Whatever your goals are in business or life, it is important to have a route to success. Many people don’t have a plan or a strategy for how to succeed, or their goals are fuzzy and aren’t clearly defined. As a result they don’t make any progress or they may never attain the level of success they desire. This post outlines a template for 5 simple steps to help you succeed at anything you apply yourself to. As soon as you start using these steps, you gain clarity on your goals.
1 – Set a goal
It may sound basic, but you need to set a clear target or goal. The goal is the foundation for everything that follows, so if the goal isn’t defined then you’re setting yourself up to fail. When creating your goal, you need to consider:
- Is the goal worthwhile
- Will it provide benefit or value?
- Is it something tangible and how can it be measured?
- Make sure the goal is realistic and attainable
- If the goal is unrealistic or unattainable, you are again setting yourself up for failure
- Having a goal can be motivational if you see progress, but it can be de-motivating if it can’t be achieved
A goal can be anything such as improving customer service or increasing client retention, to reducing cart abandonment rate or improving overall sales. You can even have multiple goals. As soon as they are defined you begin to work towards them.
2 – Define variables and timescales
So now you’ve decided on your goal, you need to consider what to do to achieve it. The first step is to decide a realistic timescale. Is it a short-term or a long-term goal? Decide if there are mini-goals that need to be created to make up the final result, and what there timescales are. Often these mini-goals can act as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help you work out if you’re on track for reaching your goal within the timeframe you have set. The most important thing is to make sure is that the timescale is realistic.
3 – Create the strategy
So by this point you should have a clear goal with a good understanding of the work involved to help you attain it within the desired timeframe. Now you need to decide on the finer details of what is involved to implement this. For example, your goal might be to get 1,000 more followers on Twitter, and you have a mini-goal of attracting roughly 100 new followers per month over 10 months. This is the fun part where you decide what strategies you are going to implement to achieve this. It might be a single process, or it might be a combination of lots of different processes. These don’t need to be perfect at first, but should be flexible and allow for contingencies (see step 5, evaluate and improve).
4 – Define the tracking
You need to be able to track or measure your efforts in order to make sure you are progressing towards your goal. Sometimes this can be very easy to measure, for example it could be a case of benchmarking your current organic traffic and making sure you are getting improvements each month. Other times it can be more difficult, for example if you wanted to change the perception of your company or increase staff morale, how do you measure this over time? It’s possible, but it’s certainly more challenging and you may question the validity of the results. Just make sure you have a clear idea of how to track your progress.
5 – Evaluate and improve
Making progress towards your goals is rarely linear. You will have plateaus, or in the worst case even take one step forwards and two steps back. The important aspect is that you constantly review your progress at key intervals, evaluate, and improve. Ask the following questions:
- Are you on track?
- What worked? What didn’t work?
- What can be improved? How do you improve it?
- Is the final goal still achievable?
At this point you can then adjust the strategy accordingly, and set new timescales for review.
This template could be applied to almost anything in business or life. At the very least it helps you to understand your goals or ambitions better, and ensures that you’re on the right track to achieve them.