How often do you pause in your business to reevaluate the progress you’ve made on your goals. Goal setting is about more than merely putting down some goals on paper and then working to try to meet those goals. You have to set your goals, map out your plan to reach those goals, create your vision, and then… six months later you have to rethink everything and see if you can set better goals.
At least once a day, someone asks the question “where do you see yourself in five years?”
Why is the five-year plan the only plan anyone ever seems to care about?
Once upon a time, employees looking to climb the corporate ladders might have gained an advantage from planning five years ahead…but today’s entrepreneurs need to think more short-term to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of business ownership. Think about how different the business world is today from how it was just five years ago? Blogging is now critical to small business success, multiple sales funnels, multiple revenue streams, social media versus ad campaigns, messenger marketing versus email marketing…it’s a completely different landscape. Five years ago, no one had a plan that successfully got them to where they are today.
What they did have were shorter plans and the ability to evaluate and adjust: learn new tools, build new systems, and acquire new skills. They made their SMART goals even SMARTER by Evaluating and Reevaluating them.
The five-year plan is all but obsolete. As such, you need to ask yourself a very different question:
“Where do you see yourself in six months?”
This is where your focus should be: the plan for the next six months. What systems can you implement in the next six months that will increase your sales and build your client base? What new tools can you learn that will keep you productive over the next six months and allow you to scale?
First, by setting a deadline of six months, you give yourself a chance to evaluate the progress you’ve made. Take note of what’s worked and what hasn’t. have you reached any of your goals? And if not, why? What can you do so that at your next evaluation, in another six months, you can say you’ve met those goals.
Too many small businesses start thinking about their five-year plan and where they want to be in five years, and then they get overwhelmed. Or worse, one misstep will knock them off their game, causing them to forget that they still have plenty of time to reach their goals. Five-year visions are fun and allow entrepreneurs to stretch their imaginations while goal setting. But to set better goals, you have to evaluate and reevaluate them more regularly. Skipping this step could result in wasted time and money invested in systems that don’t work and aren’t going to work because you’ve given yourself no way to learn something better.
Six months seems to be the perfect amount of time to stop and reevaluate your goals and your plan. It’s a long enough length of time to produce real analytics and data for you to evaluate and measure to be able to get an accurate picture of what’s working and what’s not working, but not so long that you risk wasting too much time, money, and energy on something before being able to make a change to your plans. Additionally, with as often as new tools and technology are constantly being introduced to the business world, pausing at the six month mark will be the perfect time for you to take a look at one of these new tools and see if they can help you streamline your strategy.
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