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Tips For Setting The Right Goals
  • 06 March 2019
  • Leo Covey

Tips For Setting The Right Goals

Every business needs a plan to grow and thrive. Put another way, no business can escape the necessity of smart, actionable planning and expect to succeed. If you are not actively planning for your future, you may be opening the door for something less fruitful to head your way. But fear not: Setting the right goals does not have to be an abstract or laborious endeavor. Rather, it can be a rich and rewarding exercise geared toward maximizing the things you are good at, eliminating the stuff that is dragging you down, and setting out to build the best possible version of your business.

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Start with a SWOT

When identifying your goals, the classic SWOT analysis is one simple, elegant and efficient way to home in on an action plan. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and putting some thought into each area is a powerful way to uncover specific insights to unlock your short- and long-term goal planning.

  • What are your strengths, and how can you leverage them in a way that makes your business more competitive and poised for growth?

  • What are your weaknesses, and how can you plan to improve upon them or eliminate them altogether?

  • What opportunities do you see coming your way that could turn into a windfall if you put the right effort into them?

  • Finally, what threats do you see on the horizon heading your way? Maybe a new competitor has popped up, or an emerging trend has started to erode your value proposition. Rather than waiting for these potential threats to turn into established weaknesses, you can proactively set the right goals right now to get ahead of them.

Make your goals actionable

A goal is only as good as its intended outcome. Specificity is crucial so that you can set out to accomplish measurable milestones. It sounds simple, but think about how you word your goals. There is a difference between “networking more” and “spending one hour every week on LinkedIn researching potential sales leads.” One goal is vague and open-ended. The other sets you up for success because it is specific and actionable. Do you want to “improve employee morale” or “invest $X per quarter in training opportunities to increase your employee satisfaction and effectiveness”?

Hold yourself accountable

We live in a day and age when digital tools are literally at your fingertips to help you accomplish your goals. Google Calendar and project management apps can keep you honest and motivated. Or if you prefer a more personal, free-form approach to goal organization, there are several journaling apps that, with some customization on your end, can be optimized for your business needs. In the end, what matters most is finding the right tool to build healthy, goal-oriented habits and then holding yourself to them.

Embrace the BHAG

There is quite a bit of psychology baked into the way your brain relates to goal setting and to-do lists. While our brains may be wired for knocking out daily tasks, you should try to round out the small steps with the far-reaching goals that are tougher yet far more rewarding once conquered. People are still buzzing about a classic article from the Harvard Business Review, which coined the term BHAG — a Big Hairy Audacious Goal or a goal with the long-term intention of transforming your business. It’s likely that you will not accomplish yours in 2019 or 2020. But the energy you put into your BHAG will make you a smarter, more dangerous force within your industry.

While your BHAG should be personal and tailored to your unique situation, it should not be anything related to business as usual. Some examples of a BHAG could include “transforming your shop into the most talked-about destination in your community” or “making your competition obsolete by 2029.” Think big. Be bold. Attack your BHAG.

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Stay flexible

Lastly, it is healthy to remind yourself that business moves quickly and things can change in an instant. That is the reality of our marketplace and part of what makes running a successful small business thrilling. Take time to revisit your SWOT throughout the year to make sure that the goals you set from six months ago are still the right goals for today.

Setting goals gets even easier with the right partners. If any of your goals involve printing new marketing materials, refreshing your brand with a custom design identity or implementing a direct mail campaign to attract customers, you can count on The UPS Store as a partner to help you achieve success.

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