Setting Work-at-Home or Other Small Business Goals

An unknown author once said that, “In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.”  And boy is it ever true, especially if you work from home each and every day where it’s far too easy to get distracted from the job at hand and do something other than what you should be doing.  Yard work or laundry anyone? 

Let’s be honest here.  One of the major upsides of owning your own home-based or other small business or franchise is that you’re your own boss.  You set your own hours and you have no commute.  You’ve got the freedom to spend your day getting the job done at your own pace, without someone hovering over you.  The only trouble is that same freedom can easily become your downfall, especially if you’re a one-person shop and you need to stay self-motivated day after day, year after year in order to remain profitable.  That’s not always easy.

Fortunately, the simple exercise of setting specific, attainable and measureable goals can keep you going and actually provide you with a source of inspiration when the going gets tough.  Goals can be short-, medium- or long-term, depending on what it is you’re trying to achieve.  They can be service-oriented, profit-driven or all about growth. 

The best way to clarify what your business goals are is to write them down in the context of a business plan.  The plan should state your goals, delineate the objectives it will take to meet those goals and then set reasonable timelines to meet each objective until the final goal is reached.

Any goals that you set should be clearly stated and as specific and descriptive as possible.  “I want to be rich!” is a nice goal to have, for sure.  “I want to earn $25,000 this month and every month thereafter this calendar year,” is much more effective.  It more clearly paves the way for you to set concrete and measureable objectives that will allow you to meet your goal one dollar at a time, where the first statement is just too vague.

Of course, one of the keys to setting goals that will actually motivate you is that they have to be realistic.  Is earning $25,000 per month this year even possible given your history in business or the nature of your product or service?  As nice as it is to dream, you won’t be motivated to tackle something you know you don’t have a prayer of achieving so be honest with yourself.

Creating realistic goals that will inspire you means choosing them carefully.  Make them too challenging and you’re more likely to give up before you even get started.  Make them too easy and you run the risk of that yard work and laundry looking way too interesting!

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