The business plan is slowly coming together and beginning to resemble something actionable – it’ll become even more clear when we set some clear goals. So, let’s do just that!

At first, this may begin to sound a little ‘self-helpy’ but stick with it, it’s all an integral part of the process. Firstly, we need to write down a ‘dream list’ (I know, I know), this should include everything you want to achieve in both business and your personal aspirations. Do you want to own ten stores? Get it on there? Do you want to learn how to slam dunk a basketball in your 50’s…get it on the list. Now, not everything on this dream list is going to convert into goals – perhaps you won’t be slam dunking just yet.

Take a look at your list and consider how you can convert these aspirations into goals, goals differ as they should be demonstrable in that they are target driven. They should also be realistic and most importantly, they need to be time sensitive. Without a deadline, the goals begin to stagnate and forgotten about. I have personal experience of this, as I’m sat here writing up this blog, I’m looking at a to-do list I have on a whiteboard, some of the tasks on the list have been there for weeks, months even. Why? There’s no set deadline and I keep putting them off. So, incorporating a ticking clock is vital.

Now, we have discussed value and self-assessed in previous iterations of the blog in the Business Plan series so we need to tie these elements in too. Ensure that whatever goals you set out are in line with your values and not counterproductive. Similarly, we’ve looked at our weaknesses, use them to set goals – address your weaknesses at this stage. Set goals to counter them.

We need a plan of action, action steps. How are we going to achieve our goals, what do we actually need to accomplish to make our goal a reality. Don’t worry so much about prioritising in the first instance, just get them down, once they’re set out we can look at putting them in order. If you prefer to work in a waterfall manner, that is you must complete one task before moving on to another, each task is reliant upon the last – then go for it prioritise in that way. Personally, I prefer a much more agile way of working – not necessarily completing tasks in chronological order, this leaves you open, if one task has stalled for whatever reason, you can begin to work on something else. Remember though, like the overall goal, each action plan needs to have some deadlines – it gives you something to aim for.

Who’s heard of eating a frog? Getting your biggest meanest task out of the way first, so whatever else you do won’t be as bad as that. Eat a frog for breakfast and whatever else you eat that day will not be as bad as the big old frog. This is great advice, if you can blow through the tasks you really don’t want to do first then everything else becomes a little more palatable down the road – you don’t want to be ticking off your action plan knowing that there’s a mean old frog waiting for you – if anything it’ll demotivate you and slow you down.

The road to success isn’t paved with gold, there will be obstacles; some you can plan ahead for, some pop-up unexpectedly (COVID?!). The important thing is to expect them, it’s not going to be plain sailing. Pre-plan as much as you can and leave room within your plan of action for potential obstacles along the way. Most importantly, do not get disheartened, keep at it, keep working, follow your plan of action – you’ll get there.

Avoiding getting disheartened and keeping motivated is important, so write down the benefit of achieving the goal – link it back to your ‘dream list’ (I’m sorry again, we’ll think of a better name). If things are looking bleak, you’ve hit a load of obstacles and you’re feeling de-motivated, remind yourself of why you’re doing this. It may be the little driving force you need to keep going.

We’ll be off next week eating turkey and Christmas puddings, but we’ll be back for the final instalment before the new year. Have a fantastic Christmas and have the rest you all deserve, unless you have young kids in which case, good luck.

Dream List

Goal Planning Sheet