How to Achieve Your Goals in The New Year

Achieve your goals

During a recent survey on successful people, it was discovered that one of the main difference between the top achievers and the rest was that those in the top 10% had clearly defined goals.  When the researchers probed deeper they found that the people who were in the very top ranks of the highest achievers were distinguished by the fact that they had their goals written down.

The tragic thing is that most people wish for far more than they will ever need, but because of an inability to set realistic goals they end up with far less than they could have attained.

Why do so few people set goals?

  • They have never been told about it.  Although they could have at some time experienced the pleasure of a short term goal setting and getting, they don’t realize the importance of consciously setting goals.
  • Fear of failure.  Many people never try anything for fear that it won’t work.  They often do not realize that the superachievers are just human like them and that they have put in very long hours of work to achieve their success.
  • Procrastination.  We intend to do things, and make goals and change our lives but somehow we never get around to doing it.

How to set and achieve your goals for next year

What is your overall business aim for next year?   Would you like to start a business, expand your business, expand your client base, create a new range of products or services, or simply to earn more?  There are five measures to set and achieve your goals.

1.  Is your goal clearly defined?

This is where most goal plans fail.  It is useless to have a goal to earn more this year.  You must know how much more you want to earn.

Take the example of a passenger ship.  What would the results be if a ship were to chart its course in “some port in the ocean sometime in 2014?  Compare this vague goal with “I wish to expand my business so that it can earn me $4 million this year.”

2.  Is the goal believable?

Do you think you can achieve what you have set out to do?  Your goal can be ambitious, but if you prepare a detailed plan you might see that it is quite possible to achieve.

3.  Is the goal keenly desired?

Without a strong motivation, you will stray off course.  You must really want it more than anything else to be able to achieve it.

4.  Do you have a detailed plan?

Do you know exactly how you are going to reach this goal?  Have you broken it down into a step-by-step process?  Have you prepared a budget?  If you are unsure, you can learn from the experience of others who have attained something similar.

5.  Are the benefits vividly imagined?

You need plenty of continuing motivation to give you the strength to remain steadfast in the face of all the temptations that will surely come along.  Picture yourself in 5 years’ time, having achieved your goals, living the benefits that achieving the goal will bring.

Once a detailed plan is drawn up, you realize that what until now was a vague dream, can be readily translated into reality.  You become excited about your goal and have no trouble seeing yourself do the hard work to get the reward and then being able to enjoy an early retirement free from money worries.

So how do you get started to achieve your goals?

Starting is always the hardest thing and in goal setting, it pays to start small and build up some confidence with little successes.  Once you start to do this the excitement of having accomplished the little things will lead you on to the harder tasks.

It has been proven that the completion of cycles (or tasks)  provides us with energy and that a lot of uncompleted cycles in our life makes us fatigued.  If you get out of bed late one morning, fall over your shoes, stagger out to a kitchen full of last night’s dirty dishes, climb into a filthy car full of rubbish and then face a desk covered in papers you will understand how tired a myriad of uncompleted cycles makes you feel.

Once you get into the habit of finishing a job before you start the next, you will discover a whole new energy source.

Try the following exercise next weekend.  Get a sheet of paper and write out a list of those things you have been putting off that need to be done around the house.  Now write against each item the time it will take to do, and write on the list when you intend to do it (today or tomorrow).  Next, get stuck into it and make sure you keep at it until it is all finished.  You will be amazed at how good it makes you feel and how much energy it gives you.

If you are serious about running a successful business, you will need to master the art of setting and achieving your goals.  If you can do it, and it is not difficult, your success is guaranteed.

Be more productive: Hit “Delete”

As a small business owner, people are continually making demands on your time and resources.  Have you, for instance, ever analysed the email you get daily?  You may get an email that is either inappropriate for the moment (eg. someone who insists on partnering with you)  or high-maintenance (“I don’t know you but I think you can you fix all my emotional problems with your detailed answer to this email.”)

These distracting demands on your time can be very flattering.  After all, this person believes you are the answer to all their problems.  Or they can be very guilt-inducing (“Why do you continue to ignore my cries for help?”)  However, you need to evaluate how these demands tie in with your overall business goals.

Your goals should include how you can serve your target audience best.  Your time is very valuable because you can use it to help people who really need your help (and these people are willing to pay you).  If you get caught up responding to every demand on your time, the attention you give your target audience and existing clients will not be the best quality.

If you get an email from someone you don’t know, but you have the potential to help them quickly or refer them to the right person, by all means, respond.  However, as difficult as hitting the “delete”  button may be, you will be more productive if you use it more regularly (with discretion).

Being productive really boils down to doing the right things right.  Are you serving your target audience by responding to a particular demand?  Or are you neglecting those who keep a roof over your head because you feel it might be right to respond to those who do not compensate you and never will?

6 Reasons Why Things Go Wrong in a Small Business

It may seem discouragingly pessimistic to start the new year thinking about business failure.

However, being aware of potential pitfalls help you avoid them in future.

Areas where businesses seem to most often experience problems:

1. A bad idea from the start

Introducing a product or service for which there is neither need nor demand is the surest route to failure.  A good idea must be commercially viable in order to succeed.

2. Unchartered waters

So many small business owners launch into their ventures without a plan or clearly defined goals.  It is like starting a journey through unchartered territory, without a map or even a destination.  How will you know when you are there?

3. Forgetting to budget

Very few small businesses yield a large profit from day one.  You need to budget so that you don’t run out of money just before you make it big.  Start-up costs often turn out to be much higher than expected.

Money is the life-blood of your business.  A cash-flow squeeze is the single most common cause of small business failure.

Sentiment can compound the problem.  Small business owners are often reluctant to charge people (especially family and friends) for the real worth of their products or services.

4. The human factor

Personalities play a crucial part in the success of failure of a small business.  Business partnerships are comparable to marriages:  tough times, long hours and constant contact can bring out the worst in the relationship.

Small business owners often cannot bring themselves to hire people to do the things they can’t or don’t have time for, or even to ask for help.  Others make the mistake of hiring someone just because his/her labour is cheap.  It is better to have someone who is competent working two hours a week than a full-time incompetent soul.

You are the driving force behind your business:  progress will depend on how much energy and enthusiasm you put into it.  If you’re prepared to do whatever it takes to succeed, you will succeed.

5. Falling off the rails

So many small businesses fail because their owners underestimate the importance of keeping up-to-date with simple day-to-day matters, picking up problems only when they have reached serious, even irremediable proportions.

One serious mistake can take you years to recover from.

Expanding too quickly when you don’t have the infrastructure to handle it can prove fatal.

Failure to keep up with what is happening in the marketplace can lead to major setbacks as you lose touch with customer requirements, new trends, and what your competitors are up to.

6. Marketing mishaps

Many small business owners assume that their wonderful product or service will sell itself – and they learn better, too late.

However, there is no surer way to learn a lesson than through your mistakes.

Staying a step ahead

Just because you are achieving what you set out to do doesn’t mean that you can sit back and relax.  Some guiding points:

  • Retain your focus and stick with your original, researched concept.  At all costs maintain your planned path, and stay with your market.
  • Be meticulous about keeping up to date with your financial management and accounting systems.  Maintain stringent controls and don’t take too much money out of the business.  Outsource this to a reliable VA if you don’t have the time to spend on it.
  • Customer service is paramount.  Develop personal relationships with your clients.  Extra special service is something people are prepared to pay even more for.  Poor service is the quickest and most effective way of shedding customers and a good reputation.
  • Keep up to date:  ensure that you are constantly aware of trends and take time out to establish what your competitors are doing.
  • Continuous marketing is a vital ingredient of growth.  Never sit back and expect business to keep on flowing your way, even if things are going really well.  Think constantly of new ways to improve your marketing strategy.
  • Take time often to reassess your goals, your direction and your strategies.

May this year be the year that you exceed your dreams for your small business!

The importance of small business planning

Starting your own business is a lifelong dream of many.  Whether the reason is not to work for a boss, doing what you are passionate about or claiming financial independence, the vision often does not extend beyond opening the doors of the business.  Where should the growth of the business take it in the next few years?

No one gets rich without having a clear idea of how to accomplish it.  Success in any field needs a structure.  Yet the lack of planning in new businesses is ridiculously high.  You can temporarily get away without a plan if you run the business on your own (even if research has shown that only 7% of unwritten goals reach fruition).

However, the moment you employ other people, you run into problems.  You need to communicate to them what the business is trying to achieve, and how the jobs fit together into an integrated whole.

You also want to communicate clearly to potential clients that you have set up your business with the intention of growing it.  You need to be able to demonstrate that your business with its current team can get the job done, and that policies and procedures are in place to ensure this.

What unfortunately often happens is that early business success makes us think we don’t need a plan.

If there is not a plan with a clearly defined direction and guidelines, you become so task orientated that you lose sight of your goals. There may be a vague goal that revolves around increasing productivity, but without actionable steps it does not mean much.  You will not have significant growth in your business.

Ultimately, business failure comes down to one thing:  lack of knowledge.  Setting up a clear plan with actionable steps helps ensure that you and your employees know exactly where you are heading and how to achieve it.

A small business needs to be far more nimble and flexible than a big business.  Create your plans keeping this in mind.  If necessary, get outside help or hire people with the right knowledge to guide you in setting up a business plan.

Henry Ford said:  Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.  What are you doing to get ready for your business to flourish?

Feel free to contact Virtual Productivity Solutions for advice and guidance in setting up a business plan.

Be more productive: get on the fast track to business success by outsourcing virtually

If you’ve been working in your business for a year or longer without support, you may find yourself going nowhere fast. It often feels like there just isn’t enough time in the day to get it all day! Do you find yourself saying:

“There aren’t enough hours in the day…”

“I don’t have time to do that…”

It’s a common belief among entrepreneurs that they can (and should!) take the hard road, or that their success doesn’t mean anything if they have help. On the contrary, quick and dramatic business growth is often impossible in the hands of one person alone. To truly succeed in your business involves building teams of professional to support your business in areas that you can’t perform. You can make better use of your time as the owner of your business doing other things.

The idea behind building your own business means you will have ultimate financial freedom and plenty of free time, along with the ability to do work that you love. The key to realizing these goals in a reasonable time frame lies in finding others that you can trust to help you.

Compiling a team of professionals who all have unique abilities but possess the same mindset for success will be beneficial for you to be able to focus on “big picture” thinking to grow your business. Whether you are just starting your business, or stuck at your current level and want to expand, you can easily begin to network to find like minds. These like minds may be missing links to help you find what is needed for your potential. By doing this, you will become more productive as you work with others on the success of your business.

Even though many business owners quit their jobs and get into business because they want to do things on their own and in their terms does not mean that they have to go it alone. By building a reliable support team, you will find the ability to expand on the success that you have only begun to envision.

Are you ready to get on the fast track to your success? Contact us to find out how we can provide the support you need to get there, fast!

Are you slaving your way towards poverty?

Thomas felt very productive at the end of his work day.  He had crammed in 6 meetings, and rushed through a myriad of tasks and phone calls and gotten them done before heading for the gym.  He felt really good about himself.  He was the guy that knew exactly what was going on in the business, and without his input the business would be lost.  That is why he had not taken a vacation in 4 years.  The business simply could not function without him!  However, Thomas did not mind, because he thought that the faster his pace of life, the more value he had as a person.  Thus he desperately tried to cram as much as possible into his days.

Unfortunately Thomas confused being busy with being productive.  He had lost sight of the business goals, and as a manager, had forgotten that his task should have been facilitating the workflow instead of actually doing the work himself.

Ralph Keyes stated that:  “Only by stepping back can we spot … how addictive it is to be rushed and busy.  … Business can keep us from having to reflect, risk intimacy, or face the void.  … We’re never forced to ask ourselves what really matters.

Ernie J Zelinski, in his book titled The Joy of Not Working, defines peak performers and workaholics this way:

A peak performer (ie. someone who is productive)  is someone who…

  • Works regular hours
  • Has defined goals
  • Delegates as much as possible
  • Has many interests outside of work
  • Takes and enjoys vacations
  • Has deep friendships outside of work
  • Minimizes conversation about work matters
  • Can enjoy “goofing off.”
  • Feels life is a celebration.

A workaholic, on the other hand, is someone who…

  • Works long hours
  • Has no defined goals (works simply for the sake of working)
  • Cannot delegate work to others
  • Has no interest outside of work
  • Misses vacations to work
  • Always talks about work matters
  • Is always busy doing something
  • Feels life is difficult.

Unfortunately for Thomas, a year later his company hit the rocks.  No amount of blind activity could save it from disaster.  What a pity he had not taken to heart the words of Plato: In order to seek one’s own direction, one must simplify the mechanics of ordinary, everyday life.

5 Ways to Determine your Productivity Level

My definition of productivity is doing the right things right.  But how do you know whether you are doing the right things right?  Here are 5 basic steps to determine your productivity level:

Step 1

Are your activities aligned with your goals?   Are you aware of the goals of your organization, and how are you measuring up?  Have you set personal goals that are measurable and clear?

Step 2

Examine your work processes.  Are there systems in place to streamline the workflow, and are these systems effective?  Are routine tasks being automated as far as possible?  Are there policies and guidelines in place to help staff know what to do when?  Are you using the most effective method of getting each task done?

Step 3

Do you and your staff know how to do the best quality work?  Are you adequately trained to excel at your tasks? How do you measure the quality of your work?

Step 4

Do you have a workflow continuity plan in place?  Do you and your staff know what to do in case of emergency?  Do you have adequate backups, etc. in place in case disaster strikes?  Do you and your staff know what to do when key personnel are not at work so that the workflow remains constant?

Step 5

Do you spend time each week looking back at what has been accomplished, where you currently stand, and where you are heading?

Managing a small business is challenging.  It is so easy to feel overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do.  There are so many distractions.  It is difficult to stay focused.  However, being productive leads to being successful and reaching your goals.  In fact, being optimally productive will give you the opportunity to take a break from your daily work and to relax.  Don’t you think it is time to focus on your productivity, in order to get the rest you need?

5 Ways to Determine your Productivity Level

My definition of productivity is doing the right things right.  But how do you know whether you are doing the right things right?  Here are 5 basic steps to determine your productivity level:

Step 1

Are your activities aligned with your goals?   Are you aware of the goals of your organization, and how are you measuring up?  Have you set personal goals that are measurable and clear?

Step 2

Examine your work processes.  Are there systems in place to streamline the workflow, and are these systems effective?  Are routine tasks being automated as far as possible?  Are there policies and guidelines in place to help staff know what to do when?  Are you using the most effective method of getting each task done?

Step 3

Do you and your staff know how to do the best quality work?  Are you adequately trained to excel at your tasks? How do you measure the quality of your work?

Step 4

Do you have a workflow continuity plan in place?  Do you and your staff know what to do in case of emergency?  Do you have adequate backups, etc. in place in case disaster strikes?  Do you and your staff know what to do when key personnel are not at work so that the workflow remains constant?

Step 5

Do you spend time each week looking back at what has been accomplished, where you currently stand, and where you are heading?

Managing a small business is challenging.  It is so easy to feel overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do.  There are so many distractions.  It is difficult to stay focused.  However, being productive leads to being successful and reaching your goals.  In fact, being optimally productive will give you the opportunity to take a break from your daily work and to relax.  Don’t you think it is time to focus on your productivity, in order to get the rest you need?