4 tips for setting goals for work and planning for success
Ever had days where it feels like you didn’t achieve a thing? It’s not like you were slacking off. You may have even worked more than you usually do. But despite all that hard work, you don’t seem to have anything to show for it.
Fortunately, you also have days where you’re totally focused. You have a clear sense of direction from the word go, manage to complete everything on your to-do list, and leave the office with an immense feeling of achievement.
So what determines the kind of day you’ll have? How can you have more days where you’re totally focused and continually crossing items off your to-do list?
By setting yourself some work goals and planning for success.
But don’t just write a long list of everything you want to get accomplished. The trick to setting goals for work is to have them encourage you rather than discourage you. Here are four tips on how to set work goals that will leave you feeling empowered instead of run down.
Divide and conquer
One of the biggest mistakes people make when setting daily goals is having too many of them. Why put 35 items on your to-do list if you know you won’t have time to complete them? You’ll just feel bad for not having crossed them all off. You’re far better off limiting your list items so you can feel good about getting them all done.
In our team we limit ourselves to three daily goals. It might not seem like many, but when you factor in the myriad of distractions we face every day (phone calls, emails, meetings, discussions, etc.) it’s a sensible number. We all write down our three goals, and then focus on them exclusively throughout the day.
Plan your day before it starts
So now you have the idea: choose a few goals, write them down, and focus on them throughout the day. So where do you find the time to create your list of goals in the first place?
As strange as it sounds, the best time to plan your day is the night before. Before you go to sleep, think up a few important tasks/goals you want to achieve the following day. And then write them down.
You’ll have not only a better night’s sleep, but also a clear sense of direction at work the following day.
Start thinking long-term
Once you’ve become used to spending each night writing down your goals for the following day, try planning them out for the entire week.
To make it feel less daunting, give each day a theme and then create goals that match each of those themes. Monday’s theme might be internal meetings. Tuesday’s theme might be client follow-ups. Wednesday’s theme might be projects. And so on.
These themes can not only help you come up with your lists of goals, but also help build up momentum throughout the week to keep you enthusiastic and on track.
Keep yourself accountable
A great incentive to achieving your daily goals is to make yourself accountable. Our team has a daily huddle where we all share our key targets and goals to keep each other accountable, and it works really well. It also lets everyone see what each person is working on, adding a layer of accountability and focus to the entire team.
Setting goals is an important step towards achieving success. And by following these tips you’ll not only be setting those goals, but also achieving them—day after day after day.
Push vs Pull: 4 steps to marketing your business like it’s 2016
Do you get knocks on the door from people trying to sell you things you don’t want? Do you get mail from real estate agents offering to sell your home even though you’re renting? Are you sick of people ringing to sell you stuff just as you’re about to sit down to dinner?
These are all examples or what’s known as ‘push’ marketing. These companies have no idea whether you’re interested in their product/service, or even if you’re the right person to be selling it to. They just push it all on you, and hope for the best.
Push marketing is very ‘old school’. It’s something that probably would have been done in the ‘90s, when there were few other options. These days it’s considered ineffective and inefficient (not to mention downright annoying).
But now, thanks to the Internet and social media, ‘pull’ marketing is a much better option—for both business owners and customers.
Push vs pull marketing
With pull marketing, customers and clients seek you out. They may have read one of your articles that a friend of theirs shared on Facebook. You may have been a guest on a podcast they listen to. Maybe they saw you helping someone out in a web forum somewhere.
Whatever it was, you struck a chord with them. And they filed you and your business details away somewhere.
Then one day, while thinking about buying a particular product/service, they remember what you wrote in that article. They remember what you said on that podcast. They remember how you went out of your way to solve that person’s problem.
They remember you and your business. And so they grab the details they filed away and get in touch with you.
Now, imagine if hundreds of people read that article, listened to that podcast or visited that web forum. You haven’t done anything extra, and yet you could have hundreds more potential customers getting in touch with you about your product/service.
Which is why when it comes to push vs pull marketing, pull marketing is the clear winner.
The four steps to pull marketing
- Start creating great content people will find useful. It could be an awesome blog post (like this one—feel free to share and/or comment 😉 ), an article, a video or a podcast. And while you can certainly mention your product/service, don’t make it an advertisement. The main goal here is to help people, not sell to them.
- Publish your content on as many platforms as possible. Nearly all the popular platforms—Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.—are free, and so all it will cost you is time.
- Promote your content. Start a blog on your business’ website, create a newsletter people can subscribe to, even mention it in your email signature. And don’t forget social media. But don’t hit every social media platform you can think of. Instead, find out which ones your target market uses and focus on them.
- Join the conversation. If someone comments on your blog, make sure you respond. If they like, share or retweet your post, thank them. And if it starts a discussion on a web forum, make sure you join in.
By following these four steps you’ll be seen as someone who wants to help their customers, not just sell to them. People will start liking, sharing and following you and what you have to say. And when they’re ready to make a purchase, they’ll reach out and engage with you.
Push vs pull marketing? It’s no longer a choice.
But how can I track my ROI?
The most difficult thing business owners face with a pull marketing strategy is measuring the return on investment (ROI). How do you track how many sales came from a blog post, LinkedIn article or YouTube video?
There are plenty of tools out there that can track reach, click-through rates, shares and open rates. But with a pull marketing strategy it takes time to see direct results in the thing we want most as a business owners and entrepreneur—sales.
Be patient. The results will come. But try not to focus on them. Instead, make creating the content part of your day. If you enjoy writing, share it. If you love talking to people, record videos. Your knowledge and enthusiasm will show, and soon people will be reaching out to do business with you. In fact, a pull marketing strategy gets the attention of people you’d never be able to attract with a push marketing strategy.
And you won’t have to knock on a door or make an unwelcome phone call to do it.
Call for help: 3 steps to take when you think your business is in financial trouble
There’s no doubt about it: being a business owner can be tough. But while we’re happy to celebrate the good times, when things get tough business owners can often put their heads in the sand rather than ask for help.
Do you lie awake worrying about your business’ cash flow or low bank balance, or whether you can afford to pay your staff’s wages? If you do, then it’s time to get help from experts you can trust.
Where do you start?
The best place to start is with your numbers. Look at your previous year’s budget. We’ve already talked about why it’s important for businesses to have a budget, but if you don’t have one for your business now’s the time to get it done. And while you’re at it, get a cash flow forecast to be sure you can fund your expenses and still have enough in the bank for reinvestment or any large one-off payments that come in.
Bring in the experts
When it comes to preparing your budget and cash flow forecast, make sure it’s done properly. Unless you have an accounting background don’t even think about doing it yourself. And don’t use any online programs to do it either. Use an accountant or adviser you trust, or at the very least a bookkeeper who has a clear grasp on your numbers.
Yes, it will take time and cost money. But this is your business we’re talking about. Believe me, it will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.
Looking to the future
Sit down with your accountant/adviser/bookkeeper and look at your forecasts for the next month, quarter and year. Do the sales look realistic? What about the expenses—how do they look? Are there any large payments coming up that you’ll need to make provisions for so they don’t cripple your bank balance?
Map out these periods in your business, and make sure all your assumptions are accurate and conservative. Remember: when it comes to forecasts it’s always better to over-perform than under-perform.
Here are the three steps to getting your business back in financial shape (and keeping it there).
- Bring in your trusted experts early on—before any problems start.
- Look at the numbers, and create a budget and a cash flow forecast for the next 12 months.
- Work with your accountant/adviser/bookkeeper to create a roadmap for your business you can track and be held accountable to.
Of course, if you don’t have a trusted accountant, adviser or bookkeeper who can help prepare your budget and cash flow forecast, get in touch with the team here at Equus Partners so we can help you get your business back on track.