During the season our to-do lists can get pretty overwhelming. It’s tough to find time to plan out your projects over the next few months with the mountain of tasks in front of you right now. It’s hard to believe, but Thanksgiving week is almost upon us. After you’ve had your fill of mingling with the family and gobbling down leftover turkey sandwiches, this a great time of year to set aside a few hours to do some simple strategic goalsetting for the upcoming season.
1. VISUALIZE LONG-TERM SUCCESS
Ask yourself: what do I want my business to look like 1 year from now? What about 10 years from now? Where do I want my business to take me 30 years from now? Success in business doesn’t come overnight, it often takes a lifetime of grinding towards milestone after milestone. It’s important to visualize what success means to you so you can start to break down your steps for getting there. Unless you know where you want your business to take you by the end of your career, it’s difficult to know which path you should take right now. Start by identifying your long-term goals, then we'll break down each goal into bite-size pieces. Let’s say, in 30 years, you hope to:
Retire from overseeing company operations
Have 100 employees on payroll
Operate 2nd company headquarters
2. CREATE SMALLER MILESTONES
For each of your goals, set up a simple matrix to outline the smaller milestones you’ll need to reach over time in order to achieve your final goal. Here’s a quick example I made in Excel to help you get started:
At this point, you're probably thinking, "these milestones are nice to know, but I still don't know how I'm going to go about reaching them."
Luckily, you and I are on the same page. Let's talk about implementing your plan.
3. IMPLEMENTATION: IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS
For this step, let's use my sample 30-year goalsetting matrix as an example.
In 5 years, I want to hire a business manager to help grow the business. In order to attract a talented business manager, I'll need to offer this person:
A competitive salary
Some basic benefits like healthcare, retirement plans and vacation days
Evidence of job security and a rewarding career path
Your challenge now is figuring out how to put yourself in a position to offer these things 5 years from now. What will you need?
Around $50,000 of wiggle room in your budget
Formalized Human Resources policies and procedures
Sustainable revenue growth and professional skill development opportunities
Now you have a roadmap to hiring your business manager. Some of these tasks will be quite challenging to accomplish, like creating annual revenue growth. But others can be knocked out with little effort, like outsourcing your HR functions.
REVIEW, RE-EVALUATE, RE-STRATEGIZE
If you’re reaching your goals year after year with no trouble, you need to set more ambitious goals. If you haven’t been able to reach a single goal, maybe it’s time to scale back your plans. Things change, new challenges emerge and new opportunities present themselves. It’s important to periodically adjust your goals so they’re always realistic and achievable.
No matter what challenges your business might run into next year, these three steps will help you make tough decisions on the spot when you don’t have time to explore all the options.
If your fancy automated uncapper breaks down halfway through a harvest or your business manager suddenly decides to switch careers, you’ll have a good idea whether or not your budget can take a 5-figure hit, and how much your long term goals might be set back.