Whether you’re a start-up or a fully-flourishing SME, every successful company sets goals. The goals and objectives you implement provide focus and offer a defined purpose for everyone in the team. They also act as stepping stones to an end result, helping you easily track and measure your successes along the way.
If you’re just getting started on the goal-setting process or you’re looking to renew and refresh existing ones, here’s what you need to know about setting effective business goals.
Identify areas you want to improve in
Without a clear idea of what you need/want to aim for, you can’t begin achieving your goals - simple.
That’s why it’s important to first determine which areas of the business require more focus. Identifying your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (aka, performing a SWOT analysis) is an easy yet effective strategy to review your business and find out where you could improve.
Set SMART goals
Once you’ve outlined which areas of the business you want your goals to focus on, it’s time to get to work setting them. Unfortunately, companies run the risk of failure by setting unrealistic goals with no indication of how they intend to achieve them. This is where SMART goals come in. This acronym stands for:
● Specific: Be clear about what you want to accomplish.
● Measurable: Define a value/milestone that can help track your progress.
● Achievable: Ensure your goal is realistic with the resources you have.
● Relevant: Align your goal with your overall business’ mission and model.
● Timely: Set a realistic time frame to reach your goal.
SMART goals ensure businesses are being efficient and productive when working towards targets. They also prevent mistakes and time-wasting as by providing clear direction on how best to achieve goals.
Let’s compare a broad goal to a SMART goal.
“I want to gain 10 new clients.”
“I will acquire five new clients for my company in the next three months by networking with local businesses, implementing a social media marketing campaign and asking for referrals. This will help me grow the business overall.
As you can see, the above SMART goal features more realistic wants, provides a timeframe to achieve the goal and shows how the business is going to get there.
Keep team members in the loop
In business, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. That’s why it’s so important you provide your employees with support, training and insight - especially when setting new goals.
When changes occur in the business, such as the implementation of new goals, it’s important relevant employees are aware of how they should alter their work duties and practices. This way, you can feel confident that everyone is working towards the same objective and they are spending their time in the most efficient way.
Processes to achieve your goals
Track your goals
As mentioned, assigning a value or milestone to your goal is essential to making it measurable. Having this figure in place shows you how close you are to achieving your goal and can act as a form of motivation.
In the world of business, it’s you never know when something unexpected will occur, such as a supplier falling sick. This is why it pays to be agile. While a clearly defined plan is important for achieving goals, being flexible and adapting when things suddenly change is just as important.
Celebrate the small wins
Keeping morale high when working towards an end goal is crucial for success. By celebrating wins, you’re recognising the efforts of your employees which in turn motivates them to push through to the next step of your goal.
Growing a small business is something we know all about here at BOQ. With so many of our branches run by small business owners like you, we understand that every little helps when forging your place in the marketplace. If you’re in need of business banking advice, why not pop into your local BOQ branch today and chat with a specialist?