No one likes to fail and a fear of failure keeps many of us up at night tossing and turning. But, your fear of failure is holding you back and subconsciously preventing you from achieving all that you could. And especially for small business owners, that means everything. SMART goals for business help give specific direction and action to help you achieve your small business goals. Taking action is the only way to overcome your fear of failure, and implementing SMART goals is the battle plan you need to succeed.
Implementing SMART Goals for Success
Once you start to change how you view the world around you, failure doesn’t seem as big of a deal. As small business owners, your livelihood and your ability to pay your bills rests on your ability to generate consistent revenue, and that’s a lot of pressure. Having a solid plan in place will help relieve some of the pressure, as well as to measure your success and give you a visual to hold yourself accountable.
T: Time- bound
These goals will help you structure any project or task you need to complete in your small business. Using this process will put the ideas or abstract concepts in your head into concrete plans.
Smartsheet.com actually has a great document all laid out for you to easily order and fill in your personal SMART goals you have for your small business. Download the SMART Goals template, print it, and then put it somewhere you’ll see it everyday!
Specifically lay out what your goals are. Your goals should include the who, what, when, where, which, and why involved. Make your goals demonstrable and write them with strong action words that can be provable. Use this section to set up your mission statement for the rest of your project or task.
Set up a calendar with specific benchmarks you will meet by a certain time and check them off as you go. Seeing your plan laid out and then accomplishing a specific task will help keep you motivated and focused on your goals. It’s not just an idea anymore, there is tangible or concrete actions that need to be met.
This is the “how are you gonna do it” goal. What skills, knowledge, and tools do you already have to help accomplish your goals and what ones do you need to learn or develop? This is where you take action and motivate yourself to do what needs to be done.
This section helps keep your goals aligned to to business mission and keeps your goals practical. You want to make sure that your goals are within your reach as a small business and achievable within your industry. Of course there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious (that’s a necessary trait for any successful small business owner), but the trouble comes when ambition crosses that delicate line into fantasy. I’m not saying you shouldn’t chase your dreams, but just set up parameters to make sure you’re able to make that dreams realities.
It’s easy to sit back and talk about your plans, but it takes real effort to turn them into realities. Setting and holding yourself to a specific time table is one of the hardest, but most important parts of accomplishing your goals. Estimate how long a project or task should take to complete and then everyday work on accomplishing it. Keeping a schedule will cut down on distractions and attach a specific purpose to your work day.
Addressing Fear of Failure
Your fear of failure is all mental, and if you redefine how you process failure, you’ll see it’s negative side effects diminish. A pessimistic mindset is directly correlated to failure. Subconsciously or consciously, you may hold back because you feel inadequate, be reluctant to make decisions, or hold yourself and your team to a perfectionist standard. You’re sabotaging yourself and your small business’ success by giving power to your fear of failure.
The first step in addressing your fear of failure is changing your mental state. This is easier said than done and will take repeated effort.
The commonly practiced methods that follow have helped many move forward and overcome their fear of failure:
1. A Good Things Jar
Everyday, (literally everyday) write down on a slip of paper one good thing that happened during your day, or one good thing you did that day. It doesn’t always have to be a monumental action. On bad days, sometimes the good thing can be something like, “the coffee in the break room was really good today.”
Learning to see the positives, both small and big, will continually work to reset how you process your daily life. Positivity needs to be an active choice in your life, and this will only work if you actually put effort into it.
I’m not saying you need to sit cross-legged on the floor and hold your hands in a certain position to do this. Meditation is simply a time to clear your mind of distractions, so do this in a way that’s best for you.
Some meditation chooses to focus on a single idea (positivity, success, self-worth) and some meditation chooses to focus on nothing at all. You’re brain is always racing to make connections and think though scenarios, so you’ll repeatedly need to bring back your thoughts to that one specific idea you had going into it. All you need to 5-10 minutes of uninterrupted time to yourself to de-stress and let your anxiety go. Just take some time to truly relax!
To help get you started:
- Make it a routine (same time, same place etc.)
- Focus on your breathing (in through the nose and out through the mouth)
- Get a stress ball or listen to nature sounds like water or wind.
Our life experiences, personality, and our mental state affect how we see the world. Two people can view the same event in completely different lights and have drastically different experiences. If you know you have a fear of failure or tend to view things in a “negative first” manner, try to understand how someone else might view the same situation. Take a third person view of the situation and look for the positives first.
There are positives in every situation, no matter how dire it may seem, they just take some time to find. That is a belief you need to except to overcome your fear of failure. If you go looking for failure and negativity, you’ll find it easily (anyone can see the negatives in a situation). Similarly, if you focus your energy on finding the positives, you will.
Fear of failure is a common problem for many people and can hit small business owners hard. However, if you take charge of that fear, redefine it, and create a plan to achieve your goals, you can work to minimize those fears. SMART goals are designed to overcome the fear hurdles that are slowing your down in your business growth and success. Use the SMART goal tips above to redefine your small business success and see how it will impact other areas of your life as well.