reach business and personal goals. Eve uses a wide range of business performance coaching, life coaching and NLP techniques and you can choose from a variety of packages to suit your needs and budget. For more information, please visit http://www.coachingforexecutivesandentrepreneurs.co.uk or call 01277 632085.
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