If you’re a new business owner, your goals might be modest to keep the lights on or make enough money to live on. There’s nothing wrong with these short-term aims, in fact, they can keep you focused through those tough early days. However, you need to have long-term ones as well. Without them, you risk always looking for the short-term solution to problems, which might address immediate issues while being detrimental in the long run. You need to set long-term goals even if they seem very far off to you now.
Define Your Terms
This is about looking three, five, ten, and even more years ahead. You need to set short and medium-term goals as well, but it can be useful to start with the long term because you can make sure that what you plan for shorter time periods feed into and support the long term.
Be Ambitious but Concrete
Don’t sell yourself short when looking to the future. If you want your small two-person business to be an empire in 30 years, go for it. It’s also perfectly fine to have more modest ambitions if those suit you better but be sure that you’re choosing them because they’re what you really want and not because you’re doubting yourself. Your goals need to be as concrete as possible so that can boost your productivity and so that you have something clear to aim for. This means they need to include a specific time frame and something measurable. Tou might say you want to be taking in X amount of profit by year 5.
Tie Goals to Specific Actions
Once you’ve named your goals, you need to identify the actions that will get you there. Let’s say that you want to make sure that five years in, you have the highest customer service ratings within your local service area or your industry. What makes customers happy? There are many different perks you can offer them, but the first thing that customers want is to receive the products or services they ordered within the time they were promised. This means your fleet manager needs dispatch software to make sure that drivers’ routes are efficient as they can be. There are a few things you need to keep in mind to choose the right dispatch software. Whatever your main goals are, figure out what you need to achieve them.
Review and Measure
Every few months or so, you need to review your goals and ask yourself a few questions about them. First, are they still meaningful to you? You might find yourself shifting your focus over time, and they might need revising. Second, have you met any of them? Third, are you still on track to meet them? If the answer to the third question is no, you may need to do one of two things. Sometimes, you haven’t consciously admitted to yourself that you’re no longer interested in achieving the goal, but your actions are speaking louder than your goals. Assess whether this is the case. If it’s not, figure out what you must do to get back on track.