Desire is the key to motivation, but it is determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek. — Mario Andretti
Setting effective and achievable business goals is at the heart of any good business goal setting strategy. While many people say they want to achieve success in business, not everyone has the wherewithal to follow through and do so. The person versed in the art of goal setting, who can set effective goals and follow through with their achievement, understands just what it takes to do this. It’s no walk in the park. It takes true determination, effort, and persistence. Most people want to achieve their goals, but don’t want to put in the work to do so. The cliché goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” But we all know just how few and far between the “tough” really are from those who have a tendency to simply give up. It’s easy to throw in the towel, especially when there’s such a big mountain to climb. Most of us just want to have our cake and eat it too, right? Well, you’re probably no stranger to setting business goals. But, what does it take to actually achieve your goals in business? I wanted to put together the 10 best tips for actually following through with your business goals and achieving career success.
- Set descriptive business goals
What the mind can’t visualize, the mind can’t achieve. Thoughts are things and the more time you spend describing and visualizing your goals, the better your chances will be to actually reaching them. Grab a piece of paper and visualize your goals. Don’t just say you’re going to make more money next year or get that promotion you were hoping for. Go ahead and describe the exact amount of money you’re going to be making, and the office you’ll be in when you get that promotion. This might sound silly to some people, but there is real power in visualization. Take the time to thoroughly visualize and describe your goals in as great detail as you can. Use an entire sheet of paper to define just what your life will be like when you achieve that goal. What type of house will you be living in when the business goal you set for yourself becomes a reality? What types of things will you be doing with your time in the morning? Who will be reporting to you at work? What will your daily schedule look like? Be as detailed and descriptive as possible. The more meticulously you can do this, the more likely you’ll be to achieve your business goals.
- Set achievable business goals
This doesn’t mean you can’t set lofty business goals, especially in the long term. This means you should set goals that you truly believe you can achieve. Regardless of what that goal is, ensure that you at least have a chance in achieving it. This doesn’t mean you have to know just how you’re going to get there every step of the way. The founder of any successful startup can tell you that they never could have imagined all the steps that would have been necessary to get to where they are today. Setting achievable business goals simply means that you believe in yourself wholeheartedly enough to see that goal through. It means that you’ll do whatever it takes to get there. Find and set achievable business goals to ensure you experience both the short term and long term benefits that come along with career success.
- Set time-focused business goals
Always set time-focused business goals. You can’t simply set a goal with no time element involved, or even an obscure one. For example, you don’t want to say that you’ll start a business by sometime next year. No, if you want to set a business goal for starting your own company, give an exact must-launch date. When will you cut the ties with your current employment? What specific date will you cast out on your own? No matter what your business goal might be, you have to set a clear date on when you’ll achieve it. This will help to add some perspective as you reach towards your goals.
- Create strong-enough reasons
Do you have deep and profound reasons for wanting to achieve the business goals that you set for yourself? I’m not talking about superficial reasons. I’m talking about meaningful reasons. Simply saying that you want to achieve your business goals so that you can drive a better car or have more money in the bank won’t help you, especially when you hit those all-too-often career plateaus. What’s going to actually help you here is developing profound and meaningful reasons. We don’t want to make a certain amount of money in business just so that we can collect random pieces of paper with deceased notables on them. We want to make more money because of what that money will bring to us. Time, security, freedom, contribution, and family are some of the deeper and more profound reasons we could set to help achieve our business goals. Put some real thought and effort into why you’ve set the business goals for yourself that you’ve set. If you want to actually achieve them, make sure you associate a strong-enough reason to doing so.
- Create milestones
Milestones are a great way to help create some stepping stones as you work your way towards achieving your business goals. But what are milestones exactly? Well, think about it this way. Let’s say you’ve set the business goal to become the top salesman in your company within 18 months. In order to do that, you’ll need to hit some milestones first. So, what are some milestones you could create along the way? For example, you could create a quarterly goal to contact a certain number of people or reach a certain dollar amount in sales. You could also set these as monthly goals, weekly goals, or even daily goals, that we could otherwise call milestones. What’s important is to create milestones that will help you move in the right direction and ultimately see you achieving your business goals in the long term.
- Make a plan and act on it
In order to achieve any business goal, we need a plan and we need to act on that plan. The plan is our roadmap towards our goals. How are you going to reach your business goals? This isn’t something abstract or arbitrary exercise that’s done in the mind and tucked away in your mental filing cabinet. This is something that requires true mental fortitude, and that’s written out and planned in a meticulous fashion. While you might not know every step you’ll need to take in order to reach your goals, you have to have a plan of attack. How will you launch your own business or increase sales for your employer and get that well-deserved promotion? Whatever your business goals might be the only way to achieve the ones that we set for ourselves, it to have some sort of plan that we act upon. Of course, daily massive action is required once we do have our plan. Plan and act. Recycle and repeat. That’s the way to achieve your business goals.
- Track and analyze
Reaching our business goals is next to impossible when we don’t have a system to track and analyze. Find a way to track your results on a daily basis, and create a spreadsheet. By tracking and analyzing, you can also help to ensure that your plan is working in your favor. What are you doing on a daily basis that’s helping you to move closer to your goals? Are you moving further away? Setup some metric and system for tracking and analyzing your progress towards your goals. You simply can’t achieve your goals without tracking and analyzing your efforts.
- Adjust your plan when needed
Although we might set a plan to achieve our business goals at the outset, and act on that plan, when we track and analyze our progress, and we see that we’re not getting the results we’re after, we have to adjust our plans. Think about it this way. A plane is traveling from LAX to JFK. That plane has a plan to reach its goals. In general, it knows the overall speed, direction, and cruising altitude it wants to travel at. However, along the way, things might arise. For example, the plane might experience turbulence at 33,000 feet, forcing it to climb higher or sink lower. The plane might also need to avoid a storm system, causing it to change directions to make its way around it. Of course, the plane has to adjust its plan to arrive at JFK, but it doesn’t change its goal of arriving there. Similarly, you should adjust your plan when needed.
- Focus on Keystone Habits
The instillation of keystone habits, are a great way for us to achieve our business goals. Keystone habits are habits that act as cornerstones in our lives. What exactly are they and how do they help? Well, keystone habits help in the formation of other good habits. When we focus on good keystone habits, other good habits simply fall into place. For example, working out for 30 minutes per day is considered a keystone habit. When someone works out for 30 minutes every day, they’re more inclined to eat right, drink plenty of water, and take their vitamins. Why? Because working out is a keystone habit. Similarly, in business, there are plenty of keystone habits. Find the right keystone habits and focus on those, and watch as other good habits that will help you reach your business goals, fall into place.
- Leverage the 80/20-rule
The 80/20 rule, or the Pareto principle, says that 80% of the results comes from 20% of the efforts. Anything that we measure, we’ll find that 80% of our results are coming from 20% of the work that’s put in. When it comes to sales, this means that 80% of our sales are derived from 20% of our efforts. When it comes to our income, the same thing applies. Find the 20% of your efforts that are producing the 80% of your results, and amplify them. To do this, you have ensured that you track and analyze all of the time that you spend on your work-related efforts throughout the day. Learn to harness this principle, and watch as all the business goals that you set for yourself ultimately materialize as you slowly but surely achieve career success.