For the first in a series of articles helping small business owners use personal development to drive their company forwards, Centre of Excellence founder Sara Lou-Ann Jones reveals the custom goals all young companies need to identify.
You’ve been taught that in order to accomplish great things, you’ve got to set goals and then follow through until they’re realised.
But there’s more: not just any old goal will do.
It can be easy to look at your competition, notice what they’ve achieved, and set identical goals.
However, the goals you set for yourself and for your business should be uniquely yours, and so steeped in your mission and vision that you find yourself encouraged by everything from research to final achievement.
Your goals should inspire pride. They should keep you focussed and wanting what they promise to provide. They can only do that when they’re written specifically for your business…for your dreams.
Don’t set your goals out in the cold
When you think of all the work you’ve put into creating a unique business for yourself – the visual branding, the USP, the branded language, the positioning – and then think of setting the same goals that other businesses are setting…well, that should make you feel short-changed.
Unique goals lead to unique results, and that’s what you need in order to set your business apart from the rest. How can you make that happen?
Here’s my advice for setting custom goals for your one-of-a-kind business:
Name your USP (unique selling proposition)
This is the thing that sets you apart from the rest. How can you spotlight that difference? How can you get people talking about how your business is unlike any other…in that specific aspect?
The language you use in your marketing is one way, but in order to get brilliant results, you’re going to need to get creative. Use what you know about your target market to set a goal that results in your loyal customers talking about what makes you different.
Talk to your ideal clients
Ask them about the pains they’re feeling and the gaps they’re experiencing. Take their idea of “perfect” and write business goals that will make it possible for you to help them feel that.
For instance, if they say there’s no one in your industry who provides real people to talk to when they’re in need of technical support, then calculate how much more revenue you’ll need to earn in order to hire a full-time customer service professional.
Know your numbers
How much production can you get from your current team, capital and revenue stream? And what’s the difference between that number and what you need to produce in order to reach the income level that will support the lifestyle of your dreams?
When you set production goals, they must be generated using specs from your business alone—not industry standards or financial guru speak. Sure, look to them for guidance, but always remember that your numbers are your numbers.
Customise your internet goals
“Everyone” says you need to increase website traffic, social media engagement, search engine results…but there are some problems with following this type of generic advice. Where are your ideal customers going for their information? And what, exactly, does the word “increase” mean?
Does welcoming ten more website visitors per month equate to reaching your goal? How will you know if that will get the results you need? Instead, think about your desired outcome and envision the number (and type) of people you’ll need in each channel, depending on what they use the channel for, what they do when they’re there, and more.
Remember your personal aspirations, too
Sometimes when we think of business goals, we only think about those goals that build our businesses – when we should be setting goals that make our personal aspirations reality. Maybe you want to take three vacations a year.
Maybe you want to be able to retire when you’re 60, or never miss one of your son’s soccer games. These aspirations will all take targeted planning and custom goal-setting to make sure that you have the resources and the coverage to be able to “have it all.”
How much money will you need, and when? Who would you want to take the wheel when you’re out? How do you see your role evolving as you come closer to achieving your dreams? These are the types of questions to ask yourself as you set goals that will result in the specific outcomes you desire.
When setting these custom goals, think about the connections you have that no one else does; the resourceful people who want you to succeed. Think about the exceptional gifts and talents you have. Use these unique facets of your business and your life to set goals that only you can achieve.
These custom goals are especially important when you find yourself in make-it-or-break-it situations. Before I established the Centre of Excellence, I found myself raising a baby on my own. I wanted to work from home, give him the best life possible, and buy my own house.
I set goals that were customised to my unique situation. That exclusive goal structure resulted in the building of a multi-million-pound business and the purchase of my own house with cash.
Had I set generic, diluted goals, I might still be teaching, struggling to make ends meet.
When you talk about setting goals for your unique business, remember that you don’t want to imitate the results of your competitors. You don’t even want to focus on improving upon their outcomes.
Those outcomes were their outcomes, and can’t possibly be suited to your business. Decide what benefits you want from your business, and what you’ll need to score those benefits. Then, and only then, write the custom goals that will get you to that one-of-kind, unique space that only your business can occupy.
Custom goal-setting is just one way business owners are improving the quality of their lives, and they’re doing it through e-learning in the Centre of Excellence. Browse more than 1,200 online certified courses to see what’s out there for you to learn. And then set the custom goals that put those new skills to work.
Sara Lou-Ann Jones is the founder and CEO of the Centre of Excellence, a leading e-learning platform which offers thousands of different courses in a huge range of subject areas, from business to wellbeing.
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