Did you reach your goals in 2009?

I hope you hit all of your goals for the year in your small business…if you did, congratulations! If not, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I can tell you honestly that there are a number of things I want to achieve this year that just didn’t happen.

I’m reevaluating and planning now for 2010 and you should be too.

The problem I see a lot of people make is that the goals they set are never defined well enough to really know if they’ve reached them. It’s like running a race without a finish line.

You’re setup from the start to fail, because you don’t know what success looks like. Clarity makes goals measurable…without measurement there is no finish line.

But how do you get to clarity…

Frankly, nothing’s more intimidating than staring at the blank page as you try to write out your goals. I’m convinced that this is why only 5% of people set written goals. Thinking through and describing what success looks like is hard work.

That’s why I was so excited to sit through a talk by Bill Liccione a few weeks ago. Bill’s talk was on incentive compensation, which revolves around setting goals and rewarding the achievement of measurable goals.

Bill shared two simple questions you can use to produce measurable goals:

  1. Can I tell the difference between a good outcome (met the goal) and a bad outcome (didn’t meet the goal)?
  2. How?

By writing out the answer to “how” you can make any goal measurable (not numbers required). You end up describing what reality looks like after you’ve achieved the goal.

If you really want to get powerful results, create a range of acceptable outcomes. Let’s say for example that you want to increase your sales by 10%. Well it’s almost impossible to increase sales by exactly 10%. You’re likely to by somewhere above or below 10%. So what range are you shooting for?

You can set your range by answering three questions:

  1. What does it mean to exceed the goal? In our example, maybe a sales increase of 12%.
  2. What does it mean to meet the goal? Let’s use our 10% increase.
  3. What does it mean to not meet the goal? Anything below a 9% increase. This is the “anything below is unacceptable performance” number.

Try this framework for your 2010 goal setting…I hope it helps you make 2010 your best year in business!