As part of the ongoing Coworking Council webinar series, Global Workspace Association members enjoyed hearing from Vince Carone and Cassi Niekamp of Cultivate Advisors. Cultivate Advisors provides mentorship and strategic planning for small businesses, including helping to coordinate and conduct member training events. Their company surveys coworking space members to help determine everything from the topic of a potential event to the logistics of putting on a successful training seminar.

During the webinar, Carone discussed goal- and focus-setting for 2018, and how coworking businesses can break down their business goals into manageable, measurable chunks.

Why do resolutions fail?

Business goals tend to fail for the same reason New Year’s resolutions fail.

  • Expectations are not realistic.
  • The goal is undefined.
  • You don’t have the right mindset.
  • Time management skills are lacking.
  • You are living distracted.

Carone explained how addressing these problems can make a set of business goals (or New Year’s resolutions) more successful and attainable. Among other examples, he used the acronym SMART to explain what goals should look like—shared, measured, actionable, realistic, and time-phased. Having SMART goals and replacing setups for failure with setups for success puts business goals within reach.

Carone gave five characteristics of successful goals.

  1. Successful goals specify a desired outcome

Carone said you don’t need a big budget to succeed—but you do need a specific outcome that you keep in mind. This goal should be something you can achieve realistically in a specified amount of time, but also something you can measure with data or some other kind of objective feedback.

Although data is useful, Carone also cautioned that it only helps your business if you’re able to interpret the data in a meaningful, helpful way. If you don’t have business data, begin collecting it, but you can use Google averages for similar businesses in your area to get a baseline.

  1. Successful goals identify potential obstacles.

Part of SMART goals is choosing something realistic, and that can be as simple as knowing whether there will be too many obstacles to achieve a certain goal. If so, you may need to opt for something smaller to start with. Goals are only helpful if they are attainable.

  1. Successful goals seek accountability.

This characteristic is the “S” in SMART goals—shared. It’s more difficult to back out, forget about, or fudge on something you’ve talked about with others or written on the office whiteboard (or both). Carone also said it’s important to keep revisiting your goals as a business in order to be continually adjusting your behavior in order to stay on track in meeting those goals.

  1. Successful goals offer a plan B.

Carone explained that the determining factor between success and failure for business goals often comes down to how much the business is willing to adapt and modify its actions from month to month to stay on track. Always be willing to modify your plan if it isn’t working, and make sure you evaluate your progress regularly enough that you know what’s working and what isn’t.

  1. Successful goals take a disciplined approach.

“The pain of regret is worse than the pain of discipline,” Carone said. While staying on track to meet your goals may require a lot of hard, painful effort, it will feel worse to look back at 2018 next January and wish you’d done more to reach your goals.

The Planning Filter

Carone also offered a five-step plan for filtering down into a goal you can meet in the next year.

  1. Think about the why.

Why are you doing what you’re doing? What is the vision—the why—behind your business? What is your 4–6 item “bucket list” of priorities right now—professionally and personally? These are the things you should be spending your time on.

  1. Establish macro goals.

What is your initial goal for this next year (or other chosen timeline) of business? What profit figure do you want to reach?

  1. Break down your control metrics.

How much do you need to sell in order to get to your target net profit? From there, break down how many spaces you need to sell, or how many in a month, week, or day. Calculating down as far as possible will give you your micro goals.

  1. Set your micro goals on a schedule.

The smallest goals from step 3 should go onto a calendar that you check in with regularly to see if you are meeting them. For example, if you needed to sell a certain dollar amount in January, you should check in February whether you met it or not. If not, change your strategy. Treat every micro goal—no matter how small—like a macro goal. Eventually, they will become second nature.

  1. Self-coach and review.

Believe in your business plan—all aspects of it—as strongly as you believed in the original idea of your business. At the same time, be willing to go back to the drawing board and reevaluate and change your goals, if needed.

At the end of the webinar Q&A, participants were encouraged to write down two macro goals before leaving the webinar, in order to get them started on goal setting and business planning for a successful 2018.

To find out more about how you can learn from Cultivate Advisors at no cost to you, click here.

This webinar is part of an on-going series available to members of the Global Workspace Association. In addition to invitations to all webinars, which allows for participation in the Q&A sessions, members also have access to recordings of all previous webinars. To view the full version of this webinar, with all the examples, explanation, and Q&A from Carone and Niekamp, sign up to become a member. You can join the Global Workspace Association by going here.

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