So, you’re on board with the concept of setting goals, and the fact that doing so can have a significant impact on your vegan biz. And you may have even been getting your feet wet and putting pen to paper — great start! But now I have some bad news, and some good news. The bad news first? Not all planning is created equal, and there is a wrong way to go about it. The good news? I’m going to give you some tips to help you avoid common pitfalls that can make the goals you have set difficult to implement, as well as a guideline that will help you gauge the difference between “good goals” and “bad goals.” Let’s get started!
Choose to be inspired
The first piece of advice I have is, when you are picking your goals, avoid picking boring ones, or choosing things that just feel like big projects that need to get done. A good goal is one that will be truly impactful for your business. It is something that inspires you and allows you to look into the future, to where your business is going. When determining goals, sometimes people choose all tactical items, or very basic tasks they want to cross off their lists. The reasoning behind this is understandable…they set those items up as goals because they feel that if they do so those tasks will probably get done. But I caution you against approaching all your goals that way. It’s okay to have one or two tactical goals on your list, but if you have too many you will lose some of your inspiration. In addition, it will be harder to find motivation during the hard times if everything on your list feels like a blocking-and-tackling kind of exercise. So try to mix it up: if you have four goals, make sure that at least one of them is inspirational.
Keep your eye on the finish line
Beware of setting goals where it feels like there is no end in sight — this is the type of goal that feels like you’ll never accomplish it. To avoid these types of goals, make sure that the metrics you are looking to measure, as well as the timeline for the goal are tangible and realistic. Your goals should be items that can be completed and considered done in a specific timeframe, not unobtainable wishes or dreams.
It’s not uncommon in small businesses for personal projects or passions to get priority in times and places they shouldn’t. This happens when people focus on pet projects that are not really relevant to their current business plan, or what the business is known for. These projects may even conflict with the business brand. Be careful that you’re not taking personal projects and stuffing them into something that looks like a goal. If you do this, what will happen is you’ll start to take the business down a path that is not consistent with your initial vision.
For example, let’s say you are someone who loves technology – this is one of my pet passions! I love to digitize things and I love electronics. But because of that I have to be careful to make sure I’m not taking a project or process that shouldn’t be digitized and making that a priority in my business, just because I think it would be fun. I have to make sure that the things I’m dedicating time and resources to in my business truly make sense. Sometimes projects benefit from a touch of technology, and the expenditure of resources is worthwhile. But other times it’s more cost effective and advantageous to stick with something more old school. So, know where your weaknesses lie when it comes to pet passions, and be careful of this pitfall.
A Good Balance for Good Goals
Now that I’ve talked about some of the pitfalls you want to avoid, let’s go over what defines a REALLY GOOD set of goals. Here is a quick checklist that you can keep in mind when evaluating your goals, to see if you are on the right track.
You will know your goals are good ones if:
- They are specific, concrete and detailed so you know exactly what needs to get done.
- They are measurable — meaning you can track metrics of some kind to know where you’re at with them now, and moving forward.
- They are realistic and reasonable to accomplish in the time you have set for them.
- They are action-oriented, so you can picture HOW to do them.
- You can clearly explain how they will improve your business and move it forward.
- They make you want to jump out of bed in the morning and get to work!
And finally, know that a good set of goals is always balanced between internal and external influences, meaning that your goals should never be completely dependent on something else happening. Of course a certain amount of business success depends on the external world – things that are not totally in your control (your customers, the economy, etc), but it is also dependent on your own efforts, and those of your team. Your goals should reflect that. Sometimes when we are setting our goals, we imagine that everything on our path is going to work out perfectly, and that’s like counting on getting green lights all the way to the airport when you’re running late. You can’t run your business that way. You have to acknowledge that you’re going to get some green lights, and you’re going to get some red lights, and recognize the fact that you need to leave early to get to the airport on time.
Look at your most recent set of goals and compare them to our checklist of good goals above. How do they add up? Can you make any tweaks to strengthen them?