5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Goals: A Guide for Small Business Owners and EntrepreneursSamantha Cordero
When I first started my business, one of my primary concerns was setting the right goals – was I setting goals that sounded smart? Was I setting goals that were actually relevant to what I wanted my business to look like? Was I setting goals that I actually knew how to accomplish?
It was an overwhelming feeling that, quite frankly, was filled with a bit of imposter syndrome and a fear of failure. Now, I embrace failing forward, strategic pivoting, and realistic goal setting that has helped me reach some pretty cool accomplishments, if I do say so myself.
Here’s a few of the goal-setting pitfalls I’ve learn to navigate around:
Lack of Clear and Specific Goals
You hear “be specific” a lot when it comes to goal setting – it might sound cliche but it is in no way overrated. Sometimes during monthly or quarterly strategy meetings, we end up saying “Soooo…we need to increase our client base”. But, we don’t let the conversation stop there. We follow up with “What does that mean, exactly?”. We aim to be as specific as possible about what the actual goal is (to increase by X clients, to increase revenue by X%, etc.).
Your goals are your roadmap that directs your priorities and focus. Without clarity and specificity, you’re essentially navigating your business through a foggy landscape – you may have a general sense of direction but lack the visibility needed to avoid veering off course or missing crucial turns.
There’s a lot of goal-setting methods like SMART Goals, the 5 C’s, and others that can help get hyper clear and specific on your goals.
Failure To Create An Action Plan
If a lack of clarity on your goals is like driving in the fog, then failing to create an action plan is like completely forgetting to put gas in the car. When we follow up our ideas with ‘What exactly does that mean?’, we then follow up with ‘How are we going to do this?’
Your action plan provides intentionality and structure to your goals that takes them from ideas to tangible, achievable targets. Your action plan should break down your goals into smaller, manageable tasks. From there, you should identify what all will be required to complete those tasks, assign responsibilities, set deadlines, and track your progress.
Procrastination and Lack of Time Management
Procrastination – while it may be a beloved friend of the creative and innovative, it is the arch-nemesis of procrastination. You can come up with some great ideas when you’re under the wire but your goal action plan shouldn’t suffer from postponed deadlines and missed opportunities. By delaying tasks, you lose momentum and motivation and risk shifting focus to totally new goals that may be irrelevant to your actual business vision.
Stay focused with time management strategies that work for you such as calendar time blocking, leveraging project management systems, or Eat The Frog. Personally, I like to use a combination of strategies – I identify weekly priorities in my calendar, I track my action plan and tasks in Monday.com, and I lean on my assistant to help remind me of important tasks and keep things on track.
To see more of what an assistant can do for you and your goal success, check out our Delegation Checklist.
Neglecting to Measure Progress and Adjust
If you’re not tracking your progress, then you’re driving without an ETA to your destination – you’ve got no idea if you’re stuck in traffic, if your exit is coming up earlier than you thought, or if you’ve completely passed your destination. You should be tracking your progress on your action items, your progress on your KPI’s, and celebrating the milestones as you achieve them!
But tracking your progress isn’t just about celebration – it also helps highlight when it might be time to pivot. Adjusting your goals isn’t a sign of failure. Actually, being too rigid with your goals can be just as detrimental as having no goals at all. Your adaptability and flexibility, when paired with thoughtful analysis and strategy, can be a powerful tool in reaching your destination.
To stay on top of goal progress, make sure you’ve got an effective way to visualize your metrics and task progress. Project management systems, like Monday.com, are an effective way to do this. Additionally, make sure you’re regularly scheduling time to actually review what you’re tracking. It’s helpful to block out time on your calendar for yourself or get meetings scheduled with your team ahead of time.
Fear of Delegating and Trusting the Team
Clinging to every task not only overburdens you but also stunts your team’s growth and hampers your progress toward your goals. By keeping all the tasks to yourself, you spread yourself thin which can compromise your focus and energy, lead to missed deadlines, and decrease the likelihood of meeting your goal metrics.
To avoid this sad-tale story, you need to prioritize and delegate. Identify what tasks from your goal action plan are high priority and which of those truly require your strategic expertise. From there, determine what tasks you can entrust your team with. If there’s a significant amount of tasks you don’t feel comfortable delegating then you need to reflect on why – is it because you’re struggling to effectively delegate or is it because your team truly lacks the skill and talent to complete these tasks? Read our blog ‘Why You’re Not Delegating Enough’ to dive further into this.
Harnessing the Power of Effective Goal Setting
As we’ve discussed, goal setting is more than just listing your ambitions; it’s a strategic process that requires clarity, planning, time management, progress tracking, and delegation. Each step is crucial in its own right, contributing to the overall success of your business.
Though, you shouldn’t overthink your goals like I did when I first started. Start with ideas and a vision that feel true to you. From there, you can keep these common mistakes in mind and set plans, track metrics, and delegate in ways that help you achieve what you want to in your business.
We’re not a Strategic Planning firm but I’d love to hear about what goals you have in mind for the next phase of your business. Reach out to me on LinkedIn or email me so we can connect!
P.S. If you want to learn more about what kind of agency we actually are, check us out here.