Styled desktop with keyboard, lamp and pencils

How to Set Actionable Goals in Your Business for 2020

Filed Under: Business | Podcast | Strategy
Date Published: February 4, 2020
By: Claire

It is not too late to set goals for 2020, this is the year to achieve what you want! On today’s episode, Claire will teach you how to focus on your inputs, make it measurable and break it down into achievable bites to help you grow your business in 2020.

Listen to find out:

  • Why goals and visualizations are important.
  • How to work through your goals in a SMART way.
  • How to break down your goals along the years.
  • Once you have set your goals, where to, and not to focus to avoid failure. 
  • The key step after all the planning to ensure success.


Story 2: SMART Goals

Transcript of this episode:

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the opportunities of 2020 and need some help focusing,

it’s time to talk about goal setting, you may feel like you missed the boat on 2020 Gold setting as at the time of release, we’re already halfway through January. I can’t believe how quickly this year is going FYI. But I’m here to tell you that it’s never too late to get focused on what you’re wanting to achieve. Effective goal setting is a skill you can use in all aspects of your life and business. Focus on your inputs, make it measurable, and break it down into achievable bite sized pieces. Today, I’m going to teach you just how to do this to help you grow your business in 2020. 

My name is Claire, and I’m the host of the innovation and business podcast. And over the last nine years, I’ve worked with innovation teams across industries including research, manufacturing, retail and technology. And I’ve seen the good, the bad and the downright ugly when it comes to innovating for customers. Now I alongside my esteemed guests from successful and innovative businesses across the UK. I’m sharing the learnings with you that we’ve had to help you avoid the mistakes and capitalise on our learnings to help you grow your business with innovation. This is the innovation in business podcast. And if you’re ready to get started then so my and let’s dive on into today’s topic of setting goals. 

So, the first thing I want to talk about is why goals are important. It is important when you are looking to do big things and to innovate, that you have the right mindset. Now, this is a story that I know many of you will probably be familiar with already, but is the story of Jim Carrey. When he was broke living in a trailer, and not sure how he was going to feed himself or his family looking for his big acting break. He wrote himself a check For $10 million, dated three years in the future, he carried this check with him to all of his audition all of his different roles, hoping that one of them would be that big break, and at times it looked like it was never going to happen. Then just before the date that was on the check, he was signed on for this main role in the hit film dama dama. And guess how much they paid him $10 million for acting services rendered exactly what he wrote on that check three years ago. Now, it would have been easy for him to give up at some point during this journey when things weren’t looking like they were going to go this way, his way. But he had set that goal and he had got got the right mindset that was going to help him achieve it no matter what. This is great advice for anyone who is in business and is looking to innovate and new and exciting ways. Road isn’t going to be easy. And there are always going to be unexpected setbacks and things that go wrong that you could never have predicted. But if you’ve got the right mindset, you’re able to visualise where you want to get to and you’re flexible about how you get there, you can achieve anything, and you can achieve your big goals. 

So, now that we’re all in the right frame of mind, and we’ve got our mindset sorted, and we’re ready to innovate, it’s time to get more into the tactics and talk more about the goal setting itself. So the first thing that I want to share with you that again, you may already be familiar with is to make your goals smart. I remember when I first started my first ever job was a graduate scheme for a chemical company, and I was an innovation project manager. So we were taken on a two day trip to the head office which was in Amsterdam. To learn more about the business and have some workshops on different aspects of running a business, like sales marketing, all of this was great for someone coming from a chemistry background like myself who hadn’t really been exposed to these concepts before. Now we were having a talk just before starting our case study projects from one of the senior leaders in the business. And one thing that they said to me that has always stuck with me, is what gets measured gets done. When you’re setting goals. You need to put data behind them and you need to measure them so that you are keeping yourself honest and continuing to track and that is one of the main things behind SMART goals. So for those that don’t know smart spelled S M A R T  stands for specific meaning simple, sensible or significant, measurable or meaningful motor motivating, achievable, something that you can do within the timeframe that you set relevant, something that is going to be useful and helpful to your business and time bound, you need to give yourself a deadline. So you don’t let things go on forever and ever, without moving forward.

Now, so that’s Specific, Measurable, Achievable, relevant and time bound. And when you set goals in this way, you will be able to build something that relates to your business and allows you to move forward. To help illustrate this point, I’m going to share with you a couple of the goals that I set for my business in 2020. Now, these are the goals that I have around the area of awareness and branding. So for example, one of the goals that I have set is I will complete three webinars by the end of March 2020, which I will set up to loop and play quarterly. And this will boost my credibility and help grow my email list of leads.

So you can see that this goal is specific three webinars, it’s time bound, at the end of March. it’s achievable. I can do three webinars within three months. It’s one a month, it’s not that many relevant. So it’s relevant not only to my business, as webinars are a great way for consultants to build credibility, but it’s also relevant to my customers as the topics I will cover things that I know that are relevant to them and their interest in in learning more about.

It’s measurable, for sure. I’ve got the count of three and I can measure if I’ve done them. And I think I’ve already said but it’s time bound. So by the end of March 2020. Now when it comes to SMART goals, I have had managers and leaders and worked with people who get really hung up on the idea of the smartness of their goals, and they overthink it a lot. I want to encourage you not to overthink it too much. Just get them done and focus on delivering what you commit to. You don’t want to get analysis paralysis and stay stuck trying to make your goals small instead of driving them and growing your business.

so, one way that we’ve discussed already is making your goals smart. Another way of thinking about and setting goals is to work backwards. So What are the outrageous goals you want to achieve within your business? Like what are the things that really light you up and seem real, but seem really out of your league or really far away from what you’re currently doing. So for example, a few years ago, I wanted to buy a house in London. Now, this seems completely outrageous. As the salary I was on was not enough to get a mortgage. I didn’t have any savings for deposit. And at that time, I had no way of getting that. But I decided that this was my goal. And so I set about breaking it down so I could get there. And if I was using the working backwards method, you could think about it like this. Let’s say I wanted to buy a house in five years time. So in five years time, my goal is to set to buy a house, but what would I needed to have done in three years time To help me get there, well, by the time I was three years away, I would need her to have gained the salary increase that would allow me to get the mortgage, for example. Or actually probably a better example is, in three years time, I would have needed to have saved enough the deposit decided on the budget and decided on where I was going to buy. So if that was my goal in three years time, what did I need to have done in one year’s time? Well, in one year’s time, I would have needed to got myself into a job or received a promotion that would allow me to have the kind of salary I needed to get the mortgage and actually to support my saving for the deposit that I would need in three years time. So in one year’s time, it’s get the promotion in six months time. What would I needed to have done I would have needed to at least be interviewing For the role that would give me the salary or have identified the promotion and had a path to get that within my one year timeframe, in three months time, I would have needed to work out what all of those numbers were and how I could get there and have some ideas or actions that I can take to help me get to the interview process or to the promotion path. In one month’s time, I would have probably needed to start a savings plan and have that in place so I could start saving on my current salary was looking for other options. What would I need to do in one week’s time? In one week’s time, I would have needed to work out my monthly budget and how I will be able to break that down and what that would look like in terms of my savings plan. In one day’s time, I would probably have to have calculated my expenses and have a good handle on those numbers. And then what can I do now that will get me towards that goal, I could start adding up my expenses, and start looking through my previous bank statements to get me there. So, as you can see from this example, my massive, outrageous goal, which by the way I did achieve, for in five years time could be broken down into much more manageable steps so that it can feel much more doable, much more smart. And by doing this process, you can move a lot further, giving yourself time working backwards from your goal and breaking it down. So for example, if you have a five year goal of achieving x in revenue for your business, you can break that five year goal down into what you need to have done in five years, three years, one year, six months, three months, one month, a week, a day and what you can do now and by having those goals You can create an action plan which you can then review that will help you achieve those big outrageous goals. 

Okay, so that’s a little bit about setting goals for outrageous goals, goals that we all want to have the ones that light us up and help us build exciting and innovative businesses for our customers. But what about your day to day? And how do you make sure that you’re setting yourself up with your goals, so is not to fail? One thing that’s really important to realise is that you cannot control everything. We talked a little bit about my story with Brexit and how it’s shaped my career and helped me to understand how you cannot control everything and Episode One of this podcast if you haven’t already listened. But you need to understand that you can only really control your own actions. And therefore when you’re setting goals you want to focus on The inputs that you control. So for example, if you are writing a book, you can control the timeline of how you write the book, you can control the topics of the book, you can control the amount of research you do into the book, to determine whether it’s going to be something useful for customers, something that’s going to excite them and help you build your business. You can control how you market your book, you can control the amount of effort that you’ve been put into it, and you control the advertising spend. You cannot control whether you hit the bestseller list on launch, you cannot control who else launches their book at the same time. Maybe this well planned, perfectly organised launch that you’ve done for your amazing book that’s very well researched, comes out at the same day as Michelle Obama’s autobiography. Now, I’m not saying that your book is not adding as much value as Michelle Obama’s autobiography which by the way, is fantastic. A great read for anyone. But what I am saying is that if you focus all of your goals and all of your joy from the experience of writing the book on hitting that bestseller list, and then something like her autobiography comes out at the same time, you’re really just setting yourself up to fail against your goal. Whereas you may have achieved something incredible that’s going to deliver for your business in the way that you wanted it to. So, the important thing to take from this is to focus on your inputs and set goals around those inputs and build them up so that you can achieve them and enjoy the process of getting there. 

Okay, the fifth and final thing I want to share with you about goal setting is to remember to set aside time to review your goals and keep them on top of mind.

If you go through the process of setting goals, you really think deeply about them, you look at the data and you know that you have come upon the things that are going to drive the growth in your business, you need to make sure that you are tracking them through. Remember back at the beginning, when I said what gets measured gets done, if you’re not reviewing your goals, if you’re not measuring the data and making sure that you are setting time for this, to measure them and review them, then you’re probably going to forget about them. In the world of business. It’s there’s so much going on. There is so many different options. And it’s easy to get excited by the new shiny object in the corner for getting your core customers, your core clan and what you’re trying to do. Be honest with yourself, and set some time each month to go over your goals.

This is something that I really struggled to do in the past as I am one of those people that gets incredibly excited by innovation and doing new things and I’m having to force myself to be disciplined Go back and look over my goals, review where I am and keep myself honest. So when you’re doing this look at where you are versus your goal.

Think about the last month what’s gone well, and what’s gone badly. What can you build upon on the things that went well to help you achieve your goals faster? And where are you currently blocked? Is there something that needs to happen to help you get past that blockage that will get you to your goal. The other thing that I want to say is as much as I believe in goal setting, and I believe in having goals that will help you drive your business, you need to remember that sometimes the goals and the things that we think are going to be the most important for our business is at the start of the year, halfway through the year, three months into the year, however long into the no longer the right thing for the business and you need to be tracking your goals. measuring them so you can understand when that happens. And you can make a conscious decision if you need to drop that goal, or edit that goal in doing this process and remain disciplined and keeping the focus on what you’re trying to achieve, having the right mindset about outrageous goals and how you can deliver to benefit your customers with the inputs will help you set and deliver against big goals in 2020 and beyond. 

To summarise, if you’re setting goals you need to remember, have the right mindset. Believe that you can achieve universal intelligence on the world wants you to achieve and with the right mindset, you can get your goals.

Make your goals smart, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and time bound, so that you can achieve them work backwards from outrageous goals to break them down into bite size chunks that you can deliver against and that will help you grow your business in new and exciting ways. Focus on your inputs, you can only control what you can control. And don’t get too worried if the outputs are what you expected. But instead, focus on delivering what you know you can to the best of your ability. And finally, make sure you’re setting time to review your goals, what gets measured gets done. And if you’re reviewing your goals regularly, you can create big things and big innovation in your business this year. So that’s it for today’s session on goals and how to set them. Tune in next week. We’re your top of inspiring innovation stories and techniques. We will be having our first guest on the podcast next week. So we will be changing the format slightly to an interview on the topic for January, which is goal setting and innovation goals for your business. I hope you’re excited to tune in next time. Week for me and my guests discussion. Please make sure you subscribe to the podcast so that you don’t miss it with your podcast provider. If you have time, I’d love for you to leave a review as it helps others find the podcast and it helps me get great guests on for you. I can’t wait to tune in next week and learns more about product innovation from my guest and shared that with you. I hope you have a good rest of your week and I’ll see you soon. Bye.