How are your 2024 business goals going?
We may only be one month into the year, but here at Funding for Good, we’re a goal-driven business. And we use research-backed methods to set and achieve our goals.
Research shows that setting goals is powerful stuff. Goal setting can change how your brain works—in a good way. But not all goals are created equal. To rewire your brain for success, goals need to be specific, challenging, and emotionally motivating.
In other words, generic goals won’t cut it.
So, how do you set 2024 goals that will deliver? Let’s walk through it together.
Step 1: Get specific on your business goals
Here’s a common goal I hear from nonprofit consultants:
In 2024, I want to increase my consulting income.
This sounds like a reasonable goal on the surface. Who doesn’t want to increase their income? If you dig a little deeper, though, this goal is too vague to be transformative. According to multiple research studies, “specific and challenging goals [lead] to higher performance.”
To make the goal of increasing your consulting income both specific and challenging, ask yourself:
- How much do you want to increase your income? Will you be measuring in total dollars (for example, increase annual income by $20,000) or in percentage (for example, increase annual income 20%)?
- Where do you want this new income to come from? For example, are you a grant consultant and want to add more grant research clients or more grant writing clients? If so, how many and at what price?
- How will you evaluate progress in each month or quarter? Don’t save progress evaluation until the end of the year! Here at Funding for Good, we assess our goals at least quarterly (sometimes more frequently). To achieve your annual goal, what progress do you need to see each month or quarter? Be sure to consider your client pipeline and your income, as it takes time for a client inquiry to turn into a contract.
- What does success look like? For example, by the end of the first quarter, how many prospective client intake sessions should you have had? By the end of the second quarter, how many new clients do you need to have landed?
Setting the types of goals that can deliver real results is one of the first things we do with consultants in our 60-Day 1:1 Consulting Boot Camp.
Step 2: Know your “why”
Effective goals need to balance a lot of factors. They need to be challenging, achievable, and personally motivating. An insightful piece in Trailrunner magazine sums this up well:
The ideal goal is one that is motivating enough to light our fire without becoming stressful, realistic enough to have us believing in our ability to achieve it, and satisfying enough to leave us feeling fulfilled throughout the pursuit of the goal and after it has (or even hasn’t) been achieved.
As a bonus, if you are more motivated by your goal, you will actually perceive the goal as less daunting and more achievable. That’s why one of the keys to effective goals is understanding your motivation.
When setting a goal, ask yourself WHY this goal matters to YOU. Be sure to dig deep and don’t settle for generic answers. Understanding your true motivation might just make the difference in whether you achieve your goal or not!
Step 3: Prioritize process
Now that you know and are connected to your goals, you need to map exactly how you are going to achieve them. According to Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy, one of the most common goal-setting mistakes is that people “focus only on the outcome, not the process.”
What will you do differently each day, week, and month that will enable you to achieve your goals? Be specific!
Achieve your consulting business goals with Boot Camp
If you’re interested in setting—and achieving—ambitious goals for your consulting business, check out our 1:1 Consulting Boot Camp!