Setting business goals is a task every company leader should regularly give time and attention to.
It is helpful for building a good team and leading your company to success.
Developing reasonably attainable goals for your business and communicating them clearly to your team will ultimately help your business improve its standing within your industry.
Setting goals will also allow your business to grow in a sustainable way.
Why Set Business Goals?
The obvious answer is to improve your business. But that’s not the only answer. Identifying goals and creating strategies to implement them is the first step to success. To help your company soar above your competition, you simply must have a plan to do it, and that plan should have clear benchmarks to measure your progress.
Some executives choose to put their company-wide goals on display to encourage team members to be ever mindful of the corporate objectives. Other companies take a more personalized approach by offering insight into how each team member can accomplish individual goals that will move the organization toward its ultimate goal.
But how do you do it? How do you determine and set goals for your business?
The Goal-Setting Process
The thought of setting business goals can be daunting, but the process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Various methods of goal-setting exist. When combined, your business will score in no time.
1. SWOT Analysis
When planning to develop business goals, it’s important to first analyze the core of your company. The four main components to explore are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT).
Doing so helps you determine how you can maximize your strengths and take better advantage of opportunities within your reach while improving your weaknesses and overcoming threats your business is currently facing and those it may face in the future.
Everyone in the company can play a role in the SWOT analysis. Individual departments can even perform their own analyses in order to determine ways to enhance their performance in order to help your business excel above others in your industry.
2. Be SMART
After completing the SWOT analysis, take the process a step further and create your goals using the SMART method. When developing your business goals, be sure each goal is…
Communicate clearly to your employees what’s expected of them and of the company. Don’t generalize your goals. According to a recent study, only 50 percent of employees (management included) strongly agree that they understand what is expected of them in the workplace. Setting specific goals will help improve employee relations and performance.
“Gain more business,” is too vague a goal; twist it into how many clients you hope to gain within a certain time period. Turn “Improve employee engagement” into “Host at least one teambuilding activity a month.”
In the business world, numbers are everything. The more specific your goals are, the easier it is to measure how they will affect your company. Measuring your goals is crucial for gauging current success and predicting future business outcomes.
According to results of a recent survey, over 80 percent of small business owners admitted they don’t keep up with their business goals. Stay one step ahead of the competition by keeping track of your business goals.
Keep your goals realistic. Visually attainable goals make your company more appealing to potential clients and employees, because people will recognize that you’re making a difference while becoming a successful business within your industry.
Employees feel a stronger sense of self-worth when they are able to help you reach above and beyond your business goals. They feel more valuable to your company’s success, which will further enhance their performance in the workplace.
Be sure the goals you’re developing are relevant to the current state of the economy. This is the perfect time to consult your analysis of opportunities and threats your company is currently facing in order to build a solid foundation for your business goals.
Relevant goals will help your business succeed in the here-and-now as well as create expectations for the future.
Each goal you set should have a specific timeframe in which it will be completed. Setting a sort of “due date” for each of your goals helps enforce their importance, ensuring their completion and your company success.
You no doubt have high hopes for your company. Don’t be afraid to dream big, but be smart about your goals.
If you need assistance to ensure your business goals meet these criteria, consider consulting a business mentor. A mentor can also help you keep track of the progress your company makes toward achieving your set goals.
3. Agile Approach
If you’re facing challenges with previously set goals—vagueness, lack of progress, etc.—taking the agile approach will help you create a game plan that beats them all. Overcome these challenges by reworking those goals that have you stuck.
- Uncover your intentions behind setting those goals. Are they necessary?
- Why do you want to achieve them so badly?
- How can you make them easier to accomplish, reducing stress on you and your employees?
If these ideas aren’t working, try using a concept or two from the SMART method—make them more specific, set deadlines—or see how they fit into your company’s SWOT analysis.
There is no set method for goal-setting that fits every company’s needs, so don’t feel discouraged if one doesn’t work for you. Explore other methods for setting business goals, like the method promoted by Mr. Zig Ziglar. If you’re stuck in determining what kinds of business goals to set, refer to this article to generate a few ideas.
Finally reaching a goal you’ve worked so hard to achieve not only carries a strong sense of satisfaction, the thrill of victory is nothing short of bliss. Whatever you do, however, don’t rest on your laurels; now is not the time to rest easy. Regardless of how high your goals take you, there will always be more work to do and more improvements to make. Setting realistic goals will help your team get there, and your business will flourish because of it.