Goal setting for Tradies – Short vs Long term goals

Long-term goals and short-term goals for trade business.

What’s the difference? Which ones do you need?

Everybody talks about goals, don’t they? They’re important in business because they give you focus and direction. 

The reason that’s important is that if you don’t aim somewhere specific, there’s a great danger.

You won’t go anywhere. You might go around in circles. You might go somewhere you didn’t want to go. You might not go anywhere at all.

I’d like to use a couple of real-life stories to explain this. 

Stories About The Importance Of Goals

The first one – People who get lost in snow storms, in dense fog or in pine forests where everything looks the same, often go around in a big fat circle.

You can’t see where you’re going and you can’t see that you’re going in a straight line. You tend to go around like that and then back where you started — that’s the observed fact.

The reason is that people can’t see where they’re going. They can’t see that they’re going in a straight line.

The second story – remember Bear Grylls on that TV show Man vs. Wild? He gets helicoptered into the wilderness and he has to get out.

Obviously, the fun part of it is watching him drinking his own piss but the thing I want to talk about is the first thing he always does is climb a tree or a rock or a hill and binds a landmark to a map and he aims there. And on his way he keeps going high again to check and look at his landmark and make sure he’s still heading in the right direction.

In the snowstorm, there is the absence of a long-distance landmark and for Bear Grylls the necessity is to find a long distance landmark.

In a snowstorm, you go round in circles. Bear Grylls always sought for one.

It’s important in trade business to have a distant goal. It’s what you’re aiming at. 

You should have identified your long-distance 3-year goal of where you want to be.

It can be a bit blurry because it’s distant but you should know where you want to go. 

Long-term Goals Vs Short-term Goals

My coaching clients have a 3-year goal – that’s the distant landmark for them and that’s the first thing we do in our coaching program. We get some clarity around that. 

It should excite you. It should make you feel like all the work you’re doing is worthwhile. It should make you proud. It should be something you actually want – you get up in the morning and be focused on work.

We describe our goal in terms of money and in terms of involvement in their business. 

They usually want to be bigger, more profitable, and to have the business less dependent on them.

They usually want to do more work they’re proud of, do the right thing by their customers and do the right thing by the people who work for them, as well.

And I’m imagining that’s probably true for you. It’s true for me.

We all want to build this business that we’re proud of, that makes us happy. And it’s different for everybody but broadly similar too.

So that’s my customer’s long-term distant goal. If you don’t have one we probably should spend a bit of time thinking about getting one.

You should check in with your goal from time to time to make sure it’s still what you want and that you’re still heading in the right direction.

You should use it to influence what you do. All decisions should be made with that in mind. 

‘Is this going to get me closer to my goal? Is this going to get my business closer to that goal?’ 

And of course, it’s the first part of your strategy.

Now your strategy is your plan for how you’re going to get from here today to that beautiful 3 year goal.

It’s a topic for another day but that’s what a strategy is.

There is a problem with long-term goals though. Remember my partner Michelle is a psychologist with expertise in success psychology? And psychologists tell us that long-term goals can leave us unmotivated.

If they’re too distant, unreachable or they seem too far away, even though they’re incredibly motivating, you can be left feeling like you’ll never get there or like you’ve barely made a dent in that enormous journey to get there.

Recommended Reading: Watch Out For Magpie Syndrome – Stay Focused On Your Plan

That can leave you feeling demotivated and fed up and it can leave you not wanting to do the work.

There are a few things you can do about this to counter that demotivating effect.

  1. You can have short-term goals that you can actually achieve. The emotional reward for achieving your goal is very important in keeping you motivated and keeping you going. You should have short-term goals along the way. 
  2. You can monitor your progress and you should monitor your business growth. You should monitor your profitability and whatever numbers and statistics are meaningful and helpful in your business. You can tick things off your strategy because a strategy is a list of jobs.
  3.  You can stop from time to time and look back at how far you’ve come. Remind yourself where you were six months or a year ago and see that you’ve made progress towards your distant and unmotivating far away goal.

These 3 things are important.

  1. Short-term goals;
  2. Monitoring progress; and 
  3. Looking back to see how far you’ve come

They help you to stay motivated and they help you know you’re actually making progress.

My clients in the Tradies Toolbox Coaching program all do these. 

  • Monitor progress with our Big Numbers Tracker — we track gross, revenue and profit and profitability; 
  • Look at our strategy and we tick off what we’ve completed; 
  • Set a 3-month plan — we monitor it which brings us into focus. It gives us a short-term goal that we can actually achieve in a meaningful short time, 3 months.

So if you think that sounds helpful to you, there are things you can do to investigate business coaching further.

There are four ways you can engage with me:

1. Subscribe to these emails and get them once a week in your inbox so you never miss a video from me.

2. Join the Trades Business Toolshed Facebook Group where you can watch these videos, ask me questions or talk to your peers.

3. Attend my next Tradie Profit Webinar.

4. Book yourself a 10-minute chat with me. We’ll talk about whether coaching is right for you now and if it is, we’ll go further into the process before you have to make your mind up.

See you later.

Click here to book a money maker call with Jon.