4 ways to set business goals like a pro
Every successful business starts with one clear vision. To make that pretty picture, entrepreneurs need to treat each goal as a puzzle piece that fits together.
Setting goals is an important part of any effective business strategy. Goals keep you focused, direct your actions, give you something to aim for, and measure your business success. Get off to a good start by using the following hacks.
Get SMART about goal-setting
While it doesn’t hurt to be wise about business planning, this acronym actually stands for what makes a good goal. This approach requires your goals to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Time-bound. Let’s take ‘increasing sales’ as an example. It’s a pretty common goal, but it can still be refined further.
By how much do you want to increase your sales? How will you know if you’ve succeeded? When and how long are you going to work towards this end? These are some questions that your goal should immediately answer.
Through the SMART approach, you can modify your goal to ‘getting two new customers every month’. This way, you’re specifying what you want to achieve, puts a reasonable number on it, and sets a time for it.
Break things down into smaller tasks
Major tasks and projects become more manageable when you break them down into individual tasks. Your business goals are no different. They can be broken down to projects or tasks and set against regular KPIs and reports.
For many businesses, it makes sense to break things down into smaller timelines or phases, for example:
- Short-term goals (up to 1 year)
- Mid-term goals (up to 5 years)
- Long-term goals (up to 10+ years)
Stick to what works for you
Some people find it easier to start with their long-term goals, and then work backwards to determine the shorter-term steps required along the way. Others adapt a trial and error approach, starting with jump points and deciding the next move based on the results.
Whatever you choose, remember that you know your business the best. Goals can be as simple or as complex as you like. What works for you may not work for other businesses, and vice versa.
Don’t stop there
It’s not enough just to write these goals down—you need to review them regularly. The start of the year and the beginning of the financial year is a great time to take note of what you have achieved, determine if you are on target with long term goals, and identify which medium-term goals needs to be tweaked and re-aligned.
Business and people are unpredictable. There are a number of factors that can affect your goals (some of which are outside your control) including staff changes, global or national economic factors, and business sales performance. By learning to shift your goals based on how you and your market changes, your business stays on track and competitive.