In this episode, I cover how you can set goals that make you grow and how to do it the S.M.A.R.T. way.
Here’s the link to my referenced blog post, “The S.M.A.R.T. Way To Set Goals.”
Full Transcript Below…
Welcome to the Business Numbers podcast. I’m your host, Ben McAdam. I’m a profits coach, virtual CFO, and entrepreneur, and I’ve created this podcast to help you grow your business profits and understand your business numbers without judgment and without bearing you in a whole bunch of jargon that you don’t need.
Just actionable tips and case studies to help you grow your business. For show notes, go to the website www.businessnumberspodcast.com.
[00:00:38] In today’s episode, I want to talk to you about goals. It’s getting towards the end of the year. I’m recording this in November 2022, and we’re all starting to think about goals for the next year. Some people have set their goals and their plan for the next year already, which seems a bit early, but they’ve got a busy season in December, or they want to take some of December off. So like, “Oh! Maybe it makes sense.”
But just in case you are starting to think about goals, I want to share a few ideas based on what’s worked for a number of my clients and then have worked for me. Share a number of ideas with you that might help you set. I don’t want to say better goals. Let’s call them clearer goals and bigger goals rather than better ones.
[00:01:32] Getting clearer, I mean, the goal is obvious, and it’s clear that it’s going to get you what you want; and a bigger goal because I tend to find that we really want something big and audacious and for whatever reason, we don’t set our goals at that level. There are a few different reasons; could be mindset things, could be family things, could be a bunch of reasons.
So, I wanted to give you a couple of thoughts just to start percolating in the back of your brain before you really get into setting your goals for next year. Let’s talk about bigger goals first, and then whether you have a bigger goal or not, we’ll talk about making your goals clearer after that.
[00:02:23] So, the bigger goal. Setting bigger goals can be helpful because it is often what we really want. Sometimes we set goals because we think they’re reasonable ones to aim for. They’re things that we should aim for, as opposed to what we really want. It’s okay to be ambitious. It’s okay to want an amazing life or to do something big.
So, what’s your big goal? Not the one you think is a reasonable one to aim for. If you want multiple millions or if you want billions, great. If that’s what you want, figure out a plan. Work on it. If you want to go from zero to billionaire, it’s going to be a longer-term plan, but if it’s what you want, then set the goal there and start building your plans.
[00:03:18] If you want a multimillion-dollar exit from your business or an eight-figure exit from your business, don’t shy away from that or set something that’s more reasonable.
I mean, it does depend on the kind of business. You might not be able to make an eight-figure exit from a local cleaning company in a small town without some changes. Spreading that cleaning company across your country, for example.
[00:03:48] So even in that instance, you can hit a pretty big goal if you want to, but you’re not going to make very effective plans to achieve the goal if you don’t set that as a goal in the first place. So what’s the big goal?
Another idea about goals. This one was taught to me by mindset coach Itamar Marani, who made a big difference for me, helped me get out on my own way, and continues to help me at this point.
[00:04:15] An idea he suggested is that goals should require you to grow. This is something that took me a while to get. It’s that if your current goals just require you to do what you’re currently capable of, maybe with a little bit more… a little bit of effort and being a professional… then your current goal it’s not really a goal. It’s more a plan, really. It’s not something you have to really reach for. It’s just something that you have to do.
[00:04:44] Goals are most effective when there’s something that you, who you are right now, can’t achieve without growth. So it could be growth in skills, it could be internal growth, mindset growth, emotional clearing of issues kind of growth, whatever. The point is that a goal that requires you to improve further is a goal that is worth aiming for, big enough to aim for.
[00:05:10] A friend says, “What would be ludicrous for the current version of you to be able to achieve?” So if you’ve got a low six-figure business, would it be ludicrous to run an eight-figure business, for example? Or if you’re running a seven or eight-figure business, it’d be ludicrous to get your business to be worth a billion dollars, maybe? Would that be ludicrous? If so, maybe that’s a goal worth aiming for.
Not necessarily for everybody and not necessarily for every season of your life. You don’t necessarily have to push, push, push really hard. Again, something Itamar has helped me with. Thank you, Itamar, if you’re listening.
[00:05:59] So there’s a similar idea to this when you’re setting your goals. I’ve talked about, you know, what’s the big goal, not the reasonable goal. I’ve talked about how a goal should require you to grow, and there’s a similar idea that I first heard through Tim Ferris, which he got from someone else. I don’t remember. It’s instead of setting incremental goals, like 10% more than what you’ve currently achieved, instead, think about what does 10X look like?
Now, this can be a good thought experiment because a 10% extra goal doesn’t really require any major changes to approach. It just requires you to do things a little harder or up the volume a little of what you’re doing. Whereas thinking about “What would it take to achieve a 10 X type goal?”. That will get you thinking outside the box about “What new things should I be doing?” and “What things should I stop doing?” And so it’s a useful thought experiment.
[00:06:58] Another idea from Itamar Marani that I wanted to suggest is something I learned from him. This idea of identity lag. This idea is that who we think we are and what we think we are capable of is sometimes three to five years out of date. So, for example, here we are in 2022, and you might think of yourself as the 2019 or 2017 version of you, the kind of things that that younger version of you was capable of.
[00:07:32] And so when you actually go through what’s called the person X exercise, like I did, and you realize, “okay, what are you currently capable of? What have you achieved? What can you achieve? What can you do? What resources do you have available to help you? “That might help you aim for the bigger goals.
A 10 X goal? What you thought was the 10 x goal might only be a 10% kind of a goal when you realize who you actually are right now and what you’re capable of right now, instead of what you were capable of three to five years ago.
So there are a few different ideas there to help you think about the bigger goals you actually want instead of the ones you think are reasonable or the ones you think you should set.
[00:08:24] Next, let’s talk about getting clearer with your goals. It’s important to get clear on why you want a particular goal. Is it because it’s something you want, or is it what other people tell you you should be doing? Or the idea you have from the society you’re in or the company you keep? Like these are the kind of goals that people like us set. Is it what you actually want? Is this the right goal to get you what you want?
[00:08:56] So if you want, for example, a whole bunch of passive income so you can work on your hobbies, is the goal of an eight-figure exit in your business the right goal? Or is it to get the business to low seven figures and then install someone to run it for you? Or is it that you only need a mid-seven-figure exit from your business rather than an eight-figure one?
[00:09:21] It’s like, is your goal the right goal to get you what you want? Is it taking you away from what you want? So that, for example, to get an eight-figure exit, you might think you’ve gotta do a super huge amount of work and burn yourself out when what you really want is a sustainable work life. Or is the goal that you’ve set the long way to get to where you want to go?
[00:09:43] Like I said, you might not need to go to the point of exiting your business. You might just be able to install people to run it for you. So get clear on those things to make sure that the goal is the right goal for you. And then also think about, don’t know, if you’ve heard about the S.M.A.R.T. acronym, setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. S-M-A-R-T.
[00:10:05] I did a blog post and video about this a couple of years ago now, actually. It’s called The Smart Way to Set Goals. It’s the name of the blog post. I’ll link it in the show notes, or if you Google Profitscollective, all one word, The Smart Way to Set Goals, it should take you there. If you put a space in between profits and collective, I’m not on the first page of Google. Maybe I’ve got some SEO work to do. I’m not much of an SEO person. I have SEO agencies as clients, so maybe I should join the team or something. Be more of a team player. “Yeah, SEO is great!”. Yeah, not so much for me. I get clients in other ways.
[00:10:49] Anyway, S.M.A.R.T. ways to set goals. Let me walk you through the acronym. In 1981 someone came up with this idea, I think. There are various different versions of what it means, but here’s the useful version.
[00:11:03] So the S is for specific. Is the goal specific? And I’ll give you an example here; “I would love to be rich,” imagine if that was your goal, or “I wanna be rich.”
[00:11:14] It’s not a very smart goal. Or not a very S-M-A-R-T acronym goal because it’s not specific. What does rich mean? What type of rich do you want to be? Do you want to be the kind of rich where you have a lump sum of money, and you’d never be able to spend it no matter how hard you try it? Or do you want to be the kind of rich that has lots of money coming in from investments? So be specific.
[00:11:40] M is for measurable. Can you measure the fact that you’ve achieved the goal or not? “I would like to be asset rich” is specific, or more specific than “I want to be rich” was anyway. But “I would like to be asset rich” is not… you can’t take it off and say, “yes, I am now asset rich.” So making it a bit more measurable, like “I would like to have a hundred million dollars in assets,” is measurable and specific.
[00:12:11] The A in SMART stands for actionable. This has to be something you can actually take action toward or something you can do. “I would like someone to give me a hundred million in assets” is not really a goal. That’s a wish. It’s not really actionable. So “I would like to earn a hundred million dollars in assets.” Earning it, or “I would like to exit my business in order to earn a hundred million in assets.” That’s a bit more actionable.
[00:12:44] The R in SMART stands for realistic. Is it realistic for you to become a trillionaire? Oh, the odds are pretty small. Technically, you can do it, but probably not. Instead of saying, “I’d like to earn a hundred million dollars in assets,” perhaps change the goal down from a hundred million to like five or ten million. Something realistic, if you’re starting from zero or nearly zero, “I would like to earn five million dollars in assets.” Or “I would like to exit my business and have ten million dollars in assets.” Or “I would like to grow my business to the point where it’s worth ten million.”
[00:13:20] And finally, the T in SMART stands for time-based. Needs to be time criteria, so there’s some pressure for you to make progress and to see whether you’re on track. “I would like to earn five million in assets” is a bit better than “I would like to be rich” because it’s a bit more specific; it’s actionable, measurable, realistic, or more realistic than a hundred million or a trillion. Time-based is “I would like to earn ten million in assets in five years.” Obviously got to rerun this whole thing through the realistic filter.
[00:13:59] Is it realistic for you to be able to get to ten million in assets in five years? I think it’s possible. Remember when I said earlier that goals should require you to grow, and it doesn’t actually have to be something that the current version of you is capable of achieving?
[00:14:16] I’m sure within five years, you could pick up a few skills, make a few connections, get some good coaching, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. They could help you get to your goal.
[00:14:26] So, a S.M.A.R.T. Goal could be changing something from “I’d love to be rich” to “I’d like to earn ten million in assets in five years.” So getting clearer on your goals in that way makes it a lot more likely that you’ll achieve them. It makes it a lot more likely that you’ll stay focused on what’s required to get there because goals are a great way to answer gray-area questions. Like “should I do this, or should I do that? I don’t know. They both seem pretty good.” goals can often be a good way to decide in those scenarios.
So, if you’re clear on your goals? Lots of benefits. If you set bigger goals? Well, it’s easier to achieve a goal that’s bigger if you actually set the goal, and getting clearer will help you as well.
[00:15:19] I’ll be recording another episode straight after this one, actually. It’ll come out a little way after on how to achieve your goals faster than you thought possible.
[00:15:27] So, for now, even though I did say, “is your goal realistic?” I would caution you to be careful in the S.M.A.R.T. Section. When you’re going through and deciding what’s realistic, remember that you can be better. You can become better. You can grow as a person and as a business owner. And so what’s realistic for you now might be different from what’s realistic to you in one year, two years, five years, ten years.
[00:15:58] So if you want to become a billionaire, you could set that as your twenty-year goal, and you could have a sub-goal along the way of becoming a millionaire or a ten- millionaire or a hundred-millionaire along the way to the billion.
It’s actually not as far off to achieve to become a billionaire as you might think. Yeah, again, recording a separate episode on how to hit your goals faster than you thought possible. So yes, when you’re doing the S.M.A.R.T. Exercise, be very careful with the realistic filter.
[00:16:31] I would rather you err on the side of something that isn’t realistic, and then you grow as a person in order to achieve it, then aim for something realistic that might not necessarily light a fire under you or spark joy for you.
So you have to think about aiming a bit bigger with your goals, get a bit clearer on your goals, and in the next episode, I’ll talk to you about how to achieve your goals even faster.
[00:17:01] If you have questions about any of this or if you want to talk to me about your goals, you can reach me through www.profitscollective.com. There’s a link there to book a one-on-one call if you’re interested in aiming for bigger goals, getting clearer on your goals, or working out how to achieve them.
That’s all for now. I hope this was helpful. Good luck with your goals. And as always, thank you for listening.
Before you go, two quick things. If this was useful, please give it a review and share it with a friend who it might help. And number two, if you want help from me to unlock growth and profits in your business and greater clarity around your numbers, you can book a call through www.profitscollective.com.
And if we’re not a fit, I’ll point you in the right direction. Thanks again for listening.