In the world of business and personal productivity there’s one word that you’ll hear repeatedly – goals. It’s important to set goals because that’s your guideline for success. It’s your line in the sand. You can say, “When I achieve ____ I’ll be successful.” Goals are a necessary element of both short term and long term success. You can have goals for lots of parts of your life. It’s an importnat thing to do because “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” They also help with measuring success.
However, it’s completely possible to have too many goals. You can have dozens of personal goals. You may want to drink more water, exercise more, meditate more, and get out with friends, save money and so on. These goals tend to naturally fall to the wayside and you find balance because you focus your attention on the goals that are priorities for you.
Business Goals Are Important
Business goals, on the other hand, have a tendency to stick around. If you sat down right now and made a list of all of your business goals, chances are you’d have a list of dozens of goals. For example, you may have daily productivity goals, monthly traffic and sales goals, and quarterly or annual growth goals. All of these goals can cause serious problems not only for your personal mindset and happiness but also for your business success.
When you have too many goals, you lose focus on the goals that matter. Instead of being able to put 100% effort into priority goals, each goal gets 10% of your attention. It shouldn’t’ be surprising then when you struggle to achieve your goals, right? You dilute your effort and moving forward becomes a very slow process.
But you can’t let go of all of your goals and choose just one. A successful business is a series of strategic goals and action based on those goals. So how do you find balance?
1. Evaluate Progress and Results – Take a look at your goals and evaluate them based on which goals are actually working for you. There may be some goals that you’re working on that have very little return on investment. Consider setting those goals aside. You don’t have to let them go completely. However, you can put them aside and save them for a time when you can make them a priority. When you know where you are going and you know what you are doing everyday to get there, you can tell what is getting you there more quickly and what you need to focus on more.
2. Evaluate Based on Potential – Which goals have the potential to generate the biggest results for your business? For example, a goal of growing your email list may be more powerful than the goal to increase your search engine page ranking. Generally, getting return customers in your shop is worth more attention than trying to find new prospects to sell to. Set aside the goals that may not have the most potential right now. Remember, you can come back to them later. If you want to grow your social media for example, know what you expect that to do and which channels are the most effective for your type of business.
3. Evaluate Based on Time and Resources – Do you really have the time, energy, and resources for a particular goal? Take a look at your existing business goals and determine the amount of time, money, and resources you need to achieve it. Is it a realistic goal to have right now? If not, set it aside. You may have a goal of attending business events weekly, but don’t have the time for it so you need to plan to go to one per month instead. You might have a slower time making progress but you will be able to measure the progress and see if it’s worth going more often.
By weeding out some goals, you’re able to make the most productive goals a priority. You can then devote your complete attention to achieving that goal. Most goal setting experts recommend focusing in one goal at a time. You create a pattern of success by systematically achieving your goals. In business this isn’t always possible. But you can devote your attention on the goals that matter right now.
How have you “overdone” it with goals in the past? I’ve had a plan with 6 goals, but 10-12 subgoals each and trying to achieve all of them at once didn’t work. I didn’t get any of them done! What about you?