What do you want to achieve?
Before you actually set up, decide what you want to achieve with your business. If you are already in business, review where you are going ? are you clear about this?
Why not take some time out to think about and write down your goals for your business?
Write it down
Research shows that only 3% of people write down their goals, and on average these people earn 10 times those who don't have goals. Plus research shows that people with up to date written goals are as much as 3100% more successful than people who do not have up to date written goals.
And make sure your business goals don't conflict with things you want to do personally. When you are thinking about your goals, think about and write down your personal goals too. And if you are a multi owner business you will obviously need to discuss your responses with your colleagues, and agree on a shared set of goals for the business.
Make sure that the goals you write are SMART. What does this mean? It stands for:
Apply these five measures to each of your goals.
What does it mean to you in reality?
Once you have written down your goal as a SMART goal, think about what the effects would be if you didn't achieve itl. What is the "pain" that you and those you love will experience if you don't achieve your goal, ie ill health, poverty, unhappiness etc. (Why do this? Because recognising this pain is an enormous motivating force that will help you to work even harder to make sure you don't fail!)
Then decide what you will gain when you succeed - ie wealth, health, happiness, a prosperous retirement etc. What will you see, hear and feel? And what else will your success allow you to achieve/do?
And finally write down the key things you will need in order to achieve your goal. For example, it could be new resources, contacts, skills, actions etc.
Repeat this process using a new sheet for every single goal you would like to achieve.
Next try and prioritise the goals you have written. Lay out all of your goals in front of you and decide which are the most important to you, which are less important and which (if any) are, on reflection, not important after all.
For each goal that is still important work out how you will achieve it, break it down in to smaller steps to make it easier to manage.
Plan in timescales to do each step, write them into your diary or planner. That way you make reaching your goals part of your daily activities.
Look at your where your time goes
Its worth having a look at how you spend your time at the moment, and comparing this to the way you would like your life to happen. Then you can fit your goals into this as well.
To do this, look at the personal goals you set out and list out the broad areas of your life that are important to you eg family, friends, business, health, fitness, money etc
Make a note of the percentage of your waking time that you would like to spend in each of these areas in an ideal world (make sure that the column adds up to 100%)
Estimate approximately the percentage of your waking time you think you are actually spending in each area at the moment, - just a rough and ready approximation here, don't waste time trying to get pinpoint accuracy? the aim is just to get a broad feel
Then calculate the gap between the two
Looking at the gaps does it suggest that you need to make changes in order to achieve your goals? If it does, what changes are you going to make?
Think carefully about everything you have just done and thought about. What are the implications for what you are doing in your business and your life - and what you should be doing?
Transfer the things you should be doing to an action planner. Keep this somewhere where you won't lose sight of it, so that you are reminded on a daily basis about what you want to achieve.
If you think it would help contact an advisor, mentor or coach to discuss what else you can do to achieve your goals. Sometimes it helps to go through the whole exercise with a third party, who can be more objective and help you to focus on the right things.
Review your action planner. Prioritise it. And start taking action!
And remember, however good your ideas and intentions are? they will come to absolutely nothing unless they are turned into action.
So focus on taking ACTION. And start taking it today.
Julia McDaid is a business coach and author, specialising in helping business start ups. . For more information on these issues or on coaching for new business owners, see http://www.startupright.co.uk or enrol on Julia's unique Start Up 101 ecourse, where you can go into each subject in a lot more depth.
Julia also publishes a free ezine 'Secrets of the Successful Entrepreneur' ? to sign up just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org