I’m the first to encourage you to set goals and get your goals written down, but without a clear action plan, your goals are likely to remain incomplete.
A clear action plan is at the heart of consistently achieving your goals. When you have clear goals and a clear action plan you constantly move closer and closer to your ideal business
So let’s start off with goal setting.
Setting effective business goals
There is no one way to set yourself effective business goals. You really need to find a way that works for you, but I do want to share a few tips with you to help.
Keep your Goals Simple This in no way means small goals. I’m all for big goals. What I mean by this is make sure you clearly know what your goal is. Vague goals get vague results.
Write your goals down. I’m a firm believer that goals that are written down and focused on (not just written down never to be looked at again) get done.
Set SMART goals Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Realistic – Time-Based. For me specific and measurable are the most important. A good clear goal with a completion point is essential. If it’s not measurable, you never know when you’ve actually achieved your goal.
Break your big goals down into bite-sized goals. So many people get so overwhelmed with a big goal, that they don’t take any action to move closer to achieving the goal. Breaking the goal down into small chunks makes tackling the goal much, much easier.
If you struggle to set goals and achieve them. Check out my online Goal Setting for Business Success Course
Okay, so let’s get onto the Action plan.
A clear action plan to help you achieve your business goals
Take your goal and write it down at the top of a sheet of paper or do it in a word document.
Next, brainstorm using this question. “What action do I need to take to achieve this goal?”
Take the action plan through from start to finish.
A good example of this is writing a book.
This is a very basic action plan (the reality of writing a book is a little more detailed)
- Decide what you will write about
- Plan out the book in sections/chapters
- Write your author bio
- Write the back of the book blurb
- Write each section of the book
- Edit first draft…
Or a smaller goal of writing a blog post.
- Decide on topic
- Decide on title
- Write the post
- Add image
- Check SEO
- Add a category and tags
- Edit and reread
Now, this is a small goal, but I often talk to people who want to blog on a regular basis but put this off for weeks, months… Never get it done.
When you have an action plan with clear things you need to do, it takes away the overwhelm and each action can be done in a shorter time.
Of course, your action plan will depend on your own specific business goals.
One of my big goals for this year is to make my blog more profitable. I intend to be making £1,500 per month from the blog by the end of 2016. Now that’s not just going to happen by accident. I know to make that happen I need an action plan.
Read my Blog Goals and Action Plan for this month for a more specific idea of how I set goals and create an action plan.
What to do if you can’t see the big picture
I often get people saying to me that they can’t see the big picture and they don’t know what they will need to do to achieve their big goal. That’s okay. Here’s what to do.
Ask these two questions.
- What can I do this week to move me closer to achieving my goal?
- What can I do right now to move me closer to achieving my goal?
Seriously, these are powerful questions.
When you consistently ask these questions of yourself, you will find ways to achieve your goals.
I go into more detail about asking these questions in this post – Two questions to help you achieve your goals
Without an action plan
Without an action plan, you almost ask to fail and you leave yourself wide open to distractions and procrastination.
Now I’m the world’s worst for getting distracted. In fact, when I used to run a private nursery school (my first managerial job), my boss said “The reason I was so good at the job was that I got bored before the kids did.”
I have a head full of great ideas and used to find it difficult to complete things because I wasn’t focused and didn’t have clear goals or an action plan.
I’d move onto the next idea before I ever got around to completing anything. Now anyone in a successful business will tell you that’s not good business sense.
So for me, it’s effective goal setting and a clear action plan all the way.
So what about you. Do you struggle to achieve your goals? Do you have an action plan already in place? If not, are you going to follow my tips and give it a try?
I’d also love to hear your own tips for goal setting, creating an action plan and actually achieving your business goals.
If you’re unsure of where to put your attention, I encourage you to download the Simplicity Goal Setting pack – This pack will help you to get really clear about what is most important to you in life and business and then focus on those things. When you do this, you have the time and energy to really focus on what’s important.
11 thoughts on “Business goals are a waste of time without a clear action plan”
Excellent article Wendy. I am all for lists and have a daily to do list that I work through. Distraction is a big thing for me and even though I say I will do a blog post every week, it often slips away and a week turns into a month and it never gets done. I love the idea of breaking things down into small steps. I also find timers are really useful. I will often set a timer when I am researching. It helps me to remain focused and I know I have a certain amount of time to get it done. When my timer goes off, I know it’s time to start writing my first draft. If I need more research I compile it once my first draft is completed. Doing it this way, I actually get a lot more done.
I needed this post this morning!
That’s good to know Jenny. So what action are you going to be taking today?
That’s a great idea. Quite a lot of my clients like to use a timer to keep track of how they spend their time. Love your new picture by the way Amanda.
Thanks Wendy, this is a picture I really like too, it was taken during the summer last year, but I still love it.
I’m working on making all my goals more time specific. I love setting goals, but I rarely give myself a time period to get it done, so it makes it hard for me to accomplish them in a timely manner!
Your goals need actions. Each day I do something that helps me to reach my monthly goals. I tend to only have 6 or so goals for each, my blog and jewelry business. This way I am most likely to succeed.
Well done Latonya, you are definitely more likely to succeed this way.
I defintely think specific and measurable are key. I tend to set my goals for each month to keep myself focused.
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