How to grow your business by effective goal setting
The goal setting theory of motivation
We’re all familiar with goal setting, and we’re all familiar with motivation (or lack thereof, at times). However, the two go hand in hand like the business Batman and Robin, as discovered by Edwin Locke back in the 1960s. In a nutshell, this goal-setting theory of motivation tells us that performing well and reaching positive outcomes is linked directly with setting goals. So, you make goals, and work to achieve them, keeping you motivated, right? Well, sure. But one of the crucial elements to this theory is how you set those goals, and how you go about keeping yourself accountable. From the clarity of your goals to the deadlines you set yourself, there are a number of ways of going about goal setting that lend themselves to successfully reaching those goals. Let’s go through how you can use this to get more out of your business.
Why goal setting importance for business growth
A lot of what you achieve in your business comes down to the goals you set yourself. Growing your business doesn’t happen overnight – you need to set different types of goals that allow you to incrementally get to where you want to be. I’ve found that not having goals will lead to losing out on opportunities to get things done, because you lose track of your work and great ideas. Not all goals have to be massive. In fact, setting smaller goals will help you to reach the bigger ones, which will mean you can solidify the bases needed for your bigger goals – which is something I’ve found to be instrumental in getting to where I wanted to be. Setting goals will also force you to consider what’s important to your business, by making sure you’re covering everything you need to do to make your larger scale goals achievable, even if it changes over time. Don’t be surprised if things change and you need to reevaluate – you need to be able to adapt to external factors that come up (did someone say COVID-19?). Essentially, if it’s something that you’re passionate about (read our article on Passion and Business Success), that you believe in, and that you want to achieve, the goal is just a necessary step to get where you need to be.
How to set goals for business success
It could seem anything from simple to overwhelming to set goals for your business, but using these goal setting pillars will be a good place to start.
- I always say what gets measured, gets done. Start by setting goals that are specific, measurable, articulated, realistic and time driven. Think of it like budgeting – you can only set a goal that’s achievable.
- Break your larger goals down – the journey to a big goal is too long, so you need to split it up into smaller, more achievable goals. If you’re winning often, you’re going to stay motivated to continue. As an example, I’ve found setting micro goals like a to-do list everyday will help to put you in a productive and motivated mindset.
- Delegate goals to different areas of the team, so the people involved each have different ways of contributing. The key here is adding up all of the goals of each of your people. Will that achieve what you want? If the answer is yes, you’re on the right track – and you should also encourage your people to set their own goals within that. If the answer is no, you need to look at your resourcing.
- Review your goals regularly. This really depends on the goal, but I’d suggest reviewing your blue sky 5-year goals every 3 months to make sure they’re still on track. For smaller goals, I find it to be more of a constant refinement process to check that you’re implementing your strategy day to day.
Tips for effective goal setting
- Keep your people engaged. If they want to be there and you’ve given them the tools to enable them to be able to do what they need to do, they’ll play a major role in achieving overall goals. I always check in to make sure my staff are happy, too.
- Visualise your goals in context. Don’t just think about the end result, think about the lifestyle or way of being that you’ll have if you achieve them.
- Write things down. Not only will you have everything you need to do mapped out, ticking things off helps to keep you motivated.
- Get input from others. This is super important in keeping yourself accountable, but also because if you’ve got a new goal, you’ll want outside views to help you refine what you need to do.
- Don’t mistake KPIs and metrics for goals. Instead, focus on the activities that will put you in a position to achieve the metrics you’re after. When you think about it, actual profit and numbers are a byproduct of achieving goals.
- Set goals outside of your comfort zone. This will help you to push yourself in a way that makes your business more successful. Personally, I set my sights on creating a business based on a lending model that didn’t exist at the time. Setting this goal kept me motivated and forced me to consider everything I needed to do to make it work, no matter how small.
- Make it a goal to give back in some way. This is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten – make it a goal to pledge 1% of your profit to a good cause. It’s also a good idea to allow your staff volunteer time to do something they’re passionate about.
- Look to learn from mentors or successful people. Personally, the likes of Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs and even Michael Jordan are a great example of goal setting, motivation and achieving. I tend to lean towards anyone who’s experienced adversity, as they can usually offer great insight into how to overcome obstacles in order to succeed.
When your goals don’t go to plan
It can be disheartening when your progress towards your goals end up getting derailed, but that’s business. Being hit with curveballs along the journey is common, and often result in not being able to do something you set out to achieve in the timeframe you may have set yourself. However, failure can be the proverbial cloud leading to a silver lining that builds you up for business success. This is a topic in itself that we’ll cover soon, but remember that failure is ultimately important in business success.
About the Australian Business Credit blog series
I often describe myself as the ‘youngest old man’ of the finance industry, and after spending a majority of my professional life building successful businesses from the ground up, it seems fitting to share my experience and expertise in order to help others. Between being at Aussie Home Loans for a decade and my endeavours here at the Australian Business Credit, my experience has been a melting pot of challenges, successes and personal growth. I believe the skills and experience I’ve gained throughout my professional journey can be translated to any industry, so I’ve put together this blog series to divulge key successful business elements and frame my experience in a way that allows others to garner useful advice to aid them in their business journey and hit their goals – including wins, losses, strategies and everything in between.Surinder Agnihotri – Founder and General Manager Sales and Distribution
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