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It is a scientific fact that repetition helps to reinforce things in our minds, in turn influencing our habits and actions. So imagine what you could achieve by regularly writing down your goals and having them to hand as you go about your workday. By constantly having to write out your goals and having them in front of you every day you will start to affirm, and truly believe in them because they will become embedded into your subconsciousness. But in order for goals to work, you need to set the right ones.

So how do you set goals that you can successfully achieve:

1. Having the right mindset

Successful goal planning starts with the right mindset. For you to achieve your goals and grow your business you need to identify and set the right goals. This means having goals that make sense for you and your business and not those that you think you should have because of what other’s are doing or saying you should do to be successful. Remember everyone’s journey is different, what works someone else may not work for you. The right mindset means being clear on the vision you have for your business and being willing to do the work you have to put in to make that happen.

2. Being clear on your ultimate vision

The vision you have for your business is that one overarching goal, the reason you are doing what you do. And it is working towards achieving that vision that drives everything you do. The book The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan highlights the importance of focusing on one main goal to achieve success. And that one goal needs to be as specific as you can make it. Saying something like ‘I want a successful business’ is not enough get into the details of why kind of business, what success means to you i.e. I want to build an interior design business that attracts high-paying hospitality industry clients for long-term prestigious contracts. Can you see the difference?

3. Breaking down your main goal into achievable steps

When setting goals start with the end goal (that is the overarching goal we talked about in point. 2) and work your way back to the start of the process, identifying the things you need to do to get you to that end goal. This is known as reverse engineering. These steps turn your goals into smaller, more manageable goals that increase your chances of achieving them. To do this start by setting the long-term, mid-term, and short-term goals, for example, if my overall goal is to have a string of artisan crafted jewellery and accessory boutiques around the world I would set smaller goals along the lines of:
– Long-term – open another boutique In a different location/country. Timescale: 2years-3years
– Mid-term – open my first boutique by committing to a permanent space. Timescale: 1year-2years
– Short-term – run a few pop-up shops to test out my idea. Timescale: 9 months-1 year

As you can see this now makes it much easier to plan and focus my attention on what I need to do. If I went straight into focusing on getting a string of jewellery boutiques up and running I would become overwhelmed setting myself up for failure. By breaking down my goals I can start focusing on what I need to do and achieve in the short-term that will get me to my mid-goals, and eventually onto my long-term goals.

Moving through this process will depend on the type of goals you have set and the timeframes you have set to get you to each stage. But remember the process is constantly shifting because when you achieve your short-term goals they then come of your list and get replaced by those on your mid-term list, meaning you will need to set new long-term goals because those would have moved down to your mid-term list.

4. Having a framework to guide you

There are many ways to set goals. One of the popular methods is to follow the S. M. A. R. T. Goals framework. A set of actions you need to consider every time you set a goal.

S. M. A. R. T. stands for:

S – SPECIFIC – Forget generic goals and get right into the detail of why you are setting the goal.

M – MEASURABLE – How will you know when you have achieved your goal? What is the evidence you need to see, hear, feel or experience.

A – ACHIEVABLE – Is this a goal you can achieve with the existing skills, time, effort, and/or money you have to invest in it.

R – REALISTIC – Do you have good practical understanding of what it will take to achieve this goal, are you being honest with yourself, or are you pinning your hopes on guesses and fantasy.

T – TIMELY – How much time do you need to achieve the goal, or do you need to break it down further.

So going back to my jewellery and accessory boutique example, my short-term goal of having pop-ups will look something like this:

S – SPECIFIC – I want to run a series of small pop-up shops to test out the retail market and customer demand for my products, as well as get an idea of the investment capital I will need for a permanent shop.

M – MEASURABLE – I want to track the number of sales, who is buying, what are they buying, what location is popular, and the costs involved in running a shop.

A – ACHIEVABLE – I have experience of working as a manager in a fashion boutique so have the skills and inside knowledge of what it takes to run a shop. I have done my research and have managed to save enough to get me started with pop up fees. The suppliers I work with have agreed to lend me stock on a commission basis.

R – REALISTIC – Rent retail space in one of my desired locations comes at a premium, which takes me to my maximum budget, so am starting off in a more affordable area putting profits made towards the renting premium space.

T – TIMELY – I want to achieve testing out the market with pop-up spaces within a year.

The S. M. A. R. T. framework shows that I need to:
– Keep using my knowledge and expertise to direct my efforts
– Create a tracking system for the information I need to know
– Reinvest profits into the business
– Look for affordable retail space
– Plan my time and actions for the year

This means breaking my goal down further into smaller actionable goals that I can work on each month in my chosen timeframe.

5. Assigning actions to your goals

Every goal you set will have a list of actions you need to work through to achieve it. For example, finding affordable retail space for the first pop-up is a goal that I want achieve in the first month of my year-long schedule. So focusing on this I will create a plan of actionable steps that includes: deciding what kind of space I need, putting together a list of ideal locations, registering my details with pop up space agents, visiting premises and so forth.

6. Adding the actions to your work schedule

The actions you now have are the tasks for your workdays, and will be added to your daily / weekly / and monthly workflow plan. Having planner worksheets will help make the process more efficient. You may not have the time or resources to design your own Goal Planner worksheets, that’s ok, there are many templates to choose from. Etsy and Creative Market are two marketplaces that come to mind. But in your search remember that not all planners are equal. Decide what you need on your planner. Or If you want a planner that specifically helps you work towards your goals, then have a look at The Goal Achiever Planning Kit. A set of pre-designed printable and interactive worksheets in A4 and US Letter formats that give you everything you need to keep your goals front and centre of your workdays, focusing your mind on what matters, and boosting your productivity.

There is a saying ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. Knowing what you are working towards helps keep you focused on what you need to do in the present. Doing this will keep you on track to achieve your main goal because remember it is the little steps that make a big difference.

So now that you have your goal planners sorted its time to get super organised and start powering through those goals.

Here’s to your success!

– Tapiwa

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Successful goal planning for creative business owners
Successful goal planning for creative business owners

[Image credits: The images shown belongs to rawpixel via Pexels. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]

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