Tips for Small Business Owners on Setting and Keeping Personal and Business Goals that are Compatible
by Bruce Tannas
It’s probably safe to say that 2020 didn’t turn out the way anyone had planned for their business or life at the beginning of the year. However, the fact that this year may or may not have worked out the way we hoped or wanted isn’t an excuse to not reflect, adjust, and plan for the New Year. After all, Benjamin Franklin once said that ‘failing to plan was like planning to fail.’ So take the opportunity at the end of December or early in the New Year to take stock and look forward to 2021.
Janelle Stewart, a life coach from Hinton, Alberta, says that the key to setting and keeping goals is to “start by taking stock, then plan goals for going forward, and build your goals into habits to help you keep them as the year progresses.”
Some business owners remember to look at their business goals and operations plan but neglect to look at their personal goals. Remember you are not your business. You need to reflect on both your business and personal life and also consider where there is tension between them. Janelle recommends that you start by reflecting on “what worked and what didn’t” in your life and business.
She recommends “that you start by breaking down the all the aspects in your life including work, family, friends, vacation, recreation, etc. and take stock in each.” She suggests that you “rate your satisfaction level from 1 to 10 in each area as that will help to identify the areas that need attention.” Janelle also adds that a key business tip is that you “define who you are in the business.” For example, as a business owner you might want to see your business grow. But what does that mean for your life? If your life goals are to spend more time with family you’ll need to mesh the two somehow or re-evaluate your priorities going forward. So it’s important that you keep both your personal and business goals in mind as you develop goals in your life and your business.
Resolutions (aka setting goals):
Once you’ve reflected on where you have been it’s time to think about where you want to be – which means setting personal and business goals. Look at each aspect of your life and business and make some relevant goals. To make the process easier and more effective Janelle says you should “start on the areas that will make the most difference.” For example; a goal to start an exercise program could give you more energy to get your work done more efficiently so you can be home sooner to participate in family life. Sometimes small things can be very impactful so consider what might make the most difference and start there.
Janelle also believes that “priorities and goals that align with your values are most likely to be kept.” So the first step to keeping goals is to ensure that they truly align with our values. The next important step is “to make goals into habits” according to Janelle. She says that “if you can transform a goal into a daily habit” then you are more likely to succeed in reaching it. For example, if you want more customers then you can break it down into how many more potential customers you need to contact every day. Similarly, if you wanted to exercise more you could break that down into how many steps a day you needed to take. The key is to identify small consistent habits that will lead to achieving the larger goal and then scheduling it consistently into your routine.
The final tip that Janelle provides, to help keep your resolutions, is to have an accountability partner. In business that might mean joining a mastermind group or having a business coach. For personal goals it might mean having a person such as a friend, relative, or someone you trust help you out or engaging a life coach.
While the end of the year and the beginning of the New Year is often a good time to reflect, adjust, and plan it isn’t the only time. The important thing is to be strategic and intentional in your life and your business so anytime that it makes sense for you to reflect and take stock is a good time.
Be sure to check out further articles in our Small Business News blog for additional small business resources. In addition, Connect4Commerce has business to business service providers that can provide you with the small business help you need.