In one of my previous articles – Your Business Vision  I talked to you about developing a very personal vision and strong “reason why” for your business, and I sincerely hope you took the time out to properly consider that for yourself and get clear on your destination.

Today, I want to help you to cement that vision into an actionable framework that you can work towards. And I’m sure it won’t come as any surprise to you to hear that I firmly believe that setting absolute goals is the way to do that.

So, I’m going to share with you my essential ingredients for setting effective goals, and I encourage you to apply them to your vision, so that you have something concrete to work towards.

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The SMARTIE ingredients for effective goals:

1. Your Goal needs to be very SPECIFIC. An example outside of business might be around weight loss. “I want to be thin” is not a goal as it is too vague and is not specific enough. A better way of stating it would be that you want to be a certain weight. In business, you might be saying ‘I want to be working with XX number of clients who pay me YY per hour’.

2. It also needs to be MEASURABLE. You need to be able to measure your progress towards your end goal and it needs to be quantifiable. It is no good saying something like, ‘I want to have lots of clients’ as that is not specific but also how do you measure it. Taking the previous example ‘I want to be working with 10 clients twice a month over a period of 6 months’ that is both specific and measurable. You can measure exactly how you are doing against it and you can also measure your progress towards it as you add more clients in.

3. It needs to be ACHIEVABLE. There is absolutely no point in setting yourself up for failure. The other side of this is don’t go too easy on yourself. You want to be stretching yourself a little bit but it does need to be achievable. If you are living on credit cards today, it is no good saying ‘I want to be a multimillionaire in 2 months’ time’ the likelihood of that happening is remote to say the least. Oh sure, you might get lucky and win the lottery but you are not going to achieve that in such a short period of time in your business and if you set yourself up for failure then where is your motivation going to be. It just won’t work so it needs to be achievable for you.

4. Your goal needs to be REWARD based. This relates back to your reasons why and your vision for your business in what you want it to do for you. How would you reward yourself when you achieve it? What feeling will you get? Rewards don’t necessarily need to be ‘I will buy myself my new car’ your reward could be that you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have changed the lives of 10 people in the last 6 months, that is a big reward. This is a big factor for your motivation.

5. It needs TIMESCALES. ‘Some day my boat will come in’ will not do it. You need to set timescales so that you have got something to work towards, I really like to set goals for different timescales, so I have a 5 year goal, 3 year goal, 12 month goal and I have a 6 month goal and they are all in line with each other so they all build one on top of the other. It gives me a specific timescale to work towards. Again this will help with your motivation and make sure you get there.

6. This is something that is very often missed out of these kinds of anagrams but I feel that, especially in our type of business, you have got to be INSPIRED. If your goal doesn’t inspire you, you will not do what you need to do to achieve it. If you createt your vision and then set it out in a goal like this and you read it back to yourself and it doesn’t move you in some way when you have just written it, it is not going to work for you 6 months down the line, you have got to be inspired by your goal.

7. Finally, and this is one that I am really keen on. Your goal needs to be EMPOWERING. It needs to empower you in its achievement so that you feel a lot better about yourself, but also you could read the word ‘empowerment’ to be responsible. So your goal needs to depend on you doing the action, not on anyone else. ‘I will build my business if my husband lets me’ does not empower you, it disempowers you. You need to take responsibility for making it happen.

There you have them, my essential ingredients for effective goals and if you can set out your vision in a goal that matches these criteria then you have taken the first very big step into turning your dream business into your real business.