As a small business owner, I hear a lot about entrepreneur goals. In fact, I have entrepreneur guilt because I set goals and so often fail to accomplish them.
Over the years, though, I discovered that setting goals is one thing, but setting goals I can actually accomplish is another.
One of the most important things I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is that my daily habits have the biggest impact on my business.
While large goals are good to have, they can also seem nebulous and too far out in the future, which means it’s easy to get overwhelmed by them (and then to give up).
But if you break things down and do the next thing that needs to be done every day, and make a habit of doing those things regularly, the results will add up.
Here’s an example: If customer satisfaction is one of your top priorities, what can you do every day to serve your customers? Perhaps it’s setting aside 30 minutes every day to clear your email box and reply to every customer. Or perhaps it’s dedicating 15 minutes for phone calls to follow up with customers, inquire about how their last transaction went, or invite them to coffee next week.
These everyday habits that reflect your core values may seem small, but they’ll have a lasting impact over time.
It sounds like something everyone does, right? But how many people actually follow through and do those items on their to-do list?
My biggest a-ha moment was that just keeping the list wasn’t helping me achieve my goals. The most important thing I could be doing was prioritizing my list and choosing the top 3 things I needed to accomplish first every day.
By prioritizing items on my list and choosing the items that absolutely must be accomplished that day, I’m able to focus all of my energy on the most important things.
Eventually everything moves to the top, but I’m not caught up doing just a little here and there — instead, big things get done.
Another key to setting goals you can actually achieve is to be specific and set measurable goals — goals you can actually see, feel, touch, or even count.
For example, instead of saying, “I’m going to establish a healthy work/life balance and take more vacation time this year,” you might say, “I’m going to take 5 weekdays off every other month with my family.” Then schedule those days on your calendar and follow through!”
If you want to “research new product lines” or “stay connected with customers,” be specific about how you’re going to do those things: “Research one product line each week for four weeks.” “Have lunch with one customer every two weeks.” These are specific and measurable goals that can be checked off when they’re complete!
In all of my years as a small business owner, I’ve found that some of my goals are not getting accomplished simply because I don’t like doing them.
I finally realized that the best way to move these goals to the top of my list was to outsource them!
For example, I struggled with my bookkeeping for so many years, simply because it was not my strong suit. I decided to hire a bookkeeper, and that one decision changed everything! Finally reports were getting done, taxes were easy to file, and I really knew where I stood financially. It was the best business decision I ever made!
It’s easy to get caught up in comparison mode! You read a business book or listen to someone whose business has been thriving for years, and you want to implement all of their advice.
But the best thing to do is start where you are right now.
Think about what you can to today that will have an impact on your business in a week, or a month, or a year, then take those baby steps now.
And by the way, I’m sure you’ve heard that “comparison is the thief of joy”? I do believe that’s true, but I also believe comparison is the thief of effectiveness, because you’ll never feel your small steps are big enough when you compare them to someone else’s.
Just keep doing the next thing — and watch your business grow!
It’s one thing to have a list of goals, but once things end up on your calendar, you’re committed in a way you weren’t before.
Do this with as many things as you can.
For example, if getting a new business headshot is on your to-do list for the new year, get in touch with a photographer and put a date on your calendar. With that date always approaching, you’ll do the things you need to do in the meantime to achieve that goal — like picking out an outfit, getting your hair and makeup done, figuring out all the things you can do with that photo once you get it.
If your goal is to post more to social media, set up a social media calendar and start planning your content for weeks or months in advance. Trust me — once you have content that is specific to your brand (and the visual content you need from your brand photo session), you’ll be so excited to share it that you’ll rarely miss a day!
So, now that I’ve shared my tips with you, I’d love to hear from you! Let me know if this article was helpful! And if I can assist you in achieving your goal to book a headshot or brand session, you can connect with me here.
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