By: Jenna Fitzgerald, Market Analysis Intern
Despite the varied causes social entrepreneurs stand for, they all seem to have one major thing in common: vision. These visions for the future include their individual purpose, the impact they wish to have on society, and the values they hope to embody throughout the arduous process. However, visions can oftentimes be too lofty, generic, or vague without a corresponding action plan to map your pathway to success.
Setting goals for the short- and long-term is essential for entrepreneurs who want to see measurable results in the creation and evolution of their business ventures. Proceeding without a set list of achievable goals can seem disorganized and discourage customers and other professionals in your network from working with you. Ultimately, basing your venture’s success on impulsive decisions rather than thought-out goals is risky. Whenever possible, value a structured plan and timeline over hit-or-miss whim and instinct.
To help convince you further, I have compiled a list of benefits that arise from setting and following your customizable action plan:
1. Defining Goals Provides Clarity
Thinking critically about your business venture’s short- and long-term goals will help measure your progress along the way. Simply knowing what you want will keep you focused on pursuing those specific goals. Having a thoughtful list of objectives you hope to accomplish will provide you with clearer focus in achieving your goals and will propel you forward in the process. Some goal-setting experts advocate for the SMART system as a great place to start:
+ S – Specific
+ M – Measurable
+ A – Achievable
+ R – Realistic
+ T – Timely
Rather than stating you want to impact more people in your local community, specify exactly how many more lives you hope to impact. Rather than simply desiring to increase your earnings, specify by exactly what percent you wish to increase your revenues. Set a reasonable timeframe within which you hope to track your progress and you will reap the benefits of setting concrete and focused goals.
- Time-Management Becomes a Priority
Many entrepreneurs struggle to find their ideal balance between work and their personal lives. Goal-setting is crucial in identifying the small tasks you can accomplish daily in order to ultimately achieve your long-term objectives. Review your goals and plans regularly, allowing yourself to edit and update as necessary. Even making a weekly or monthly appointment with yourself can help keep you within your desired timeframe and eliminate small setbacks or unwanted surprises in the process. Having a clear concept of your goals makes time-management easier (and more exciting) to approach because with your goals defined, you will regularly be spending time pursuing your passions. Using your time effectively and pouring your energy into things that matter to you is crucial. Gaining perspective makes priorities manageable and exciting to tackle head on!
After defining your goals, you get to work intently on carving a path to achieving them! Knowing what you are passionate about is important, but the process of getting there is pivotal. Having an intentional plan in pursuing our goals leads us to having a free and creative heart. Rather than stressing over minor details and letting self-doubt hinder productivity, you will want to dedicate yourself to your venture creatively and innovatively. Studies show that being purposeful decreases the likelihood of demotivation, procrastination, or general burnout from #startuplife. However, entrepreneurship is all about blazing new trails, and the key to success is mapping out the best ways to let your creativity shine.
- Accountability Becomes Hard to Ignore
By physically typing out or writing down what you are working toward, you are able to keep yourself accountable. Continuously ask yourself if your small goals are contributing to your ultimate success will provide you with a clearer idea of what is truly working and what is not. As an entrepreneur, trial and error is part of the journey. If you are not reaching your goals, simply ask yourself if your goals are realistic. Be honest with yourself! Sometimes the fix can be as simple as readjusting the timeframe within which you want to accomplish your goals. By being open to this insight, you allow yourself time to re-assess your path and brainstorm what might be a better way of accomplishing your goals.
- Goal Setting Fosters Self-Confidence
Goal setting is an awesome way of intensifying our personal ambition. Not only does it provide us with clear, definite steps while achieving our goals, it convinces us that anything we set our minds to is possible with enough hard work and dedication. Crossing off tasks from your daily to-do list indubitably boosts your spirit when entrepreneurship can feel impossible.
Goal setting allows us to slowly see all the progress we have made and how far we have come on our paths to achieving our aspirations. Little by little, the weight of your goals will seem non-existent because they are something you work on constantly and courageously. Studies show that feeling more self-confidence while pursuing a business venture can maximize your networking potential, decrease stress levels, and increase accountability because of the upsurge in responsibility you feel for making or breaking your venture’s success.
- Goals Help Us to Live a Satisfied Life
Setting goals for yourself ensures that you feel a higher sense of satisfaction with the direction your business and your management skills are taking. Practice makes perfect, and implementing goal-setting and positive thinking every day can make a world of difference in affecting the social cause you feel passionately about. When you are able to lead a truly satisfied life, you are able to make an ever bigger impact on their community – the ultimate goal of every social entrepreneur!
Take some time for yourself today. Sit down with your morning cup of coffee, clear your mind, and ask yourself what you want in order to maximize your personal and professional vision. How will you be intentional and clearly target the goals you wish you accomplish? What are you going to do to make today (and everyday) a meaningful step towards success?
Dreamers: SEED SPOT wants your input! What seemingly impossible tasks were you able to accomplish through focused goal-setting? What routines helped to make that happen? Comment below or private message us to tell us of your successes.
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