Setting your sights for the future can be a challenge. As a small business owner, you probably have a lot on your mind already, juggling the day-to-day as you try to get done what you need to do. You know all about milestones and deadlines and goals, and after a while, they all seem to mean the same thing. But do they?
In case you don’t know, milestones are smaller steps to a larger goal. They’re fabulous for reinforcing positivity and keeping your sights set on reaching that goal. So, let’s say you have a goal to end your quarter with $2,500 in profits. Since that can practically take forever (3 months is forever in my book) marking those bite-size milestones can keep you positive and keep you focused.
Milestones also don’t need to be set in stone, no pun intended. That being said, you usually don’t set a milestone in advance, because then otherwise it would just be a goal!
Goals are the oasis you see on the horizon, the shiny beacon that says, “Hey, you did it.” Goals can be short-term or long-term, small or large, and anything your heart desires for your business.
Let’s return to that end-of-the-quarter goal of raking in $2,500 in profit. While it’s very easy to pick a goal willy-nilly, most likely a goal such at that is based on previous success and a good understanding of your business’s earnings. A good goal can (and should) be a little higher than what you’re used to, but that’s good, because a goal should push you as well.
If you’re ever unsure how to define your goals, or what to set as a goal, consider what you want to get out of your business in the long run. Your desires for your business can most certainly be set as goals, and they can literally be just about anything. You just have to think positively.
A deadline is like the Mr. Hyde to a goal’s Dr. Jekyll—they’re similar in a lot of ways, but a deadline comes with a cloud over it, drizzling negativity over your parade. Of course, that’s not always true, but when you attach a deadline to your goal, it can make that goal a bit more sincere and not at all fun.
Deadlines are the set date to accomplish a goal by; sometimes there’s wiggle room, sometimes there’s not. It’s also important to know that not every goal needs a deadline. In fact, deadlines are perhaps their most crucial if you’re working with several people on a goal, but you can definitely set one if you’re flying solo.
If you’re ever concerned about hitting a deadline, taking a step back and acknowledging those milestones along the way can help keep you stress-free. You can check in with your progress, evaluate whether you’re on your way to hitting your target, and keep full control along the way.
Milestones, Deadlines, and Goals – Three Becomes One
It’s not hard to conclude that milestones, deadlines, and goals all work together to get things done. Really, they’re all parts of a mission, coming together to keep you grounded.
As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly working towards the future, and goals are an inevitable part of that process. Setting deadlines, acknowledging those milestones—they exist to make sure you eventually make it to a goal. All it takes is patience and a good work ethic, but as a small business owner, you come packaged with those skills anyway.