As a business coach, I’ve found that goal-setting isn’t a foreign strategy for Black women entrepreneurs – in fact, it’s commonly accepted that goal-setting and strategic planning are critical for business growth. However, few small business owners take the time to set goals effectively, and many fail to engage in accountability rituals that help them reach their goals.
At the Sistahbiz Goal Digger Retreat, a business planning getaway designed to help Black women set powerful goals that help grow their businesses, I talk about avoiding common barriers to reaching goals. I call these barriers “goal trolls” because they serve as distractions, derailers, and straight up “haters” that get in the way of your ultimate success.
Here are the goal trolls I see most often:
- Troll 1: Goals that are disconnected from a powerful vision or a thoughtful theory of action and strategy. These types of goals tend to be lots of doing with no real point. Entrepreneurs can quickly find themselves feeling like they are on a hamster wheel with no results or scattered with no focused outcome.
- Troll 2: Goals with no action plan. These types of goals tend to sit on the shelf looking real pretty, with no execution.
- Troll 3: Goal overload. These types of goals can be thoughtful, strategic, or well planned – but there are too many of them. The entrepreneur is overwhelmed and pulled in too many directions at once.
- Troll 4: Goals that are not inspiring or bold! These goals are the ones that entrepreneurs procrastinate on because they aren’t fulfilling or purposeful.
- Troll 5: Goals that someone else created for you or that you borrowed. These goals are the ones that you might have no real commitment to because they belong to someone else, so they never got the mental and emotional commitment they needed in ideation to be completed.
- Troll 6: Wearing many hats and having distractions to building powerful daily momentum! This one is common given the realities of the life of a solopreneur or micro-enterprise. The solopreneur who fails to plan for automation, delegation, systematization, and narrow focus often experiences this troll.
But how do we deal with goal trolls?
It’s important for entrepreneurs to plan sacred time during the 4th quarter to get away , review the year’s data, reflect on the business performance of the past year, and plan for the upcoming year. When setting goals that take your business to the next level, you should utilize a process that helps you set specific and direct goals, but you also need a plan that resists goal trolls. Here’s a recommended plan of action for getting away to plan and set goals.
Most importantly, plan a retreat to get all of this done! Your strategic planning retreat should include4 phases. A phase can last a couple of hours, a half day, or a full day – depending on how long your retreat is. If possible, reserve a hotel room or AirBNB rental for 1-2 nights. Pack your laptop, sticky notes, quickbooks numbers for the past year, budget, strategic plan, and written goals from the past year. If you’re able, take a flip chart and markers too.
PHASE ONE: REST
Take time to restore yourself and just get settled, quiet, and present. Helpful activities for this phase include prayer, meditation, sitting on the beach, exercising, yoga, or sleeping. If you’re away for more than a couple of days, make these activities a part of your daily routine between planning sessions. Try to avoid television, texting, and social media. This phase is important because helps you to get clear, release stress, tune in and open up to creative ideas, and get focused for planning.
PHASE TWO: REVIEW
Take time to look over customer and sales data, remember your original goals for this data, and observe the projections vs. the actual performance. How did you do? Don’t try to change anything. Just get clear on where the business is and how it has performed.
During the review phase, write down a list of achievements – specifically, things that you accomplished with the business. Also, write down a list of core things that did not get done as planned. Finally, write down major frustrations or mishaps, particularly those that are repeated often and not yet resolved.
PHASE THREE: REIMAGINE
Write your goals for the new year and think about fresh new ways to conquer the things that served as barriers to your success this year. Reimagine ways to accomplish the items that didn’t get done this past year. Write down your core strategies and your top 3-5 goals for business areas like sales, operations, and human resources. Write down the actual metric that you will track to measure success in each area.
PHASE FOUR: RESET
Reset by reviewing the game plan, posting it visibly somewhere and praying or meditating on the plan for the remainder of the time. Finally, make a list of goals that you have for self-care. Without it, you will find it hard to be a high-performance entrepreneur. Write yourself an email about your self care plan and your promises to yourself overall, and schedule the email for 90 day delivery.
If you’re able to get away for some time, set up a poster board and sticky notes when you arrive, so you can let ideas flow and post ideas and affirmations all over the place during your away time. Allow your quiet time to be a space for ideas and innovation to flow.
GOAL DIGGER RETREAT
Every year, our sistahpreneurs gather for the annual Goal Digger Retreat, where participants can set goals with business coaches and strategic planners onsite to facilitate and support. It’s all there: steps, tools, guides, and most of all, the time and support. Participants give each other peer feedback and help each other think through ideas and challenges. The retreat is an annual getaway where the normally-swamped solopreneur or small business owner can find the time to get their upcoming business year organized and snatched. Registration for the retreat opens every year in October and closes November 30.
Makisha Boothe is business coach and founder of Sistahbiz Global Network. She specializes in rapid improvement and innovation, and helps women with business design and scale. Learn more about the Sistahpreneurs at www.sistah.biz.
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