Spell out goals for business success

Last updated 05:00 21/03/2013

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My goals for Sachie’s Kitchen were to create an independent business and be a respected businesswoman, while having fun with people and food.

OPINION: At first I didn’t have much confidence in my goals and my husband thought I would just create a hobby business; he couldn’t see where the scale could come from.  But I wanted to prove him — and myself — wrong. 

I’m a visual person so I thought it would be most effective to put my goals on paper. I sat in our spare bedroom and just scribbled down everything that was in my head. In the middle of the page I wrote my vision: to have fun with food. 

Around that I wrote how I could market myself through things like TV, radio and magazines.  

That original A4 sheet is on the wall in the Sachie’s Kitchen cooking school as a constant reminder of how everything began. I also feel it makes me more publicly accountable so I’ll work even harder to make my goals a reality. 

That original sheet outlined a 10-year plan to ensure Sachie’s Kitchen became well-known and profitable. But after achieving those goals within 15 months, I hit a five-month plateau. 

During this time I really struggled to dream big. I tried writing my goals on a giant blackboard in our living room, but a couple of months ago I wiped everything off and it’s stayed clean since. 

I now need to further refine my goals.

It’s been immensely helpful to meet some successful Kiwi businesswomen building similar brands to mine (albeit in different industries) — people like Kathryn Wilson (shoes) and Kat Gee (jewellery).

Being challenged by an advisory board, which we’re in the process of building, has also helped.

Here are some of biggest lessons I’ve learned so far:

1. It’s okay to have downtime. To be able to dream I have to work on the business rather than in it. That’s not easy when there are constant demands on my time, but it’s okay not to rush. Now I’ve had some downtime I feel more energised to dream big.

2. The advisory board has taught me that dreams can be altered so long as your vision stays the same.

3. Anyone can dream, but you have to believe in yourself to make things happen. I was lucky that my husband would say he believed in me. I think those are the most powerful words in the English language.

4. Goals don’t have to be financially driven. As our business has grown, lots of opportunties have come our way. The financial attractions have been seductive and that’s created a lot of distraction. It’s been so helpful to have external advisors challenge me to come back to the central question: what is it you want? Once you’ve answered that, the money will follow.

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Achieving everything on my original business plan has given me confidence that whatever I write on my dream board will happen.

I’m now clear on the vision for my life, which is to be a bridge between the East and West. My new dream is to go global. This goal will now dictate the direction of the business and the things we need to do to get there. 

I think those specifics are actually the hardest things to keep focused on  — but that’s business.

Sachie Nomura is the entrepreneur behind Sachie’s Kitchen, an award-winning Auckland-based Asian Cooking School: Sachieskitchen.com

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