Goals versus Directions

Are you setting goals for your small to mid-sized business or a direction?

Goals are very specific metrics that tell you that by a certain time period you will achieve well-designed things.  A certain number of clients, a specific amount of revenue or a profit margin that has grown from the prior period.

A direction is different. It is a way of saying that you are
Moving in the right direction
heading toward something and that it will allow you to ride up and down the waves of change. It gives you a TRUE NORTH to orient your movement but it isn’t solely focused on achievement.

Are these distinctions without a difference? In a word, no.
More mature businesses tend to be very goal oriented with metrics and clear KPI’s or key performance indicators. But younger businesses often need to meander toward the place they want to arrive.

For the small to mid-sized business, here are some suggestions on how to productively wander in a direction.

Recognize that what you do may change but why you do it won’t. 
Understanding your motivation can keep you on the path to success. If you are passionate about fitness, crafts or cooking- the business model may evolve but it always comes back to some aspect of your core interest. Passions for certain type of work tend to last a long time. If you like to write, you may not work for a physical newspaper but you can still write online.

Experimenting can be productive to help you learn about things you can do and things you shouldn’t do. 
Carpenters who take on jobs that are too big learn valuable lessons. Sometimes they realize that they don’t want to build an entire house but want to specialize in doing framing. These opportunity to understand this comes from trying something new. When you head in a direction, you give yourself a chance to experiment because the goal is more focused on getting a clearer vision and better business model. Goal oriented action tends to be more restrictive.

I know when I get there because I have arrived. 
Success is important when you head in a direction that isn’t quite clear. What will it mean to be successful? How will you know that you have achieved what you wanted? The journey, the wandering and the action forward is critical when you are following a direction.

Knowing what success looks like (or feels like) is enormously helpful. If you are successful just by being on the journey, the goals aren’t quite the same. A person who measures their business success solely by money may have a different need then someone who enjoys walking along their chosen path.

Heading in the right direction

Why are you doing what you are doing? Don’t make it difficult on yourself if you know you are heading in the right direction and aren’t yet clear on the goals. Someday they’ll come into focus and you will know you have arrived. 

For now, just keep moving forward.

Note: When I am not moving forward on my own journey, I like to try to unravel some of the mysteries of marketing. If you enjoy these posts, would you consider sharing them with a friend who runs or works at a small to mid-sized business? Just use the sharing tools right below this note. Thank you. 


Labels: , ,