Setting Goals

Phil Hendry02/12/2020

Setting goals help deliver the life and business you want, here are the 3 types of goals you should set…

As Stephen Covey said in ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, you need to “start with the end in mind”.

By doing this you can become far more clear on the life you want, then in turn understand what you really need to aim for with your business.
Selling up, retirement or death.
One thing is for sure, we are all leaving our businesses at some point!
Business owners who are intentional about this find that their path to growth (or life after work) becomes much clearer.

Depending on the source, statistics suggest only around 30% of businesses actually sell when taken to market.
This is because business owners want an exit due to stress, a lack of enjoyment, or some new desire.
As you might expect, this is the worst possible time to try and sell your business, as clearly that is not a very desirable prospect for a buyer.

By working towards something intentionally, you can target the steps required to get there.
And approach the next stage (whether it is a sale or further growth) with a purpose. The same can be said for lifestyle goals for you and your family.
This might be more time with your children while they are young, travelling while fit and able, or buying and spending time at a holiday home.

This requires you to set goals.
This is a pretty vague thing to do though without becoming more focused, so you need to be specific in quantifying the goal both by measure and timeframe, but keep it achievable.

goals

We think at the very least, there are these three types of goal which are a really good start…

A BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal…7-10 years)

What’s this?

This is the goal which requires you to think big. This might be for your business to be the dominant player in your sector, to have a national presence or have a certain market share. In life this might be to retire at 40, buy a Ferrari, lower your golf handicap or run a triathlon.
In his book ‘Good to Great’, author Jim Collins tries to identify historically, what the difference has been between the good corporations in America, and the great ones.
The premise for this goal is to aim high over a longer timeframe, like ten years.

Why?

Well for this goal in particular, aiming high helps to gradually overcome limiting beliefs. We might have subconsciously limited what we think is possible, but by pushing beyond this, we begin to reshape what we think we can achieve.
This often means that should we not quite hit these goals, failure to do so, still pulls up the potential possible income.

What do I mean by that?

For example, if we use the golfing analogy, and you want to lower your golf handicap.
You do everything that is required to become a scratch golfer (i.e. zero handicap) over ten years.
You go to the golf range regularly.
Work with a coach and practice your shots.
You work on your mental game.
Maybe you compete in competitions regularly.
You exercise and take care of yourself.
After ten years have passed, you still have a handicap and haven’t quite achieved your BHAG. Surely this is still a success, and you’re far better than when you started?

But if you hadn’t set that ambitious goal, you wouldn’t have gone to the same length to improve, and you would still have a large handicap.
Aim big, make it achievable, and figure out what you need to do to get there.

The Bridge (3-5 year goal)

I think we have all heard someone talk about this and brushed it off….
“What’s your 5 year plan?”
It feels too far in the future, so initial actions become too difficult to identify and implement.
But in isolation, not grand enough to really inspire.
This is why the BHAG is important.
It makes you want to work towards the 3-5 year goal, which in turn acts as ‘The Bridge’ between now and the BHAG.
It allows you to picture progress.

In your business, if you want to create a national presence as your BHAG, you may set this goal as creating a presence in every major town or city in your region in three years. In your personal planning, this may look like a savings target of 50% of the current price of that holiday cottage on the coast.

Get this goal down on paper, and try to picture in as much detail as possible what this might look like, as it should be a little easier than the BHAG.  And the more specific, the easier it becomes to plot your course to get there.

The First Step (90 Days)

James Clear nails the reason to develop this goal in his book ‘Atomic Habits’.
He covers the way to begin developing a habit (or breaking one), and the key is to break down what you want to achieve into small easily consumed pieces.
We have all attempted to form new habits.
Whether it’s doing more exercise, eating better or learning something new.
But where we usually go wrong is due to focusing on the overwhelming distance we need to cover to accomplish our achievements.

Breaking it down

The key is to break down the steps to your end goal as much as possible.
As human beings we need the feeling of accomplishment and progress.
So break down the steps you need to take and then break them down again.
It makes starting and continuing all the more achievable.

James Clear talks about someone who wanted to lose 100 pounds.
To get started, they told themselves they would only stay at the gym for five minutes each day.
This made the challenge more palatable, and they gradually increased the time spent at the gym.

As a business owner, you might just need to start by assessing your use of time. That will help you understand how to free up more, such as delegating better, recruiting or outsourcing for the other tasks. This in turn will free you to think about your business.
And for personal planning, it could be that you need to sit down with your family and gather up a proper summary of your finances, to then begin planning.

Start setting your goals now and keep working towards them.
But one crucial detail to remember is, don’t be a slave to a number.
Things change, so you will inevitably have to adapt these, and that’s ok.
Use them as tools to give you clarity on where you want to go with your business, and your life.