Should You Have a Goal for Your Small Business
I was at the Iconic Conference in Los Angeles this last September and had the opportunity to meet a really interesting entrepreneur from Vancouver. It was a one-day conference, and we initially met during the morning networking session. Coincidentally we kept running into each other which allowed us several opportunities to get to know each other better and talk about various breakout sessions and what we thought of the speakers or topics. On one occasion I asked if he was heading back to Vancouver as soon as the conference ended, or if he had other business in the L.A. area. He told me that he set aside the following day to go to the beach and put together some goals for himself and his business. Interestingly enough he confessed that despite having a successful business he had never really put much thought in having goals for his business. This was his opportunity to improve upon his goal setting and achieving.
This experience got me thinking, as I personally am not one to write down my goals. In fact, I tend to violate many principles of success in having a definite purpose. And I know several people that I personally consider to be very successful in business who find it difficult to set and achieve goals. It’s not that these people are flakes or can’t follow through with commitment, but they tend to not be goal oriented individuals. Why? And does it matter?
What is a Goal Anyway?
I’ve heard various definitions of what a goal is. I’ve been told that it’s not a goal if it’s not written down. If you can’t measure it then it isn’t a goal. You have to have a definite time frame for completion with a specific date for it to be a goal. You have to stick your goal on your mirror and repeat it twice daily. These are just a few of the more common ideologies of a goal, and I’m not suggesting that any of these are bad. But I would like to suggest that a goal is nothing more than a clear objective of what you want to accomplish. The challenge is this. Many people don’t actually have a clear vision of what they want, and I personally don’t think that is problematic.
It is the Journey, not the Destination
Do we have to have a clear destination in order to enjoy the journey? Is it possible to go nowhere, learn a lot in the process, and love every minute of it? How many of us took music lessons as a child and never became professional musicians? Most of the time we will fall short of our goals. Of all the people who win a gold medal there are hundreds, if not thousands, who tried but didn’t actually win gold. Yet, I would state that everyone who tries is better for it.
What Direction Is Your Business Going?
I think that in business we often times focus on our goals only to lose site of the direction we are heading. Unfortunately I counsel too many business owners who want nothing more than to be rid of their businesses. Many of these business owners have consistently achieved their goals, but their goals have taken them in the wrong direction. Don’t lose sight of where you’re headed. It is much more important to plan a direction than to plan a goal. Direction gives flexibility for change. It might not be the quickest approach to business, but when you focus on going in the right direction you are much more likely to get where you actually want to be.
Do You Focus More On Direction Or Goals?
How do you run your business? Are you goal oriented or more direction focused? Please share your thoughts and feedback.