When you jump into owning your own business, time doesn't make sense anymore. When you're waiting on a check and your bank account is low, a few days feels like months. And then all of a sudden another quarter has passed, and you have no idea where those 90 days have gone! When time seems to move this fast, it's important to make sure you're on-track to grow your business, and it's easy to get lost in the weeds.
One thing that has changed the way I do business is implementing quarterly goals, and they're not just in my head - these babies are written down, shared with my co-workers, and even some strategic partners. We all know that goals are nothing without accountability, so I also set some incentives (outside of the fact that I need to accomplish things to keep my business) to keep me motivated.
There are many ways to write goals, but I've found the more specific I can be, the more accountable I become (and the more tied to achieving them I stay). S.M.A.R.T. goals are nothing new, but sometimes you just need a reminder:
S.M.A.R.T. goals are created to hold you and your team accountable, and allow you to define success clearly. For instance:
"I will increase marketing initiatives" is not a smart goal. It doesn't define anything, or tell us what needs to be accomplished, by when, to consider it a success.
You might re-write it like this: "I will write, publish, and share 6 blog posts featuring our product by September 30, 2016."
This goal is specific (how will you market? by blogging), measurable (6 blogs), attainable (you have to decide if it is or isn't), results oriented (posting the blogs is the result), and time-based (you will complete this by September 30).
At Filament, we create three business goals per person plus one or two personal goals each quarter. Although we didn't achieve all of them in Q2, and didn't get to enjoy our incentive (a train trip to Chicago), we are poised to grow and succeed in the third quarter. What do you think our incentive will be this time?!