New Year goals – good idea or not?

It’s January and everyone in the personal development world is urging you to set goals.

I have to admit that every January, when I see the old chestnuts ‘SMART* goals’ and ‘New Year, New You’, my heart does sink a little.

Some years I’m not ready to make any meaningful goals on January the 1st – it’s dark, it’s cold and getting back to normality after Christmas and New Year is like getting up in the morning. I need a gentle start, and a goal setting exercise feels more like a cold shower!

And every year the new me looks just the same as the old me!

So if you’re feeling more “urgh” than “hell yes!” about setting yourself goals this January, here are some things to think about…

Plucking a number out of thin air

Are you so keen to set a goal that you’re not picking a useful goal? You don’t have to do a goal setting exercise just because it’s January. You can do it at any time.

Maybe you’re still reflecting, researching and thinking about where to go next. Unless you work through this process fully, you could find yourself setting goals that take you in the wrong direction or goals that you drop soon after you’ve set them.

Big fat waste of time.

Not listening to your market

So you’re going to double your sales in 2012? Do your customers get a say in that? Do they want to buy twice as much of your stuff?

Setting a goal that involves delivering what you think your customers need is going to be much harder work than delivering what they actually want.

It makes sense to ask what your clients want from you before you decide how you’re going to ramp up your sales.

No accountability

Even if your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, it will still stay a paper exercise if you don’t have any accountability.

Let’s say you want to double your income by December 2012. What should your income be by the end of June? How will you make sure that happens? What’s your plan and how will you stick to it?

Too complex

I’m a master at over-complicating things – maybe you are too? If you look at your goals for 2012 and wonder how on earth you’ll keep on top of what you should be doing, it’s time to simplify.

Can you be really ruthless about what you want to achieve this year? Really focus in on what’s important and drop those nice-to-have projects that chip away at your time and attention.

Be more flexible

You can change your goals at any time. Think of them as a compass that keep you going in the right direction, rather than a rigid path that you absolutely have to take.

Time to lighten up and stop putting yourself under so much pressure? After all, there’s no point in setting a goal that creates so much stress it outweighs the benefits of setting the goal in the first place!

No goals at all?

And if you can’t face setting goals at all, take a look at this post from Zen Habits…100 days with no goals

Happy New Year!


* ‘SMART’ stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely

(photo by Twid)

How to market your business by writing a Kindle book

Even if you’ve never written a book before, you can (and should!) publish on Kindle. With millions of fans, low prices and the current buzz around the Kindle devices themselves, Kindle books are flying off the virtual shelves. So grab yourself a piece of Amazon’s amazing marketplace – and promote your business at the same time!

Today I’m launching my new e-book Kindle Marketing: Grow your business by writing a Kindle book which will take you through quick ways of finding an angle for your book that sells; easy ways to write it, the facts you really need to know about choosing an effective title, cover and description; formatting your book to upload to Amazon and lots of great ways to promote your new Kindle book. Even if you don’t have a Kindle!

But if you’d like a quick introduction to writing an publishing a Kindle book, just read on… Continue reading “How to market your business by writing a Kindle book”

Sell advertising space on your website: Which stats do you need in your media pack?

When I looked into selling advertising space here on Business Plus Baby the first place I went was Google.  Unfortunately, most of the information I found was way too advanced and technical for someone like me who was just starting out with web advertising.

In the end I decide not to go down the advertising route at that time (more on that in another post!), but I wrote up what I did find in this post: how to make more money from your website: advertising and sponsorship because I thought it would be useful for someone else.

One thing I didn’t cover in that post was what a prospective advertiser would want to see if they were thinking of buying an ad on your site. These stats are usually part of your media pack. And so that you get more than just my opinion here 🙂 I’ve asked some Business Plus Baby guest posters what they’d like to see if they were thinking of advertising on your website. Continue reading “Sell advertising space on your website: Which stats do you need in your media pack?”

Why the world needs you to be an entrepreneur

We often think of entrepreneurs as building big companies to making themselves richer. But last week I found this video that explains why innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs are critical to the wealth of society as a whole…

The statistics are for the USA, but the theory is the same wherever you live in the world.

So if you ever feel selfish for working late on your business or guilty for asking a high (but fair!) price for what you do, remember this video 🙂

(Thanks to David Perdew of myNAMS for posting this video on his blog.)

Do I need a business plan?

Most mums don’t need to get a start-up loan (although that would be nice!) Instead, we tend to choose businesses that need very little start-up capital and fund them either from our savings or just keep feeding our profits back it the business.

We don’t need a heavy-duty business plan to convince an investor to give us money, so do we really need a business plan at all?

Er, yes!

You may find that using a typical business plan template for a small home business is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. In fact, every time you look at the template you get this irresistible urge to make a coffee, feed the cat or do anything else but fill it in!

Here are two good reasons why you need a business plan:

1) Without a plan, it’s hard to have any direction or focus. In fact, unless you’ve done some business planning,  you could find yourself working hard for several years and still have no idea if you’ll ever make a profit.

2) The process of writing it is at least as valuable as having the finished business plan sitting in front of you. So don’t feel you that you can’t write a business plan because you don’t know where you’re going yet. The purpose of your business plan is to give you direction.  And it doesn’t matter if you change it every week.

Any planning is better than none at all, so if you’re struggling, grab yourself a sheet of A4 paper and scribble down the answers to these questions. Go on, do it now!

  1. Who are my customers? (be very specific)
  2. What problem will this solve for my customers (and do they really want it solved?)
  3. How will I check that customers want this product/service?
  4. How will my customers find me?
  5. Who are my competitors?
  6. How is my product/service different from my competitors?
  7. How much do I need to charge/sell to a) be able to pay myself a decent salary b) pay all my expenses c) have some profit left over to be able to develop my business?

I found this Remarkably Simple Business Plan from Sonia Simone really helpful, too.

If you found this post helpful, why not join my mailing list? You’ll get weekly tips to help you thrive as a self-employed parent, as well as my a free e-book,”Running a business around a family: 9 Steps to success”.

Creative Commons License photo credit: KatjaSchmitt