How was your first week back after Christmas? Did you enjoy the meeting on Monday, setting this year’s goals with your team?
What did you think of the massive numbers your sales manager made up on the spot? Has your finance director decided to slash 20% of your costs? Top tip – tell them they can cut all their costs if they sack everyone and never buy anything.
If you’re a solopreneur, how did you feel when you were staring at the wall in your office wondering what this years goals should be?
Guess what? You all wasted your time. You might as well have sat in the meeting room, demolished a box of leftover mince pies and watched Del Boy falling through the bar again on iPlayer.
“But it’s what we do every year”, you cry.
Yep. And it was a waste of time every other year too.
Businesses set new goals every year because it makes it nice and neat for the accountants. That’s it! Here’s a resolution for you – tell them to disappear back to their accountancy cave until you need something adding up, then you’ll give them a shout.
Resetting your business every year is insane. If you try and cram everything into 12 months, you’ll fail. Your business might need a vision that stretches out for 5-10 years. You can’t have a crap year then say you’re wiping the slate clean and starting again because it’s Jan 1st.
Now, before you get all defensive about your New Year meeting, I’m not saying a business shouldn’t have goals. In fact, I’m a massive fan of them. But if you’re setting them based on doing a bit more than you did last year, you’re doing it wrong.
Setting goals in that waysays that your business lacks direction. It’s like you’re looking at each year in isolation and starting from scratch each January. What’s the point of doing that? The first day back in the new year isn’t special. It’s just another day. But it should be another day on the total journey you’ve mapped out.
How could you set a yearly business goal?
Don’t! That’s the whole point. If you’ve mapped out your overall plan, you don’t need new goals every January because you’ve already got a long-term vision of where you’re heading.
So what do we do in the meeting? We’ve booked a room and ordered bacon butties.
Ok. If you’ve ordered butties, then it would be a shame to waste them. For a start, you need abig goal. Not a random one you just made up for the sake of a meeting. But one that fills your whole life. A goal that scares you and excites you in equal measure.
Successful business leaders have a map. A defined route that takes them from where they are now to their ultimate destination.
“But, Andy, we have a clear plan. We’re currently at £X turnover, and we want to get to £Y turnover in five years,” you may say.
I say, buuuulllllshiiiiiit. That’s not a plan. At best it’s an aspiration. A dream, even. What you have there is one bit of an overall plan. So where’s the rest of it?
A proper plan has a start and endpoint, of course. But it also has waypoints along the route. Hit all those waypoints, and you’ll hit your overall goal, whatever timescale it stretches over.
Alright then, what does a proper plan look like?
Well, at the top in massive flashing neon letters will be your purpose.
That’s your mountain top. It’s your compelling vision of the future. Knowing what you want your life will look like is vital. Because once you know that, you can work out how your business needs to perform to give you that life. Then you can reverse engineer it into the milestones you need to hit. More importantly, you can focus on how. How will you get there? You can crystalise your strategy, define your plan, create your tactics and GO!
It’s not about setting a monthly, quarterly, or yearly goal. That’s absolute madness. Life is a continuous process of self-improvement. You don’t erase your life knowledge and experience every January 1st do you? You take it and build on it each year.
So, here’s a simple exercise you can do now. Grab a pen and write down who you want to be in five years. Think about who you’ve become and what you’ve learned. What does your family life look like? Your house, car, income? How many holidays will you have each year? How much cash in the bank would make you happy?
Next, think about how your business needs to perform to give you that life. How much revenue will it generate? How many customers and employees will you need to create that revenue? Will you need a bigger office? All these smaller goals will come from that original vision.
Then break it down into smaller goals and focus on achieving them. Do that, and there’s no need to even think about making yearly goals as they’re already in place.
Once you have that vision and detailed map, it’s about getting on with the journey. And what an awesome journey it will be. So let’s stop pissing about in meetings, setting pointless goals for this year.
Instead, create a compelling vision of the future, reverse engineer the whole thing back to where you are right now, then let’s get out there and make it happen.
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