Mistakes are an inevitable part of life. Even the most successful people make mistakes after all.
As accounting practice owners, we all make mistakes from time to time.
For instance, I have practice owners coming to me who have made the same mistakes over and over again.
But one mistake lots of accountancy practice owners (and people in general) make is that they set short-term goals without thinking about if or how they link into their long-term goals.
They’ll set quarterly or annual goals but don’t consider how these link into the bigger picture of what they want to achieve in their life or business.
Because let’s face it, there’s no point in setting goals for the next three months if you don’t know what you want to achieve in the next 10 years.
You’ll either end up working towards small goals that don’t actually amount to much in the long-term. Or you’ll be striving to reach goals that don’t help get you towards where you ultimately want to end up in business and in your personal life.
I don’t want you to make this same mistake.
Any and all short-term goals that you set need to be clearly derived from and align with your long-term goals.
And the best way to ensure you’re setting short term goals that are in line with what you want for your future is to start by ensuring you have clear long-term goals set.
So how do you set long-term goals?
You should start by simply dreaming…
Picture your ideal long-term life – both business AND personal (the last bit there is super important, for example there’s no point building a multi-million-pound business if you aren’t fulfilled personally)
I recommend planning for a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years.
A great way to do this is by sitting down with a pen and paper and writing down everything so that it’s clear and right there in front of you, rather than just a bunch of ideas floating around in your head.
When thinking about your business and personal life you should consider what you want it to look like in terms of:
- The size of the business that you’ve created
- The profits you want to achieve in your practice
- The size of the team and the type of people who work for you
- The company culture you’ve created
- The impact you have with your clients
- How much time you spend at work and away from work
- How much time you spend away from work with friends and family
- What your other personal circumstances might be
Once you have a clear picture that includes all of these elements (and more if relevant), you can begin to reverse engineer the goal setting process.
Take a step back from your picture and consider what needs to happen in order to get you there.
Think about it getting in to your car and putting the destination in the satnav.
You know where you want to go, and your satnav then calculates the quickest and easiest route for you to take to get there.
This is exactly how reverse engineering your goals works.
You think about your long-term goals and then reverse engineer the quickest and easiest route to get there with some
Sure, you could just end up in your car and start driving without any real idea of where you want to end up, and you might end up somewhere eventually, but it probably isn’t going to be the exact place that you wanted to be.
So why does reverse-engineering work?
When you work backwards from your bigger goals and think about the small, manageable things you need to do in order to get there it makes everything seem much more achievable.
Smaller goals always seem so much less daunting than large, lofty goals.
For example, if you currently have a team of 5 people in your accountancy practice, thinking about having a team of 40 within the next 5 years might seem ludicrous and totally unachievable.
But, when broken down into goals such as adding 5 team members in year one and another 6 in year two etc, it suddenly seems so much more doable (although it will absolutely still be a lot of hard work).
And, when you start ticking these smaller goals off the list, you’ll be simultaneously working towards your long-term goals.
The more small goals you tick off your list, the closer you get to your big picture goals.
If you need help with getting started on planning your business goals, my simple one-page strategic planning template (that actually works!) is a great place to begin. Click here to begin setting your long term goals and working towards them.
Will yo be reverse engineering your way towards your goals?