Do you have a really clear image of what your business will look like when it’s successful?
I often find that people start a business with a short term financial target in mind. Most people know how much money they need their business to make for it to be sustainable, and they focus on that. I typically find that beyond that point though, the majority don’t have a clear definition of success and that’s when it’s easy to find yourself drifting or to feel as though you’re working incredibly hard but you’re not actually that clear what it’s all for.
There is a ton of evidence that proves that having clear goals and targets makes you far more likely to grow your business, but that’s not what I want to talk about today.
I want to talk about your definition of success for your business. Your definition, not mine! Not the text book definition or the ‘what did we make last year, let’s add 20% to that’ definition of success. Choosing some token goals because the business books tell you how important they are is all well and good, but they’re very unlikely to light a fire in your belly. The only way to do that is to be absolutely clear on what success means to you and then target that.
You see, it really doesn’t matter what others think success means or what the gurus tell you it looks like. Nobody else has the right to tell you what success means for you. Your definition of success might involve taking off all the school holidays to spend with your children; or travelling for 3 months every year; or creating 500 jobs; or earning enough money to support a charity close to your heart; or sending your kids to private school.
None of those definitions is any more worthy than the others. None of them are wrong. None of them are too materialistic. Or not materialistic enough!
The only thing that matters is that you have absolute clarity on what success looks like for you. If that’s something you struggle with here’s an exercise that could really help you.
The 3 Year Vision:
Picture yourself 3 years from now going to work in your business. If you had the perfect business where would it be based? Still in the same place it is now? Or in new, bigger or better premises?
Who would you want to see when you arrived? Would there be other people there? How many? What kind of people are they and what kind of jobs are they doing? Are they apprentices and work experience youngsters or are they Senior Managers or Salespeople?
What kind of customers would you be talking to that day? The same people you deal with now? Bigger customers, more charities, start-ups, or somebody else?
Most importantly think about what your week would look like. How many hours would you be working? Would you be office based or roving? Customer facing or behind the scenes strategizing? What kind of work would you want to be involved with every day to make you really happy?
How would the business be doing financially? How much revenue would it be bringing in? How much profit? How much would you be drawing from the business every month?
And one of the most important questions: what would you be spending your money on? One of the biggest challenges in defining success and setting goals is that financial targets can often feel quite shallow. If that rings a familiar bell with you then you’ll probably benefit by spending some time thinking about who you would help and how with any extra business earnings. Goals that are bigger than just you are generally far more compelling.
So there’s your task for this week! If you’re already crystal clear about what success looks like for you then that’s fantastic. If you know you need more clarity then block out some time in your diary to work though this exercise. It can make a huge difference to your business’ progress when you dig into this properly.