The journey of a thousand miles, as Lao Tzu said, begins with a single step. This ancient wisdom also applies to the world of small business where the prospect of starting a business from scratch, building a business over the long term, and achieving small business success, can often overshadow the significance and value of short-term objectives.
I often preach, play the long game. Start with the vision and work backwards to your daily task list. This works well but sometimes steps in the middle, such as quarterly or monthly goals, get missed. These short-term goals are important, for small business owners as well as their employees, to pay attention to but often get put on the back burner to make time and energy for the daily firefighting.
Short-term goals serve as a powerful catalyst for long term success, providing positive pressure and motivation that can move small business owners towards their vision. Specific and challenging goals lead to higher performance compared to easy or vague goals. Short-term goals, defined as objectives achievable within a year or less, offer immediate feedback and motivation, allowing business owners to adjust strategies and maintain momentum.
For employees, the benefits are just as great!
- The immediacy of short-term goals provides a sense of urgency, creating positive pressure that can motivate employee action and foster a culture of achievement within the organization.
- Short-term goals can also enhance one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed. Achieving them can boost employee confidence, reinforcing the belief that larger objectives are attainable. As motivational guru Tony Robbins once said, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
- Short-term goals can serve as steppingstones towards long-term objectives, breaking down complex tasks into manageable parts. Known as “chunking,” this process can reduce mental stress and improve employee productivity. It also allows one to leave their comfort zone much more easily. Only through discomfort can we achieve more.
“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” – Brian Tracy