Short term goals and long term goals

Our short term goals should be chunks of our long term goals. But we need to know our starting point first when setting these goals.

Ironically, this starting point is our finishing point; by this I mean it is where we want to be in 5, 10, 20 years time. If you cannot envisage where you want to be in 20 years time, then start a little closer to the present.

As I mentioned in the last article, knowing what you are aiming at is the first and most important step, and your personal goals are the ones that you need to put out there in front of you to aim at. Then you set your business goals to facilitate these personal goals.

So, start from the end. What motivates you? What inspires you on a personal level? If the Swiss chalet and the time to ski for six months of the year while your business takes care of itself is your dream, then start from there. Work backwards, deciding what you need to do to get there. Work out how much this will cost, how long it will take, work out all the smaller steps that you need to achieve to reach this goal. These are your medium term goals. Then break these goals down even further to arrive at your short term goals. These need to be very short term; even to the point of being daily achievements. They are your stepping stones. If you don’t set these short term goals it is unlikely that you will reach your long term goals.

The key here is to have goals! Sounds obvious, but think about it. If you don’t have a destination, how are you going to get there? It’s a bit like getting in to your car, getting to the end of your driveway, but not knowing which way you need to turn. And even if you made the decision to turn left or to turn right, if you haven’t got a final destination in mind, and a planned route by which to get there, then it is highly likely that you will be driving round in circles only to end up back in your driveway again!

If you have a destination (your long term goals), you can plan (your short term goals). You can plot out the stages of your journey. Turn left out of your driveway, drive to the airport, get on the plane, fly to the Swiss chalet, and chill! Without knowing where we are going, we will never get there.

Once you have decided on your goals, and your key objectives, write them down. Have them visible so that they are constantly in your mind. Get yourself into a Mastermind group and become accountable to others in achieving those goals.

As business owners we tend to be optimists. We set up our business with a vision of it providing us with the beautiful lifestyle of our dreams. That is what we are working towards. And we work damned hard at it. But this optimism can cloud our factual judgement sometimes.

Setting goals – short term and long term – can be a very sobering process. It may mean us having to refocus on our business in a way that we have not done before. But without that focus, how are we ever going to move forward?

Business goals and personal goals

Business goals and personal goals; are they the same thing?

Quite often I will ask a client… “What are your personal goals?

They invariably talk about their business goals. So what is the difference? And why do we need to distinguish between the two?

Business owners tend to focus on their business goals. Not surprisingly, as our business is what we do and it is imperative to have business goals. But these are just a conduit to achieving our personal goals.

It is coming to that time of the year when we all think about setting goals for the New Year ahead. It is important that our business and personal goals are aligned, but separate. Our personal goals are the goals that need to be set as a priority. Our business facilitates our personal goals. By setting our personal goals we become more focused. They mean more to us; they are the goals that will keep us persistent, assured and motivated. They are not broad. They are specific; they come from a personal place and have personal meaning.

For example, a personal goal might be to own a beautiful chalet in the Alps where you can spend much of your time in the skiing season doing your favourite sport while your business takes care of itself. The business goal might be to earn £100k per year and have three management staff in order to facilitate this personal goal. Do you see the difference? The personal goal will inspire and motivate you, whereas having £100k per year and three management staff are merely figures; business goals that you need to achieve to make your personal goal possible.

By setting the personal goal of the Swiss chalet you can work out what you need to achieve this goal, eg. the cost of the chalet, the time of year that you want to be there, the skiing gear that you will need to buy, and the cost of flights etc. Then you will utilise your business to obtain these wants.

Your personal goals need to be more focused; they need to be realistic and attainable. Make sure you get to the core of what your goal is. Work out how your business goals will get you there. Be clear and concise about this and set your targets alongside your goals.

When setting goals we often keep them to ourselves. By telling someone about our goals, all of a sudden we become accountable. This may mean the difference between achieving them or losing focus. Telling friends and loved ones about our goals means that we are more likely to achieve them. They can help with motivation and keep our dreams alive.

For goals in our working lives I would recommend going one step further than sharing with family and friends. The technique of masterminding is one that I have used successfully for many years. It involves meeting on a regular basis with a group of like-minded people, usually from similar experience and career achievements; setting goals, brainstorming problems, setting targets, and re-assessing previous targets with the aim of moving forward each month. By masterminding with people who are detached from your business and personal life, who can look objectively at your business and give helpful suggestions, and being accountable to these people, we are much more likely to stick with and achieve those goals – personal and business – that we set ourselves for our future.