Why Making a Business Goal Pivot in the Summer is a Good Idea for Any Small Business Owner
By Lisa Hendrickson
I run workshops for entrepreneurs. I asked a classroom full of entrepreneurs last week if they remembered what their goals were from the first of the year. I hear apprehensive laughter from the room. Then I ask if they remember their New Year’s Resolutions and of course, there’s some acknowledgement of those. “How many of you actually are working your resolutions now?” I ask. No one raises their hand.
Does this sound familiar? It should because this is the story for most of us who have great intentions and the motivation at the beginning of the year to make the necessary changes in our businesses and in ourselves but somehow we get lost in the next emergency and then it seems just too hard make those changes now. We might think “and besides, things aren’t so bad….”
This is why making a pivot in June, July or August is perfect for you and your company. In Lean Start Up circles, making a pivot means to substantially change something in the business model. You might want to consider that the pivot your company might make is not from the business model but from the operating model. So many of us are unconsciously operating our businesses from emergency to emergency or email to email instead of from vision and clarity around what we’d like to achieve.
Remember, when the business was started it was someone’s dream—maybe yours. Now it might just be about keeping up with the pressures. Are you still connected to your dream every day? This is the key justification for goal setting–having your long range outcomes be connected with your day to day activities. In doing so, the realization of your vision has a pathway to be actualized.
Did that get you to dust off your notes with your annual goals listed out from the stack of paper you’ve got labeled in your head “important stuff I should get to sometime?” And when you looked at them did you realize that some of what you wrote down is out of whack with what you really want to happen with the business? No worries, I’ve got a simple system for you to employ mid-year to pivot and get moving towards what you really want to achieve.
It’s my “5Rs System” It’s quite simple:
R = Review:
Review the goals that you set at the beginning of the year for yourself and see if the business is on its way to accomplishing one or more of them. You might find with some of the goals that the seed was planted and even though you didn’t remember that you wanted something, the business might be well on its way to achieving your long forgotten aim. Then there’s the other goals that were more “out of sight, out of mind.” That’s ok. Remember the year you wanted something so bad for your birthday and your parents didn’t or couldn’t get it for you? Can you actually remember now what that thing was? Yup, just like that goal you set in January.
If you’ve set goals with timelines that have already passed, recalibrate those goals and the timelines so that you can approach it anew with a timeline that’s appropriate to where you’re starting now. Remember, if you recalibrate the timeline, you’re not behind, you’re not late and you haven’t blown it—you’ve got Q3 and Q4 finish the year strong. Take this all in stride.
“What was I thinking? Did I even write that or was that my evil twin?” If you’ve got goals like that listed but you don’t know why you would even think doing something like that is a good idea now, you need it rip it out of the plan and out of your consciousness. If you feel that goal isn’t remotely connected with what it is you are really committed to, tear it out like the bad weed in your flowerbed of life that it is. There’s no need to make extra work for yourself when you lack the commitment, the activities and the alignment with that goal. Just like a bad relationship, you can let it go….
Keeping the goals that you’re committed to and are the ones that connect you to the future that you see yourself creating will refresh and reenergize you and give you the motivation to get going again into goal achievement mode. My parents went to some kind of “Marriage Encounter” in the 70’s, I think was supposed to do something like that….
Taking actions in alignment with what you’re excited about producing that give you the future that you imagine for yourself will revive your enthusiasm and excitement for the business. You as the business leader know that if you’re happy and excited, that gets transmitted to your people. Your reengagement with goals can revive everyone’s enthusiasm in your company. Wouldn’t it be great to walk into your office and take a deep breath feeling refreshed and happy and your team doing the same thing? Awesomeness.
I think that business and life is a series of forgetting and remembering. We start our businesses with an idea that lives at the 50,000 foot level and get excited about what we see at the horizon line. Then when we start engaging with our business at the 500 foot level, we can’t remember what it was that we saw way up high. Knowing when to fly above the day to day fray and live in the vision of the business and when to get down deep and get our hands dirty is a skill all its own. Goal setting and planning is the connection between our dreams that fly high above the blocking and tackling of the everyday that we do to make it. When we’re actively putting our goals into the forefront of our actions, we’re remembering our dreams. Like driving on an open road on a sunny day out west where all you can see is sky and imagine the possibility of what’s over just over the next hill, it’s our goals and inspiration that take us to our next destination.
Lisa Hendrickson sold her first idea for a company to her father when she was five years old for twenty-five cents. Today she is a serial entrepreneur who has lived an immersive life around start-up ventures. She is the founder of Spark City, whose mission is to increase the success rate of small businesses. Prior, she was the COO of HCC, an award-winning values-driven luxury interiors company and pioneering sustainable manufacturing firm that became one of the fastest growing inner city companies in America garnering a coveted slot in the ICIC 100. She’s been a featured speaker at both Inc 500 and Inc Magazine’s GrowCo conferences. Ms. Hendrickson is also an adjunct professor of business teaching entrepreneurship and sustainability at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC.