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Interiors Business School

Five tips for setting business goals for 2020

Laura Payne-Stanley- business and success coach, joined us for the eporta Masterclass, to discuss securing success in the coming year. Here we discuss five of our biggest takeaways about setting goals for your interior design business that will deliver results.

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The time for new year's resolutions is nearly upon us, and I don't know about you, but this yearly ritual has fallen a little flat for me. I may subconsciously set goals, but even in doing so, I know that they'll be forgotten about by mid-February.

However at this year's Masterclass, I took a lot from the key-note speaker, Laura Payne-Stanley's advice on goal setting, and it's got me thinking maybe I've just been doing it wrong, that there is a way to set goals and deliver them.

Whether personal or business, here are five takeaways to try for your 2020 goal setting.

You need to know what it feels like to be successful.

1. Know what you want, what you really really want.

It sounds obvious right, the purpose of a goal is knowing what you want, but what Laura highlighted is achieving success requires more than that. You have to envisage what that goal looks like, and importantly feels like.

Laura suggested that tools such as guided visualisation are beneficial when it comes to setting goals. It's basically like stepping into the future- you consider who you are, how you feel, and what your life will be like through achieving that goal.

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It's also worth pointing out that success is an individual concept when you're authentically setting goals they are unique to you and your company. It's so easy to discuss your goals with colleagues, your team or your friends, and upon hearing theirs feel like yours is inadequate.

The goals aren't comparable, they are yours alone.

If you aren't failing, how safe are you playing?

2. Are you stretching yourself?

Something I never really considered before is to look at why I'm setting a goal and in what mindset.

Of course the natural response to why do you want more money, a promotion, or more creative time is met with the reasoning 'because it will make my life better'. However, to achieve success, as Laura discussed above, thinking more in-depth about why is an important question.

Considering what mindset you're in when setting a goal is essential, Laura discussed both fixed and growth mindsets. When fixed "we'll only play games we know, we can win."

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However, with a growth mindset, we are more ambitious with our goals, to the point of accepting failure as an option. Now we shouldn't use the word fail, but in this sense, it has positive connotations. Highly successful companies from tech giants to leading design studios all have one thing in common, they learn from their mistakes.

A growth mindset allows us to do just that, stating a desire that is near unattainable means we are continually looking to achieve it, and when we don't, we learn. But the real success is that in trying we inadvertently move the company along.

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Tied in closely with this is motivation, why do we want to change something? Laura described two types of motivation, pain (well actually she calls it arse in the fire) and carrot.

Pain motivation is an incredible catalyst for change, as we try and move quickly to a more comfortable state. In doing so, we make quicker decisions, solve problems faster, become more focused- all great things, but they take energy.

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For example, when the pain of the company books being in the red subsides, and you edge into the black again, you feel more comfortable, and the motivation to continue at pace dwindles.

The carrot motivation is what we discussed earlier- it's in knowing what success will feel like. Strongly envisaging the goal means you remain on the curve to achieve it. This may not deliver such speedy results, but longer-term, it will accomplish the goal.

When we look at the bigger picture, sometimes it's just too big.

3. Bitesize Specificity

There are several reasons why people don't climb Everest in a day, sure because the terrain makes it impossible and your body needs rest, but also because psychologically breaking it into smaller sections means you're mentally more prepared to succeed.

In the same way, making smaller promises to yourself makes them easier to keep. So taking a goal and breaking it down into daily, weekly or quarterly chunks gives you a higher chance at succeeding.

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This also works because strategically knowing what to do next limits the opportunity for blind panic at how many options there are to achieve a goal, which invariably leads to doing none of them.

Making the overarching goal more specific also helps with this, as it allows you to hone in on what's important.

Your mind thinks in a certain way, there is a three-step process to goals- set a goal, achieve it, receive a reward.

4. Good things come to those who work for them.

Maybe it's a British affliction, or perhaps it's just me, but often saying well done to ourselves is the bit we forget. Simply accomplishing a goal isn't enough for our brain; it needs praise.

Whether it's taking an undisturbed minute to revel in your success, through to a well-deserved doughnut at the end of a race - little rewards confirm to the brain that goal-setting is a beneficial process.

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There is no point in doing any of the above if you aren't going to review it.

5. In Hindsight...

The review period can change everything, even the goals themselves. It comes back to the idea that every win, obstacle or milestone is an opportunity for learning. And, that these learnings are always moving your company forward in some way.

Laura recommends setting regular review periods at an interval of 90 days, but you can change the regularity to suit your business and the speed at which you need to see change.

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Successful companies are agile, utilising these review periods to pivot direction by changing goals that focus on the wrong thing, or reacting to more critical objectives that you've uncovered in the process.

For example, setting out to grow your companies revenue by 'x%', but in doing so realising you need more streamlined project management tools to save you time, or that you need to hire a new team member to help.

It also goes without saying that the review period is a brilliant way to carve out time for rewards too, and in doing so, train your brain to carry on with this successful goal-setting behaviour.

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For more advice from Laura on how to set goals and make them happen, watch the highlights from her talk at the eporta Masterclass.

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