When you envisage your business future, does it feel like there’s a yawning chasm between where you are now and where you hope to be?

If so, it’s not uncommon. But it’s also easy to fix with clear goal setting and a step-by-step plan of action.

Here’s how you can go about getting from A to Z using simple yet proven strategies to chart a clear path from where you are now to where you want to be.

Set clear goals

If you’re looking to take your business (or personal life) from one place to another, it’s important to be clear about what you’re actually seeking to achieve.

This involves setting clear goals, which you write down and regularly refer to. The act of writing them down and having them readily visible keeps the goal front of mind and helps you focus on achieving that aim.

However, it’s not about creating an idle list of wishes pinned to a wall. To ensure these goals are achievable, they need to be SMART.

The art of SMART goals

SMART goals are those which are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. First coined as a phrase in the 1980s, this system allows business to give goals actionable clarity, a time frame and measure progress during implementation.

Importantly, SMART goal setting allows you to think through your objectives considering what, who, why, how, and when.

Create actions

Even SMART goals are just wishes without creating actions or systems that will ensure you achieve them. And arguably creating action is the most important element that helps you get from A to Z.

Atomic Habits author James Clear likens this to the rudders and oars of a small row boat.

The rudder (or goal) is the direction you want to go, the oars determine your progress.

“This metaphor of the rudder and the oars helps clarify the difference between systems and goals. It is an important distinction that shows up everywhere in life,” he notes.

So how does that play out in practice?

Well, if your aim is to get fit, the action or system is the training you do each day.

If your plan is to build a more successful business, the action is the marketing and sales methods you employ to increase your clients and income.

In short, goals help you define where you want to be, actions are the way you get there.


One goal at a time

When it comes to making swift progress from A to Z, one of the biggest mistakes people make is to focus on achieving too many goals at the same time.

Using James Clear’s row boat analogy, flip flopping from one goal to another quickly sees the rudder moving in different directions and has you rowing in circles.

Instead, prioritise the order in which the goals need to be achieved to get to your destination quickly and easily.

Once you’ve achieved one goal, you move onto the next, with your ‘row boat’ staying fixed in the right direction.

It starts with a single step

Consider this: you start the year with a list of resolutions in mind, but the full scope of what you plan to achieve quickly becomes overwhelming and sees you lose focus and motivation.

Instead, it’s important to realise it starts with a single step – one non-negotiable action that you undertake with relentless regularity.

It might be that you get up early. Perhaps you make a to-do list the night before. Or maybe, you schedule 20 minutes for business planning a day.

Regardless of what that single action or step is, it is designed to make the greatest difference in your day in the knowledge good habits then flow on from that step.

These habits help propel you towards your goal and make it more achievable. They then compound to see you making progress from A to Z.

Measure to manage

As you move towards achieving your goal, take the time to measure your progress. This helps ensure you are heading in the direction you want to go and your actions and systems are supporting your plan.

When you measure you can also quickly determine whether there might be a more effective way of achieving your aim.

Coming back to the row boat analogy, it helps you tweak the oar activity so your rudder remains fixed in the right direction.

The final word

Achieving anything worthwhile in life involves finding clarity, setting effective goals and creating and taking the actions to achieve them.

It’s important to break this down into simple manageable steps rather than succumb to a big game plan that’s overwhelming.

If you’re looking to set business goals and create real action that propels you from A to Z in the period ahead, I’m available to assist.

You can book a discovery call with me to determine where you want to go and the activities that will ensure you get there.

Talk Strategy with Clive

With more than 30 years’ experience in mentoring small to medium-sized businesses around Australia. Clive works with company owners and their teams to grow their business and achieve goals through strategic coaching.