Have you sat down and worked out where you want to be this time next year? Goal setting and creating your vision is one of those “must-do” steps when starting up or growing your business to the next level.
But did you know that the big vision alone just won’t work?
Vision boards, mission statements, your dream business … all fun ways of helping you think big. But leave it that and you will often be left confused and befuddled.
This particularly applies to coaches or those of you who have been coached.
A coaching relationship often starts with focusing on the end result. “Where do you see yourself this time next year?” or “If we were to meet again in 12 months, what successes would you like to tell me about?”
I’ve even used these questions myself with my own clients, as well as with myself.
The problem is that sticking with your big vision could end up leaving overwhelmed. Dreaming it big could very easily mean that your goal feels like a mountain to climb and when you try to get stuck in to your day-to-day routine, you don’t really know what you should be actually doing.
It’s exactly the situation Sarah has found herself in, who is joining me on the next GID Marketing Programme. And it was she who inspired this article today. Getting caught up in the big vision allows you to dream and think big … but when it comes to working out what you’ve got to do today, tomorrow and the next day – that’s when you find yourself drifting.
Breaking down that big vision is critical to ensuring you get on and take action.
Success was never built on wishful thinking, after all! And you know deep down that you can’t just “build it and he will come”. You have to take your big vision and break down so you know exactly what to take action on.
And here’s how to do it.
Your Big Vision Goal
First, start with your overall goal and mission. Where do you see your business being this time next year? Are you focusing on turnover, profit, the number of customers or something else?
By all means, have fun creating your vision board. Write out your mission statement. Create posters to hang up around your office or record yourself so you listen to your goal each and every morning. Whatever floats your boat and helps you stay motivated. There are lots of ways you can do this.
But make sure it is explicit and specific. Be clear, direct, keep it simple and quantify it.
Avoid this and you will end up with nothing more than a positive thought and great ideas. And ideas don’t make your business … it’s the implementation that does!
Your Project Goal (or Product Goal)
Once you have the long-term goal, you need to break it down into manageable projects. Projects then you can focus on for 2 to 4 months at a time.
Any longer than this and it’s real easy to lose motivation and get distracted. After all, a common characteristic of an entrepreneur like yourself is that you’ve got a short attention span.
Take your big vision goal and work backwards to where you are now. What key milestones need to happen for you know you are on the right track? What systems or tools need to have been put in place for you to achieve your plan? Who needs to be on your team?
It’s easier to work backwards than it is to start from you are. It’s less daunting and it’s also a useful check on how realistic your big vision is. Perhaps you need longer. Perhaps you could get there quicker!
Your Project Goals can also be easily defined around your products. It’s exactly what I do.
If you are service based business, the quicker you turn your services into tangible products the better. Move on from hourly sessions and day rates and think programmes, packages and defined group of offerings. Not only does this help with your marketing focus, it helps increase your average customer spend … which is always a good thing in my books.
I’m highly motivated by date based products such as live events. Setting a launch date or booking a venue is one sure-fire way to get me motivated! So if you need a real kick up the backsie, I highly recommend this strategy.
Thus many of my Project Goals are actually Product Goals. Each product is given a specific revenue target which all work towards my big vision goal.
Your Today Goals
From your Project or Product Goals, this brings you nicely to your Today Goals. Because you have now a medium term goal to focus on (2 to 4 months) it naturally becomes easier to break down the tasks needed to get this achieved.
Again, as with breaking down your Big Vision Goal, start with the end in mind and work backwards on what needs doing.
For example, if you are launching a new product you decide on when the programme will start. Working backwards from there, you map out what needs to happen the week before everyone starts working through the first module.
When do you need to get everyone confirmed by? What information needs sending out?
Working back again, what marketing are you going to do to get people’s interest? Are you going to be running a live webinar or teleconference to kick off your promotions? Are you going to be using printed media or get an article published in a magazine?
Each bit of marketing will need different timeframes to get working – print is going to need more time than a totally virtual online promotion. So again this all provides a useful reality on what can be achieved in the time you’ve set yourself (do you need to push back the launch date or bring it forward?)
As you get more and more detail written out – and by all means use mind maps to help you as this doesn’t need to be essay style! – you can start mapping out your timeline on what needs doing on which week.
Which eventually brings you to know what you need to do today, tomorrow and next week.
Your daily to-do list stops being a never end list of crappy jobs and starts to look like a real list of Today Goals, all designed to reach your Project Goals, which ultimately help you on your way to your Big Vision Goal.
It all feels like a lot of hard work!
If this feels rather daunting and rather a lot of work involved, then yes. There’s lots to be done. But I can promise you that time spent breaking up your Big Vision Goal into Project Goals and then into Today Goals is a hell of a lot more productive than fannying around on Facebook and saying positive mantras every day.
It’s why I highly recommend you stop trying to start up or grow your business and focus on your Big Vision Goal … and start focusing on core projects or products that are going to get you to where you want to go. It’s not so hard when you get the results that you want!