Throughout this series I have been talking about goal setting – why to do it, when to do it, and how to do it.
This week I want to talk about some of the differences between good goals and bad goals. I have mentioned “Smart Goals” in the past, and they are really the standard out there as far as goal setting, and I’m not here to challenge that because I really do think it’s a great approach. But what I want to do now is dig a little bit deeper. I want to talk about some of the pitfalls to avoid – things that can make the goals that you set for your business difficult to implement.
Avoiding the Pitfalls
The first thing is to avoid picking a boring goal, or something that just feels like a big project. A good goal is something that is truly impactful to your business. It is something that inspires you, and allows you to look toward where your business is going. When setting out goals, sometimes people choose tactical items, very basic things that need to get done in their business, and set that up as a goal because they feel like if they make it a goal it will probably get done. But be careful of approaching goals that way. It’s okay to have one or two tactical goals on your list, but if you have too many of those you will lose some of your inspiration. In addition, it will be harder to find motivation during the hard times if everything on your list feels like a blocking and tackling kind of exercise. So try to mix it up: if you have four goals, make sure that at least one of them is inspirational.
The next thing I want to warn you about is setting up goals where it feels like there is no end in sight. This is the type of goal that feels like you’ll never accomplish it. So make sure when you’re setting goals, whether it’s the metric that you’re looking at or the timeline you’re putting in place, that they are truly reasonable. You want your goals to be things that can be completed and considered done. They shouldn’t be unobtainable wishes or dreams – they have to be something that’s more tangible.
And finally, something that happens in a lot of small business – especially with solopreneurs – is that sometimes personal projects or passions get priority in times and places they shouldn’t. This happens when people focus on pet projects that are not really relevant to their current business plan, or what the business is known for. These projects may even conflict with the business brand. Be careful that you’re not taking personal projects and stuffing them into something that looks like a goal. If you do this, what will happen is you’ll start to take the business down a path that is not consistent with the business that you have built. Here’s an example: Let’s say you have someone who loves technology – a person like myself. I love to make things digital and I love electronics. But because of that I have to be careful to make sure I’m not taking a project or process that shouldn’t be digitized and making that a priority in my business. I have to make sure that the things we’re doing in the business make sense. Sometimes projects benefit from a touch of technology, and the expenditure of resources is worthwhile. But other times it’s more cost effective, or advantageous to stick with something more old school. So, know where your weaknesses lie when it comes to this point and be careful of this pitfall.
A Good Balance for Good Goals
A good set of goals always has a balance between internal influence and external influences. What I mean by that is the goals that you set can’t be 100% dependent on something else happening. Make sure there is a balance between your efforts and what you need externally (opportunities that need to be developed, your customers, etc). Sometimes when we dream too big, we dream that externally everything is going to work out perfectly for us – it’s like counting on getting green lights all the way to the airport because you’re running late. You can’t run your business that way. You have to know that you’re going to get some green lights, and you’re going to get some red lights. And that you need to leave early to get to the airport on time.
The Difference Between Good Goals and Bad Goals is part six of a series of articles that we are publishing on Setting Goals For Your Veg Business based on a Vegan Mainstream webinar, which you can watch for free here. Look for part seven next week!