Setting Financial Targets (SME Owner & Solo Entrepreneur tips)
Many SME business owners and solo entrepreneurs have a lonely time when it comes to business decisions. We know successful business owners make quick decisions however, when it comes to setting the business objectives or longer term strategy for the year ahead, it can feel daunting.
Many don’t bother. They are happy to look for ‘an increase on last year’ or ‘to expand’ but without clearly defining what exactly that looks like. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it’s not easy to sit down alone and do it. But without clear goals, how do we know where we’ll end up?
Hard work does pay off. But will you end up with what you really want, if you don’t answer the question ‘What is it I really want’? How does that look in financial terms and will my business achieve those financial targets? How do you decide what you want for the longer term when unsure or if you have multiple interests or ways you could grow your business?
Take time out. What you do every day counts. Be realistic and consistent!
The first piece of advice is always take time out and write a list of everything you believe you’d like longer term. Use 5 years in this instance. If you could open your eyes five years from now, how would you like it to look? This includes business, health, family and much more.
Which item on the list excites you the most? What is more important than all the others? Can you order them by what you’d like first, second, third etc?
Then let’s work on the first item. How do you get started and ensure you achieve that goal in the shortest possible time frame you can imagine?
ACTION WILL DETERMINE ALL
When you’ve picked the number one goal on your list, the next step is to ensure you acknowledge HOW YOU ACT EVERY DAY will get you to that goal (or not, as the case may be).
We have a finite amount of time on this planet. How we choose to spend our days will decide ultimately what we achieve. If you want something and have a clear vision, you must ACT according to what you know must be done, to achieve that goal. For that reason many Instagram posts or inspirational thinking quotes annoy me at times. The universe responds to your actions. If you don’t agree, think about what you have in your life to date. Think about what you achieved and what you did to make that happen. If you’ve recently closed some new business (well done!), I could bet that you definitely acted on some idea you had, followed up and did what it took to get that business. It didn’t come about from inaction.
Therefore, focus on your actions each week and each day and ensure your working habits are in line with your goal and vision.
If you’re overwhelmed by how much you’d have to do in order to get to your goal, breaking it down into 3 months and 6 month targets is an easier way to approach it. I’ve mentioned the 12 Week Year book before, but this is a great help to anyone working without someone to bounce ideas off. Doing this work yourself in quiet time or taking time out of your business on a Friday afternoon for example, will give you the time you need to work ON your business. This allows you to deal with the overwhelm and you start feeling in control again. You know where you’re going, your head is clearer and the following week, you’ll be a lot more productive!
So often clients tell me things aren’t happening quick enough. We are all so impatient. We’ve decided what we want, but we want it now.
This can be great to push you forward, but I’ve seen the negative side of this also. Clients appear frustrated, they are so hard on themselves, they are beating themselves up for not achieving more in the year. This, in turn, hampers their daily activities and slows down their progress.
While focusing on goals and the future, it is important to be realistic about how things happen. Nothing happens overnight (mostly!). I wish it did. I’m back trying to regain fitness and I have to accept that this won’t happen as quickly as I’d like. Whatever we want, we reap what we sow. Nothing comes without work or commitment.
Having one good day of five being productive and focused, will not change your business. Consistency will have a huge impact. Changing behaviour is not easy. Getting outside your comfort zone is not easy either. Doing what you’ve always done, will get you what you’ve always got. So I’d encourage you to try something new and apply it consistently. I’d love to hear how the next 6 months go if you do.
Being aware that business challenges will impact the other areas of your life is also important. I love the phrase ‘Work Life Imbalance‘ I came across in the book mentioned above. When we choose to grow our business, we have to be willing to make sacrifices. Perhaps you’ll need support at home to allow you to work longer hours, or maybe you just need to prioritise what is really important and focus more throughout your day. Whatever it is, being realistic about what needs to be done and your timelines are good.
Watch your internal dialogue. Are you beating yourself up or inspired to take action this week? If you’re not as motivated as you’d like, perhaps your internal talk isn’t what it could be. We can be our own worst enemies. If you’re not used to watching your internal dialogue, start paying attention. Another way is to be aware of what you talk about with others in terms of your business. Are you complaining or giving out? If so, maybe a time out is needed.
Have a great week.
If you want more information on time management or goal setting or growing your business, check out here for more information.
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[21 January 2019]