No doubt, when you told friends and family you were planning to launch your own business, several asked you, "What are your goals." It's a fair question. Your answer is more than likely related to how much you wanted to earn, how big you hoped to get, how much time you planned to spend working. Of course, achieving those goals meant having a business strategy. How do you get customers, what is your service offering, how do you keep clients coming back from year to year? You need a plan to make all this happen.
The problem - and I certainly know this from my own experience - is that you can easily get distracted from your goals. Even the small day-to-day distractions can keep you from focusing on your goals and sticking to the strategies necessary to achieve them.
Another danger is that someone makes a suggestion for your business that sounds great on paper but in the end only serves to get you off track from your original goals. If you get too far off the field from your original plan, your business may no longer be what you originally intended.
Woman climbing the ladder to success. This is not to say that changing direction is a bad thing. It may be the necessary thing to keep you competitive. But even when you change your direction or goals, you still need to stay focused.
How to Stay Focused on your Goals
Since staying focused on your goals is essential to success in business, how do you do that? How do you make sure you don't get sidetracked? After all, just hoping things will work out won't ensure they will, although being positive helps.
From my own experience, I believe the way to stay focused and make sure you meet your goals involves four key steps.
Be Clear about your Goals, near and long term
You may want to have a big-picture five year goal and then break that down to goals for the first year, years two-three, and so on. As you set your goals, think about the consequences of not achieving them. Understanding what will happen if you don't meet your goals is as important as setting them.
Achieving each of your goals involves a series of steps. Some steps will be more important than others. Prioritize which steps are essential to realizing your goals and which are helpful but not as critical.
Recognize what's Distracting you
It's easy to become distracted so take a look at what's getting in the way of staying on track. It may be that you need to plan your time differently. You might want to set aside certain hours in the day to take phone calls, check emails or meet with vendors so you won't be distracted.
It's also easy to put off a new business, for example, because you tell yourself you have no time during the day or week with so much on your plate to get out and network. You need to make time to get out and make new contacts.
Review your Progress
Periodically check-in and see where you are relative to meeting your goals. You may need to make changes.