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Bookkeeping Business Secrets for Goal-Setting Success

Jul 27, 2008
Goal setting is crucial to the success of any business, but is particularly important for entrepreneurs in the bookkeeping service business who can become distracted with multiple priorities. Goal setting allows us to be proactive, instead of just being reactive. We've all had days where we leap from one crisis to another, but we know that's not a preferred mode of operation for our bookkeeping services! Goals direct actions, give us something to aim for, and serve as a yardstick for measuring our bookkeeping business's success.

When setting business goals, I use a successful goal-setting formula that a business coach
mentor taught me. The formula incorporates a strategy or strategies for accomplishing the goal: "I will (goal + performance measure) by (specific actions)."

For example, suppose that you want to increase revenue. First specify the goal: "I will increase revenue this month by twenty-five percent." Setting a specific goal builds in the criteria you will use to evaluate your success.

In this case, at the end of the month, you'll either have increased sales by twenty-five percent compared to the previous month or not. Then, specify the strategy that you will use to work towards accomplishing the goal: "I will increase sales this month by twenty-five percent by offering a ten-percent-off sale on all inventory and advertising this sale in the local newspapers."

This makes evaluating your success or failure easy because your goal is specific rather than general. Suddenly, instead of just having a goal that you may or may not achieve, you have a specific plan to follow to achieve the goal you have set.

If you avoid setting goals, here are a few bookkeeping business secrets for goal-setting success:

Bookkeeping Business Secret #1: Have Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

The first thing I do when setting goals is to consider where I would like to be five years from now. Once I have determined my long-term goal or ideal scene, I work backwards by breaking this ideal scene down into short-term goals and specifying milestones that need to be achieved along the way.

If the task seems too daunting with a five-year plan, establish 90-day goals. Limit goals to three specific things that you want to accomplish. Write out each goal and put a due date next to it. Then write out each step that needs to be taken, by when, and what type of support you need to accomplish that goal. Then schedule in your calendar time to honor the commitment you just made to yourself.

Bookkeeping Business Secret #2: Be Relevant

Goals should help you attain a specific aim. Beware of goals that keep you busy but do not contribute directly to the overall goal you have set for yourself and the success of your bookkeeping business. If you don't believe your goals are worthwhile, you won't make the necessary effort to achieve them. For example, several years ago I wanted to work a four-day work week. I set the goal, but did not really believe that I could or should work only four days a week. Guess what? It never happened because I was not truly aligned with the goal.

Bookkeeping Business Secret #3: Review Your Goals Constantly

Review your goals daily. Keep them in plain view - by your desk or next to your computer. Goals are not something that you write down and file in a drawer. The more you embody your goals, the more real they become and the more aware you are of opportunities that cross your path to help you achieve those goals.

I write my goals on colorful 4x6 index cards and keep them by my bedside. I read them first thing each morning and then again before I go to sleep at night. This keeps me focused and moving toward my goals.

Bookkeeping Business Secret #4: Stay on Track

Once you establish clear goals you will begin to notice that opportunities begin to present themselves. When this happens, I ask myself a very important question which helps me to decide whether I should look further into the opportunity or let it go - "Does this opportunity bring me closer to my goal or further away from it?"

By asking yourself this simple question, you'll be able to take decisive action towards accomplishing your goals. For example, a lovely salesperson from ADP has been calling me to schedule a meeting to show me their services and how they have changed. By asking myself, "Does this opportunity bring me closer to my goal or further away from it?" I have no problem deciding whether or not I should schedule the meeting.
About the Author
Linda Hunt and Laurie O'Neil are the co-founders of The Bookkeeper's Referral
Network Inc., the place where business meets great bookkeepers. To get your
copy of The 9 Disastrous Mistakes Most Freelance Bookkeeper's Make in
Business (and How You Can Avoid Them!) visit http://www.bkpr-network.com
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