It’s time to refocus on your business and where you’re going! Below we put together a Spring Forward action plan for business owners to help them refocus on the success of their goals. Burst out of the first quarter into the second, full steam ahead.
And now for a bit of idiom overload:
Spring Cleaning: Reflect on the last 3 months.
First things first: a bit of tidying up after the chaos of the first few months of the year. Let’s polish some of the motivation that you had from the new year, shaking some of the dust off the backburner items that were lost to you in your day-to-day business, and clearing the cobwebs off what your focus items are for the second quarter.
Make it a point to ask yourself:
- “What were my goals for this first quarter?” If they were S.M.A.R.T. goals, and they should be (Don’t know what S.M.A.R.T. goals are? Click here!), did you meet your target? Did you hit a speed bump? Why?
- “What were my goals for the second quarter?” Are you on track? If not, how can you alter them to hit your mark?
- “What does the progress of my major year goals look like right now?” Once again: are you on track? Do you realize now that your goal may be less realistic than you first thought?
It’s common for the year to start off with a lot of high expectations and big dreams. Spring is time to bring some of these dreams closer to the ground. Refine the goals, making them more manageable and realistic. If you could get 3 things done before the 3rd quarter, what would they be?
Spring Into Action: Reestablish your goals.
Less than jazzed at the state of your goals and where you’re at? That could very well do with how those goals were laid out. Goal structure is a must!
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
We fall to the level of whatever goal structure is. Before we start working on a structure for reaching our goals, what makes a good goal? A goal must be S.M.A.R.T. If you’re well versed, you can skip ahead here.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that provides you with the criteria needed in the setting of goals to reach objectives. The letters stand for the following: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
S.M.A.R.T. goals force you to:
So, let’s say, instead of:
I want lunch.
The S.M.A.R.T. goal version would be:
Make a ham sandwich with vegetables for lunch by no later than 12:30 pm today.
The 5-4-3-2-1 Method: Structuring your Goals to Achieve Them
While S.M.A.R.T. goals may move you up that path to success, they won’t take you the whole journey. Because the future feels so abstract, it can be difficult to actually carry out your goals, especially on longer timelines. An awesome way to do this is with the 5-4-3-2-1 method of goal setting.
The 5-4-3-2-1 method means that we’re going to work in chunks of five years, four months, three weeks, two days, and one hour to set and work toward our goals. And here you thought we were just sticking to spring, eh? This strategy gives us tangible time limits that we can use to set expectations and make plans to take us from where we are now to where we’d like to be.
Start by choosing a 5-year goal. Where do you want to be in 5 years? Keep in mind that we overestimate what we can do in 1 year, but underestimate what we can do in 5. You can make several substantial life changes in 5 years. Think big and get creative. Your life has likely changed a lot in the last 5 years. Keep that in mind for perspective when you think about where you want to be in 5 more.
Now, write it down. Writing down and revisiting your goals is important. Make sure you write down each and every step of your 5-4-3-2-1 planning and put it somewhere that you won’t lose it and can come back to look at it frequently.
This is the first major milestone toward reaching your 5-year goal. Where do you want to be in 4 months that will put you closer to your long-term, 5-year goal?
It’s enough time to build 3 or 4 new habits if you build one new habit each month, which is a sustainable pace. Or maybe your goal doesn’t involve habits; then your first 4-month goal can mark the first step along the path toward your 5-year goal. Be sure to write it down.
Three weeks is a more digestible amount of time. It doesn’t feel quite so abstract. Your life 3 weeks from now will look fairly similar to your life today—except for the 3-week goal that you’re going to reach.
Try to make your 3-week goal take you about 20% of the way to your 4-month goal. It’s easy to want to bite off more than you can chew because this is new and exciting, but keep things down to earth and reasonable. Remember that you will ultimately be working toward your 5-year goal in 3-week chunks. If your first 3-week goal sets an unsustainable pace, you’re setting yourself up for burnout and failure.
Our brains work better with small goals. This method breaks a long-term goal down into things that you can start doing now. That way you can get moving. Just because you want to reach a goal 5 years from now does not mean that you can put it off for 4.5 years.
The “2 days” goal should be something that you can reasonably check off of your to-do list tomorrow night. Give yourself that motivating little dopamine rush that helps you continue on. It could be brainstorming about your business and determining what industry you’d like to be in or making that phone call that you’ve been putting off.
Depending on how you like to plan, this can be 1 day or 1 hour. Either way, the point is that this goal gets you started today. Ideally, it gets you started right now. The time has come to take action. Stop talking about how you want to go after those goals, and start going after them.
Set a goal for today. What are you going to do today to move closer to your 5-year goal? Even if it’s something that takes only 5 minutes, doing something is better than doing nothing.
Spring Forward: Take action! Do these things!
By now we should be feeling good and motivated. Focused on ourselves and our goals. But what about our business? If you feel like you’re in a fog while setting your businesses goals, here are some suggestions for your hitlist:
Update your Marketing
If you get the lion’s share of your business from word-of-mouth or networking, that’s awesome. But don’t sleep on other avenues for new business. If you haven’t given your website, social media, or email list any attention recently, you’re doing yourself a massive disservice.
Potential customers that could be added to your clientele are flying over your head to your competition. Developing a cohesive marketing strategy that combines the marketing power of your Rolodex, social platforms and website can bring you business with a third of the effort of other traditional marketing efforts.
Refresh your Brand
Do you feel that your brand is stale in comparison to your competitors? Do your competitors seem to do a better job at catering to your target market? Updating or refreshing your brand and how your business presents itself could be the trick to getting your edge back.
Your logo and brand are the face of your business and can set the pace for how a customer interacts with you and your employees. Be the company that stands out.
Update your technology
It’s already 2022, and a quarter into it at that. What are the conditions of the platforms that you use on a daily basis? Is your website slow and clunky? Is its security up to snuff? Have you been doing simple clerical work that could be easily automated, like credit card processing, manually?
Simple updates to your systems, CRMs (Client Relationship Manager), and websites can save you immense amounts of time in the long run. Automate anything that you can.
These are some simple business-related pieces to the larger puzzle of business success. All items that could lead to great goals for you and your business.
Do you need Help with your Branding, Website or Business Marketing?
Call us for a Free Consultation!
Spring Training: Prepare to iterate.
One of the most important and often overlooked steps in creating positive change in life is to evaluate how things are going. Now that you’ve done this for the start of your second quarter, make it a regular thing.
You could try a quarterly, monthly, or even weekly review. See which works better for you and stick with that one.
I start with a weekly reset. It helps me get clear and get focus on my week. I review my commitments, my goals, and where I’m going. It helps motivate me or pressure me to work towards that next step in my 5-4-3-2-1 plan.
As you go through the processes outlined above, take note of things that worked for you or otherwise. What really hit the nail on the head for you? What didn’t? What did we miss? Share in the comments below!
Spring Chicken: Don’t do it solo. Get accountable.
Having someone that can hold you to account is that secret sauce that pushes all this planning to the tipping point. When you have a person that you need to be accountable to, you are much more likely to stay on course and work harder on your goals.
With this being the case: I challenge you to Spring Chicken! Post one of your goals for the next quarter in the comments below. I’ve posted mine already! Next quarter we’re going to release a follow-up post to this one so we can both reflect on how we did and how we’re coming along. I challenge you to stay accountable!