Stay afloat with goal setting

Kent RupertThis summer I decided to set a personal goal: to swim across Lake Okanagan. With a bit of encouragement, I decided that this year was the year to do it. This was a goal I have always had and talked about for a number of years. Six weeks out I started the training and while there were days that I just didn’t want to hit the pool or lake, I knew I had a goal to meet.

Many of us set goals in our lives whether it’s planning for a trip, new car or even a house. We are taught as children that we should always have goals and are encouraged to reach them throughout our lives.

How many businesses set goals? When a new business starts their operations there are many goals that are set to be successful and stay in business. But how many businesses set goals on a weekly, monthly or even yearly basis? In my years of working with businesses, the ones that continue to grow and be successful are the ones that have strong business plans and are continuously goal setting. Too often businesses, like individuals and families, get so caught up in the day-to-day activities of just keeping their heads above water that they forget about goal setting.

Goals are powerful as they can focus our attention on the outcomes we desire. The main desirable outcome and measure of success for most business would be profitability. Goals set around probability would include looking at your sales and possibly your accounts receivables. In some cases when businesses get in trouble the first area an accountant will look at is their receivables. No one likes to ask for money owed to them but these numbers are just as important as your overall total sales. So while setting sales goals be sure to set goals on how to collect those receivables. Other goals for businesses may include new products and services to expand the business, or maybe it’s how to get your business known better in the community through events and marketing.

Whatever the goals, just like in our personal lives, we need to continue to set them and reset them. As humans, we are naturally competitive, either with ourselves or with others. Setting goals gives us the energy and excitement to try to do better or try something new. Whether the goals we set are for business or provide motivation for ourselves, always be sure that they are SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely).

I’m happy to say that Ogopogo didn’t eat me, and I didn’t end up on the bottom of the lake with the fish. What I am proud to say is I reached the goal I set and had an amazing journey doing it. Sometimes setting goals will take you out of your comfort zone but as anyone who continuously does will tell you: it will create excitement and motivation for your business, and life, and will keep you moving forward and afloat.

Kent Rupert is a Team Leader with Airdrie Economic Development.

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