When entrepreneurs set up their businesses the journey usually starts with a dream. Not a dream in the in the sense of “I had a dream last night….” but more of a vision about how their business idea will make them successful and wealthy. And successful and wealthy can have a different interpretation for every one of us but is usually represented, largely, by material value. For some this value might be quite modest whilst for others it is significant. To both have a dream and understand how it is tangibly represented is really important as it creates the vision of how we would like our world to be in the future, thereby creating a desire for us to turn this into reality.
So how can we turn the dream into reality? Well, in theory, the simple answer is we must translate it into specific goals or objectives that we can aim at. In practice, though, it is a little more complicated and to help here are three key principles we can apply to help us.
The first is SMART – a well-established tool that can be used to plan and achieve your goals. There are plenty of sources of information about what the acronym stands for and applying it to a fairly general objective or goal will bring definition, numerical targets, clarity and understanding about what exactly you are trying to achieve within a given time frame.
The second is GOAL SETTING – as human beings, generally, we are only good at predicting what will happen a short time ahead. Asked what are doing in a month’s time we will have a good idea; asked what we are doing in 12 months’ time we might have some idea; asked what we are doing in 3 years’ time and we would likely be somewhat vague. So that is why, when considering our goals or objectives we should break them down into short, medium and long term. If we can define and be clear about how we achieve the goals in our short-term plan, we will have a great platform to expand on and build our medium-term plan and from there our long-term plan. If your company’s 5-year goal is to achieve a Net Value of £500k, wouldn’t it be great to know precisely what you have to do in the next 3 months to be on track to achieve it?
Thirdly, we must consider whether our business objectives synergise with our personal objectives as this is vitally important to create the sustained commitment to succeed. If your business objective is to grow into a national corporate with a net value of £1m within 5 years and your personal objective is to work part-time and pursue several different hobbies, then the two are likely to create disharmony fairly quickly. Avoiding this kind of mismatch, however, is not impossible but, to do this, requires an in depth understanding of your Business Model and how it must evolve in the future. Creating a Business Model Canvass, a concept originally proposed by Alexander Osterwalder in 2005, is now a recognised strategic management tool to achieve this. My next article will give more insight into how this can be applied to your business.
Guest post contributed by Jerry Irving of Thameside Enterprise