Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Business Chat - SMART goals

Going over my Annual Review is always an interesting exercise. I’m very very good at making goals, and sometimes I’ve even good at meeting those goals. I, however, like most people have a habit of getting caught up in the exercise of making goals. Don’t get me wrong, goals are absolutely necessary for your crafty business to succeed, however it’s important that your goals and manageable and realistic.

There are several reasons why goals don’t work out most of the time. First, we tend to make goals based on nice numbers. We say things like “I want to double sales next year” or “I want to make $75,000” by this time next year.

The problem with that is that you're setting an arbitrary goal based on what you want rather than what makes sense with your crafty business. If you exhibited in 10 craft shows this year then to double your sales would mean doing 20 shows next year. Doubling your online sales means doubling or tripling your online marketing budget in terms of both time and money. Can you do that? Think about what is involved in the goals you set.

That's the trouble with nice numbers. They tend to make you not do the math or look at the consequences of what it will take to hit that number.
The other reason goals tend to not work out is because they're too fuzzy.

We say things like "I want to do X next year," but there's no accountability built into it.

We just want to believe that somehow, throughout the year, things will all work out. And when you're thinking like that, it gets very easy to put things off.

In January you’re thinking,” Oh, I want to double sales by doubling my craft show list and setting up an online store.”
In March life gets busy and you think that you’ll get to it when the busy period is over. In June you realize you’ve missed the deadline for any new Christmas shows and you don’t yet have any photos to set up your online store.

The summer flies by and the next thing you know it’s September and you’re still working on shooting your photos and now you’re super busy again.

The next thing you know December is here again and nothing new happened in your crafty venture even though you had great goals. And you’re sitting there making the same old goals yet again.

It’s a bit of a circle but there is a way out. Now. You need to set SMART goals.
S – specific
M – measurable
A – attainable
R – realistic
T - timely

S – specific. Name a number. Name a time and a place. Name a location. Name the people involved. Put down as many details as you can.

“I want to double my sales”. Wrong. “I want to increase my sales by 25% to $xxx by participating in X more craft shows in the summer season. The shows I want to do are…” Right.

M – measurable. Not just what’s going to happen in one years’ time, set quarterly or monthly checkpoint. You need concrete criteria for checking to see if you’re on schedule.
I will increase my sales next year. Wrong. I will apply to 3 new shows in February. I will build a booth and make inventory in the spring. In June, August and November I will participate in the shows. Right.

A – attainable. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them.
“I’m going to have my work showcased at the Oscars”, good goal if you are far into your career and have a well-established business. Bad goal if you’ve only made 3 pairs of earrings and don’t yet have an online presence or a PR agent. Good goal for 10 years in the future, maybe a better goal for this year would be to take some courses in design and skill building.

R – Realistic
To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. Only you can decide what you are willing to do. Don’t lie to yourself, if a goal means you must invest 70 hours a week or a serious amount of cash don’t use the goal if you can’t do it.

Sometimes a big goal is easier to reach than a small goal because a small goal exerts low motivational force. Give yourself something to work towards that is worth it.
T – timely

You need a timeline. The goal of “setting up an online store” is meaningless without a timeframe. The goal of “setting up an online store before Mothers Day, May 13 2012” is much better.

Your goals should be reviewed every quarter at least. When something doesn’t have to be done for a year then it will slide. When you have to get that something done by the end of a quarter, you have to pay attention to the work and hold yourself accountable. You actually have to figure out the steps and the moving pieces, because you need to get it done by the end of that quarter.

If you want something to be different in your crafty business, have to be willing to get specific about what that something means.

You have to be willing to write down what it takes to make it happen and when you’re going to get stuff done.

When you write down a goal immediately ask yourself what that goal looks like at the end of every three months in order to make it happen.

If you do this you have a goal, if not then all you have is a dream.

Go ahead, name your goals. And then write down the next step to reaching that goal. Share with us. We’ll hold you accountable.

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