Saturday, January 10, 2009

Business: Setting Good Personal and Business Goals

Each year as I set up my accounting for the new sales year, I also set some goals. Usually they are very specific to my business activities and growth plans. I come away feeling good that I have pointed my business in the right direction, but I feel I'm missing something...the goals for my personal life.

Yesterday as I was listening to Dave Ramsey on his podcast, he described the seven types of goals and how to set goals that will stick. Here's my best restatement of this great piece he did, with a spin on how they apply to the business of professional photography.

The Seven Types of Goals

1. Career - where do you want to be in the future? For business owners, this can also include growth plans, product line, education/skills and equipment.
2. Financial - Do you want to reduce or eliminate debt? Establish or reinvigorate a retirement plan? The overall economic situation is forcing many people to revisit their financial habits and condition, and develop ways to reduce debt and increase their financial security.
3. Spiritual - Do you want to change your spiritual relationship? Read the bible more? Explore other dimensions of spirituality?
4. Physical - The most common goal is to lose weight and/or get in shape. Others will set goals to be able to run a 5k, half-marathon or more.
5. Intellectual - It is said that the only things that will change your position in life 10 years from now are the people you meet and the books that you read. Whether you are looking for formal education or to increase your knowledge of money, technology or other areas, setting intellectual goals is a good way to move you into new experiences and outlooks.
6. Family - Do you want to spend more time with your kids? Accomplish projects around the house? Build that scrapbook? Write a will?
7. Social - Do you want to get better at talking to people, speaking in public and interacting with customers?
Writing a Good Goal

Regardless of which goal category you are writing in, a good goal has these 5 characteristics:
A. It must be yours - not a goal that someone else has suggested for you.
B. It must be specific - name the specific activity, behavior or thing you will accomplish.
C. It must be measurable - if your goal is to lose weight, name the amount.
D. It must have a deadline - name it to end by a certain date.
E. It must be written -a goal put on paper is much more likely to be successful.


Bad Goal: Telling everyone that you will work out more and lose weight, because the Mrs said you were a little chunky.
Good Goal: Writing down on a sheet of paper: I will attend the gym 3 times each week for at least 1 hour. I will track it on a sheet. I will combine exercise with good nutrition and attempt to lose one pound per week with a goal of losing 40 pounds by Thanksgiving 2009.

Bad Goal: I will do better with my finances.
Good Goal: I will establish a $1000 emergency fund by March 1st and begin a written budget by February first, with the goal of eliminating 50% of my credit card debt by December 1st, 2009.

Bad Goal: I will work harder at my photography business/hobby.
Good Goal: I will join one photography association and attend one convention in 2009. I will identify three areas where I can grow my business or exposure and conduct at least one event in those areas by December 1, 2009. I will define a debt-free plan to grow my business assets by February 1.

Once I heard that bit from Dave, I realized that I have to take a fresh look at my Goals for 2009. Off I go to do some planning!

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