What is your “why?” It is something I ask of everyone I ever work with. What is that thing that will get you out of bed every day, regardless of how many things go wrong and how many setbacks you have? And by the way, business owners have setbacks by the bucket load! That “why” must be personal, and not business related. It must be like a burning flame deep in your heart. And when something goes wrong, the “why” will help you keep going until you get the result you were looking for. One of my favourite phrases is that “no one fails until they give up.” So, if you can clearly define your “why,” you would walk through brick walls until you achieve your goals. You would never give up! Get clear on your “why.” Also, get to know the “why” of your team members too. It will help you manage your teams and get better results.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Be careful what you ask for as you just might get it?” This is true in all aspects of life, especially business. In our brains is the Reticular Activating System (RAS). This is like a compass for your brain. It makes the things that you ask for show up in front of you.Have you ever wanted a dream car? What was it? When you got clarity on the car you wanted, did you notice that cars like that started appearing on the road all the time? That is not magic, it is your RAS making the things you want in your life show up. On the flip side there are things you do not want to show up in your life. The RAS does not know the difference between what you positively want to show up in your life, and what you are actively trying to avoid. It does not discriminate. Do you have that friend who says it always rains when they go on holiday? It probably only rained for one day of their 2-week holiday. But that was what their RAS was set on, so guess what they saw and only focused on? Too many people are focused on what they do not want, not what they want. For example, if your only goal is to get out of your overdraft, then guess what your RAS is set on finding? That is right, more overdraft. Instead of focusing on a negative, why not change the language to a positive. For example, the goal is to have a business current account balance of £100k by the end of the year. This instructs your RAS to go and look for the positive, not the negative.
Before setting any business goals, you need to do something that most business owners do not do, put yourself first. There is a negative connotation associated with the word “selfish.” People view this word as bad, negative, and greedy. For me, selfishness is a healthy state. When on an airplane, whose oxygen mask do they tell us to put on first in an emergency? Even if we have children, they tell us to put our mask on first. Ultimately, you cannot help anyone else if you are not okay first. How can you give more to your community, help more people in need, create more jobs, if you are not okay first? That is why putting yourself first is an extremely important discipline to master, especially in the context of goal setting.
The business should be the vehicle that transports you, the business owner, to your life’s objectives. It normally gives you fuel (money) to burn. That money will allow you to achieve what you wanted to achieve before you leave this earth. So, you need to ask yourself the question that you may feel uncomfortable asking, “What do I want?” What do you want for your family? What experiences do you want? Which places do you want to go? What feelings do you want to feel? Which people do you want to help? How many languages do you want to speak? This can be a tremendously exciting and liberating experience, especially for those going through tough times in their business. This can provide a real spark and re-energise them.
You should always have 12-month goals that are visible to you daily so you can cross reference your behaviours against the goals. If what you are doing today is not leading you to your goals, then why are you doing it? Visible goals will also keep you focused through the year, so you do not just look at them on the 31st of December and think, “Damn, it is too late to achieve them now!” As a family, we have our 12-month goals too. One day in January my eldest asked me if we could go out on a Dad and Daughter date. We do this regularly anyway, but I was intrigued about why she wanted to go right then. She replied that it was one of her 12-month goals to have a date with me every month and she did not want to fall behind on her target. She remembered because she had her goals stuck up on her bedroom wall.
Goals also need to satisfy the SMART test. The acronym comes from these words: Specific-Measurable-Achievable-Realistic-Timeframe. Too often, the tiny percentage of business owners who do have goals, have made them so wishy washy that they do not know if they have achieved them, never mind if they should crack open the bubbly. That is because the goals were not SMART. Imagine 2 business partners. Imagine on their 12-month goals they said they wanted to make more money. Imagine at the end of the year they have made £50k more profit and partner 1 is doing high fives and cartwheels of joy. Can you imagine how conflicted partner 2 would be because he had wanted to make £100k more profit that year? In this instance, the goal was not SMART enough. A SMART goal does not have grey areas. Make sure it is black or white. You want clarity on if you have or have not achieved the goal at the end of any specific period. Make your goals SMART!
You must also start with the end in mind. Design your exit strategy and even more importantly give your exit a deadline. If you do not put a deadline on your exit, it will never happen. Once you have this defined, you need to work backwards. Set annual goals that will help you achieve this end goal.
It is also vital that you share your goals with the team. This can prove to be difficult when you have only thought about being closed off. Afterall, what would the team say if they saw how much money you wanted to earn. If they have a problem with you earning money, they should not be in your team. I find that most people will want to help you achieve your objectives. If you share your goals with the team, then they may surprise you with focus, and start coming up with new ideas to help you achieve your objectives in a way you had not considered. What is there to lose by sharing?
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Running a business requires you to wear many hats. More often than not, we can forget to wear the hat that is about growing and developing the business. Here at REACH, we focus on ensuring that the business owners are focused on working on the right things at the right times. Through education, we empower people so that they can do what they need to do to move forwards. After the knowledge is given, then the job of the Business Coach is to ensure that the business owner is held accountable for doing what they said they would.
We believe in an ethical approach to life and business and our values are used every day to guide us. We firmly believe that everyone needs a Coach regardless of the shape, size, or flavor of their business. Our greatest satisfaction comes from seeing people develop and grow into the people they need to be and we make no excuses for being passionate about what we do!
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