Why small business owners should make space, not goals

Why small business owners should make space, not goals

Goal setting isn’t necessarily the right solution for small business owners who are feeling overwhelmed, although that’s the advice that’s often given. People like to say, “If you don’t know what you want, you need to set some goals.” But what if, instead of focusing on goals and things to do, you focused more on space and time to think?

“All ideas grow out of other ideas.” ~ Anish Kapoor

Finding space

You might be thinking, that sounds great, but where am I supposed to find the time to do that, when I don’t have time to do everything else I want to do in my business? If you don’t have time to create more space, it may be time to adjust your business model.

You may need to hire someone, increase your prices, or change the way you’re delivering your services in order to find that time and space for yourself. If you’re a die-hard goal-setter, however, and it works for you, then please continue with it. I’m not trying to talk you out of goal setting. I’m trying to talk you into space setting. You may even find that by creating space, your goals emerge on their own, naturally.

Here are three types of space to consider building into your schedule:

1. Space for working on your business

You’ve probably heard the distinction between working “in” your business versus working “on” your business made popular by the book The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. It’s easy to get stuck, overwhelmed, or headed in the wrong direction if you’re working non-stop in your business. On the other hand, when you create space to work on your business and think more strategically about where you want to go, things become clear. And with clarity, you’re able to make decisions that will move you forward in a productive way.

One way to create this space is to make one day a week appointment-free. And, if possible, one week per month appointment-free.

2. Space for thinking

One of my clients mentioned that he has already scheduled two weeks for thinking about his business – one in spring and one in autumn. He got the idea from Bill Gates, who has been doing “think weeks” in a cabin in the woods for years.

If you can’t go away somewhere to have thinking space, at least go to an inspiring location locally during the day. Think about a beautiful hotel lobby, a co-working space, or somewhere in nature.

3. Space for being

It’s also critical to create space to just be, without an agenda. This time is meant to let your mind wander wherever it wants to go. I personally love to take daily walks in the woods to create space and move my body. If you want to tap into new possibilities, it’s not going to happen by only setting aside time for brainstorming business ideas. Decide when and how you want to create space and then grab your agenda and set it in stone.

I hope you’re feeling inspired to plan more space into your schedule.

Stephanie Ward


Stephanie Ward

Stephanie Ward is a Business and Marketing Mentor ( who helps passionate small business owners attract more clients and grow their businesses. She offers a free special report, 7 Steps...

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