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?