goal setting for your small business

Today it’s all about goals – well, more precisely goal setting for your small business. It might be a few days since the bells welcomed the New Year, but the good thing is that goals are a bit different to resolutions. Resolutions generally kick in on 1st January and, for many, don’t last all that long. In more recent years, I’ve ditched resolutions. I tend to feel that resolutions are about taking something way. Maybe you want to eat less chocolate? Drink less alcohol? Do you see what I mean? The problem is that when you have a cube of Dairy Milk you can feel like a failure and that can knock you off course. Goals, well, to me, are different. Goals are what I like to focus on.

Goal setting for your small business

The good thing about goals is that they sit well in personal and professional life. It would feel a bit odd to have a resolution for your business, wouldn’t it? But a goal? That makes perfect sense.

The thing with goals is that there’s a bit of a knack to setting them. Well, maybe not a knack as such, but a way to increase your chances of success. Which is the whole reason we’re setting goals- to succeed in areas of our lives- isn’t t? So here are five tips on goal setting that I’ve gathered…

Goal setting for your small business…

Write it down. So flipping simple. But SO effective. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I have this crazy idea that I can remember everything. And I really, really cant. I can remember an impressive amount of things – not where my car keys are, or to order birthday cards on time: I can’t remember everything. And goals are something that get forgotten. But it’s not just for those who have a lot on their plate, there’s been a lot of research done that supports the theory that writing a goal down makes there a much greater chance you’ll achieve it. Simple, hey.

Be specific. If you want to grow your Instagram following – what’s the number you’re aiming at? Want to grow sales? By how much? Want to stock new brands in your tack shop? Which ones? See what I mean? If you have a specific goal, you can measure your success against it. Don’t use it as a thing to beat yourself around the head with. If you say, for example ‘grow my Facebook page’ and you grow it by one, you’ve technically achieved your goal, haven’t you? But I would imagine that’s not quite what you were thinking… so how do you know you’ve achieved what you wanted to achieve if you don’t know what it is?

Break it down. Have achievable steps. Set big, brave goals- by all means – but then break it down into small steps with mini goals, and create the plan around it. So if you want to make HUGE sales as part of a three year plan, break it down into yearly, monthly, weekly if you like, and they create a plan to get there.

Put a time limit in there. Connected to being specific, you want to also add a time in there. If you have a goal to do something by some undefined point in the future, you might find that your goal never really comes true.

Accept that you might not know how to get to your end goal. But you do know how to take the first step. I know this is hardly the SMART goal setting method, but this bit is really, really important. I do love a grand plan, but grand plans are kind of pointless if you don’t actually get on with them at some point. Even if you feel overwhelmed by the goal you’ve set, just start. Do something small. You know how to get this started. Want to improve your videos on social media? Watch a YouTube video about it. Want to grow your mailing list? Google it to get some top tips from the professionals. And that, my friend, that potentially small, simple action, will help propel you forward to achieving what you want to.

I really hope that’s inspired you to give goal setting for your small business a go – I promise you it’s not difficult and it can be really, really effective.

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New Year's Resolutions for your equestrian businessDo you set New Year’s Resolutions for yourself? Do you set New Year’s Resolutions for your equestrian business? See, I’m not 100% sold on New Year’s Resolutions. The idea is good. You’re looking to improve yourself in one way or another, leaving the bad bits in the previous year. And I get that. But if you slip up, you can quickly feel deflated. And then you throw in the towel. And then you realise it’s the 2nd January. And you reach for the chocolate and the Prosecco. Am I right? Now, let’s reframe this. What if you switched your New Year’s Resolutions into goals. Would that help? Let me explain my thinking on this…

What’s a New Year’s Resolution and can you set New Year’s Resolutions for your equestrian business?

A New Year’s Resolution is something that usually says you’ll stop or do more of something. Maybe you want to stop eating so much chocolate? Go on a diet? Stop drinking? A lot of people’s New Year’s Resolutions can feel a little negative and a little lacking. So no more chocolate. Less food. No fizz. Yay. All the fun of Christmas and now nothing. Now, I’m not saying you should continue to eat your body weight in chocolate each day, but reframing might help. And one way to reframe would be to goal set. And this could work very well for your equestrian business too…

What’s goal setting?

I recently wrote an article about goal setting for rural and equestrian businesses for NFU’s Countryside Magazine… because as the year draws to a close, it’s a subject that keeps coming up. In truth, we should be regularly goal setting to help keep us on track. A mixture of long term and short term goals, and a plan to help us achieve them, makes it a lot more likely that we will get there (there have been various studies that prove this, have a Google). Another thing I personally like about goal setting is that you’re often looking to add and improve rather than take away. So, thinking of people, maybe a goal would be to get fitter. Thinking of an equestrian business, maybe it’s to launch a new website. But this is not where goal setting ends. Oh no.

So how do you goal set?

People have a lot of different ways of setting goals. Some have whiteboards, some planners, some notebooks… what is a universally acknowledged ‘thing’ is that writing your goals down matters. A lot. But there’s more to it than that. Again, there are a few ways to goal set but I’m going to talk about the SMART way… because it’s simple and makes a whole lot of sense. And it applies to businesses and individuals, as I hope to show in the examples below. So… ready to get SMART?

S stands for Specific. 

So if you say you want to get fitter, be specific. You want to be able to jog 5km or you want to swim a mile, for example. With your equestrian business, if you’re looking to create a new website, that’s quite specific, but if you want to increase turnover, put in a number.

M is for Measurable. 

I think this links well to being specific. If you say you want to increase your turnover by X, you will be able to measure your success against this specific number. Equally, if you want to be able to jog 5km, you’ll know how close you are and can measure your progress because you have that number in mind.

A is for Achievable

Setting goals that are not achievable this round will just leave you feeling really deflated. If you want to increase your turnover by 600%, but you usually increase by 10%, this is going to be one hell of an ask. If you decide you’d like to start jogging, aiming at a marathon is a big ask on the first round… it could be a longer term goal, but short term it could leave you feeling pretty ‘meh’ about things.

R is for Realistic

This can be realistic in many ways. Everyone has pressures and must-dos. If you have children or horses, for example, your time is not always your own, so whereas you might like to train for your 5km goal every day, the chances are that that might not be realistic. And this will leave you feeling horribly deflated too. Same as for your equestrian business. Realistic doesn’t mean you’re not reaching for the stars. It means you’re looking at your available resources and setting achievable goals based on these. This will mean there’s a much greater chance of success too, which will spur you on for more success.

T is for Timely

Have an end date in mind… and this is where long and short terms goals can come in. You might want to be able to jog 5km in three months (let’s say), and from here you can work out your training programme in order to do this. You can measure your success against your mini goals inside your big goal and you know what you’re aiming at. And this means you have a proper goal. Saying you want to jog 5km in one go is a great goal, but what will keep you focussed if you don’t say when you want to do this by? The same with your equestrian business. Say you want to get your new website up and running in six months time, then you can plan what you need to do in each of the months leading up to this, which makes the chance of the new project being delivered on deadline much more likely. The same with your turnover. Maybe you want to increase by x in six months? So you can work out how much extra revenue you need to generate a day/week/month in order to achieve this.

*I should add that some of these letters and their meaning differs depending on which SMART goal setting idea you look at. Sometimes you’ll see R standing for relevant, for example. Just pick which works for you!*

So should you abandon New Year’s Resolutions in favour of goals?

I’m going to say yes. I know, controversial. Let’s be honest, you can do EXACTLY WHAT YOU LIKE, it’s your life. If a New Year’s Resolution works for you as a person and your business, then go for it. If not, maybe give goal setting a go? The other great thing about goal setting is it’s never too late or early to start. New Year’s Resolutions seem somewhat tied to the 1st January… and if/when these don’t go well, you have until next January to wait, which feels like a lot of wasted days to me?

Stationery bundleToday I’m giving away a stationery bundle. I LOVE stationery and am always delighted when I have got some new pieces to add to my collection. I have a few vices… and stationery is one. This bundle actually comes from Sainsbury’s, because I LOVE their stationery.

Why am I giving away a Stationery Bundle?

If you follow me on social media, you’ll have seen that many of my flat lays contain notebooks and pens in various colours. But the thing is, I know it’s not just me with this *slight* addiction. And more than that, this is a useful vice. I mean, where are you going to put your to-do lists and your plans for global domination if you don’t have some good stationery? This set is quite vibrant, but all focuses around the fabric coloured notebook with ‘You’ve Got This’ written on it. Because you have.

Why do I like the Stationery Bundle?

This bundle is made up of a lovely fabric covered notebook, a beautiful printed journal, and a rather fun box of sticky notes. All office essentials in my world. I really like all of them and can see a use for them all. While I most definitely love paper and pens and folders and binders in all colours and sizes, everything I buy has to be practical too. Because I really don’t have the space for ornaments. Well, unless they’re meant to be ornaments, that’s fine… but stationery should be used and enjoyed. Because then you can legitimately buy more.

Would you like to win a Stationery Bundle?

Of course you would! It’s really easy to enter, just like all the other advent calendar competition giveaways, just  pop on over to my Rhea Freeman PR Facebook page, watch the video that will be pinned to the top today and enter. That’s it! Of course, I’d love it if you’d tell your friends by sharing the post.

I hope you enjoy my advent calendar competition – best of luck!