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How to set smart goals and achieve your business targets

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How's it going with those resolutions? Have you taken any action? Are you happy with your progress? Or have you decided to wait till January next year to start afresh?

Don't be too hard on yourself. We often start the year off with these ambitious goals, but after a few weeks, we find ourselves back at square one... and most of the time we aren't even surprised. We knew it was coming.


Why most goals aren't achieved

Most goals get neglected because they are:

I. Too big- so we don't even know where to start.

II. Too far ahead- so they don't seem immediate. A little nap won't hurt, I'll do this tomorrow

III. Too vague- we aren't sure what to measure

IV. Out of touch- the motivational speaker forgot to tell us to start small even when you aim big

V. No one to hold us accountable- we leave that to ourselves... and who are we kidding?🙄

VI. We ignore the small wins- so it doesn't seem like we're making any progress


This can be solved by setting SMART goals. The following section breaks down the anatomy of a SMART goal.


Setting SMART goals

Just in case you missed the memo, SMART is an abbreviation for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realist, Time-bound. A SMART goal is one that includes each of those characteristics. Let's go into more detail about what each of these means.

• Specific

A great goal is one that explains in detail the desired outcomes that you intend to achieve. It is specific. Most self help gurus will tell you it's important to be very clear about what you want. The same applies here. So instead of setting a goal like I want to grow my business this year, try to break it down even further. Is this growth by location, revenue, workforce or product range? Please specify.

• Measurable

You should also set goals which can be measured and then purposely set out to increase that metric. A goal like "become famous" may sound good, but how will you know you're making progress towards that? Rather set a goal like "increase my social media following to 1 million followers". That is something you could even start measuring today.

• Achievable

While it is a wonderful thing to have ambition, it can also be a curse by making us not realize the little steps right in front of us. So when setting goals make sure they are achievable. Setting a target of making $100 million before the year ends could lead to frustration if you're broke right now. Start with a smaller achievable goal like earning $500 this month.  Even if you earn just $100, it's better because that's 20% of your overall goal achieved.

• Realistic

In some cases a goal may be achievable, but the question becomes whether you are positioned well enough to achieve it. A smart goal is one you can actively work towards based on your current situation, resources and station in life. This aspect of goal setting factors in your current constraints and limitations. Do you have the money, connections and resources to make that goal a reality? So be honest with yourself and keep your expectations realistic.

• Time-frame

The last element of a SMART goal is that it has a defined timeframe. This starts with figuring out how long it would take for you to accomplish the goal. This means that as we plan, we can also use the timeframe to foresee a path towards the goal as well as any constraints. For example, if you're still employed and your goal is to start a business within the next year. The one year time frame allows you to make more detailed forecasts. You can estimate savings, and even anticipate any obstacles within that period. More importantly, having a time limit gives you a sense of urgency since time is a limited resources.


Once you've set a smart goal, the next step is to actively work towards making that goal a reality.


Some tips to help you become more productive

1. Start now

Once you've outlined your big goals and determined what you want to do, ask yourself the simple question: "What can I do now/today/this week to work toward this goal?" There's nothing like a little momentum to get you going. It might fizzle out next week but when you restart in January, you won't be starting from zero. More importantly, when you start, you set into motion a chain of events to further propel you towards your goal. 

2. Set short term goals

Instead of simply focusing on the main prize, start with smaller short term goals. This can be a daily or weekly target. This is much easier to achieve, and when done consistently you'll chisel away at the bigger goal in no time. It's also less likely to overwhelm you. For example- I'm not really keen on promoting my own products, but here I am writing this post. Once I check that off my to-do list I'll definitely feel a lot better about myself even though the main goal remains distant.

3. Put in place a system and mechanisms to hold yourself accountable

One thing I've tried to do with all the people I've set out to do is encourage them to set goals. Most of the time there's always some resistance when I say _"would you like us to schedule time every week to discuss your goals?"_ I believe that's mainly because most of us know, the minute we set goals that they won't be achieved. We wish it could happen, but there's always a voice in the back of your head saying "who do you think you're fooling?" Plus we don't like someone on our backs asking us what we've achieved. Feels like back to school right? Yeah, I know... but at times it's what we need. Plus there's nothing wrong with failing. It's an opportunity to figure out what works and what doesn't. That puts you in a better position than someone on auto-pilot.

4. Measure your progress consistently

Once you've set your goals and started working towards them it's important to actively monitor them on a regular basis. I know it can be quite demotivating when you check your sales and realize they're still at zero after three days, but it helps you identify what's working and what's not. That way you can go back to the drawing board and revise your goals

5. Review and adjust your goals

Once you've achieved or failed to achieve your goals, it's important to ask yourself to review them as you go. If say your target was to sell 10 in a week, and you sold 60, then maybe you need to set higher goals, they are more challenging. If your target was 10 and you only got 1, then maybe your target was too ambitious and you need to revise it downwards.

6. Celebrate those little wins

I once read an article where this guy talked about spreading your bed each morning. While it may seem like a mundane task, it is the first little win or achievement of your day. So I recommend doing the same. Start with the easy stuff even in business. Achieve that and build momentum. Its wise if you write it down somewhere because that way, you can look back at how much you've achieved.


Commercial Break: Download my app now, will you   

Asaqè Business Pro flyer

When I did a revised version of the Asaqè app, one thing I added was the ability to set one primary goal upon which your organisation depends. You can then update your progress at your own chosen interval. You can download the Asaqè Business Pro App clicking the image below:

Download the Asaqè Business Pro android app


I figured if you've read this far then you deserve a story. So here goes...


Case study: My own story... Don't laugh

When I first launched the Asaqè android app, I actually thought I'd get 20 users within the first week. Seems easy right? 🤨 Well, not so... got about 8 or 9. Imagine?

So my targets were somewhat too ambitious. I had to revise them downwards after friends sent "Cool app👍" without downloading it. (I should start posting memes about fake friends shouldn't I? 🤔)

As humbling as that was, I had put in place systems to hold myself accountable, so I kept going even with a flat tyre. One of the mechanisms I implemented was to putting myself on the spot. I do a weekly report where I publicly share the progress I've made. That way I'm forced to keep pushing even when I don't feel like it.(Trust me... old me would have given up ages ago).

I've also had to revise my goals- and the more realistic they are, the more actionable they become. If I target, say, 10 users- I know I can simply go through my contact list then find a few people to force, guilt trip or emotionally blackmail into helping me meet those targets(What are friends for?🤷‍♂️). The point is that it's easier to identify 10 people as opposed to 100. More importantly it also pushes me to go out and talk to people.

All of this has helped me rethink my overall strategy and I've found myself reworking some things and that alone is a valuable experience. More importantly, it forces you to go out... and as you achieve your goals, no matter how small, you stay somewhat motivated to go even further. That's much better than having an unchecked checklist for 3 months. Imagine writing a To-do list today and not being able to cancel anything for weeks?


Thanks for reading. Hope you found this helpful. Wishing you all the best as you set out to conquer the world.


Love,


Likhwa 

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