... where visionaries, game changers, and challengers discuss business models
The goals of a small business owner have to jive with their personal goals in life. They are inseparable and despite all the books telling you otherwise I have never worked with an entrepreneur who could (or should!) separate them.
This does not mean that your personal goals are always measured in dollars. Or, that one of your business goals should be to learn yoga! What it does mean is that a clear understanding of what you want in life should be expressed through the goals of your business. Perhaps an example is the best way to show it.
Joan is an event manager (working as a network specialist in a bank when she came to me) who started her own company with my assistance. Initially, her stated goals for her business were the following:
This all looks fine and dandy but when I chatted with Joan and we discussed what it would take to reach these goals, things started to change. From a start-up position, to reach the goals she had listed, Joan would have to be working very hard. I was thinking 12 hour days on average. Since this type of growth would have to be supported by either Joan actively selling or hiring someone else to do the selling, she would have to bring on new people fairly soon and take some financial risks. Joan had a husband and a two year old daughter. Her husband worked in one of the large banks and had a fairly tight schedule himself. This would therefore require putting their daughter in day care as well as having some sort of nanny or other assistance.
We discussed these goals at length and Joan slowly started to understand what was required to achieve her goals. As we discussed it further, it came out that what Joan truly wanted was some sort of long-term, financial independence and not working in the bank. She wanted less bureaucracy, less hectic, some money and more time with her family. Compare those ideas with the goals above!
Through discussion and over time, Joan's goals changed and this is what we ended up with.
A little different than what she originally thought! However, a nice mixture of measurable, realistic, business goals ($'s per year) and life goals (time with her daughter). Joan's small business and her personal life, while not one and the same, would have to co-exist for the entire time she had her business. It would be silly to separate the two because they would affect each other so dramatically.
Setting your business/personal goals is the most important step in the Solopreneur Business Model Pyramid. Everything flows from those goals. Everything must be in sync with those goals. Everything must be cross-examined with those goals in mind.
Your goals over time and indeed, even during the initial goal-setting exercise, will change. That is not bad. However, it is absolutely critical that you know what you are shooting for and what it means if you actually achieve it. There is a reason many of us are not world class athletes. At one point in our lives we decided that the idea of working out eight hours a day was not something we wanted to do. In other words, a medal was not worth that sacrifice. However, if a medal (or a million dollars) is what you desperately want, set your goals appropriately and understand what it will take to achieve them.