Tawanda Chirenda, Founder, Becoming a Willing Student, Toronto, Canada
We have been told time and time again that goal setting is an essential tool for building a successful business, but what we aren’t always told is that goals themselves do not change anything.
I used to equate goal setting with success. Some would say I was addicted to setting goals. I lived under the impression that setting goals meant you have succeeded. That might be true to an extent, but not entirely.
The most important thing when it comes to building a successful business is the learning and growth process that happens after the goals are set. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs are not willing to go through that learning and growth process and as a result remain stuck in frustration and disappointment. By learning and growth, I am referring to the daily rituals, habits and activities that support your goals.
Goal setting in itself doesn’t give you success, it is a tool only. Goal setting should be used to support your learning and growth process, so that you can create the right results for your business. I have discovered that having a system is far more important than setting goals because results are created through action, not goals.
A system can be as simple as waking up at 5 am every morning and setting aside two hours to work on your business before you check your emails and start your daily routine of running your business. For example, setting a goal to write a book is great, but that goal does not change anything unless you create a system to ensure that you publish a book. It is the process of writing that makes you an author, not so much the goal to become an author.
What makes you a successful entrepreneur is the practice of business. How much do you interact with your target market? What do you do every day to promote your business? Goals are just the beginning of a long process of growth, innovation and adaptation.
It is my belief we spend too much of our time setting too many goals instead of simply learning what we are doing wrong and changing it. I am not saying you should stop setting goals. I am encouraging you to start creating a system to move you closer to your goals. For example, if your goal is to increase your sales by 10% this year, your system could include cold calling 5 new clients every week, blogging twice a week, or running a social media campaign every 3 months. Systems are not difficult to set up, they just require consistency, discipline and clarity of purpose.