There’s more to being successful than just going forward. Without a plan, it’s hard to know where to take the next step, which means you may flounder trying to find a direction. When the success rate is 20% higher for people who create goals, it makes sense to look for direction.
Even if you have a plan for what you want for your business, it still isn’t easy to create business goals. Use the guide below to create business goals to help you make better decisions as a small business owner.
Define Your Most Important Goals
It’s no surprise if you have many goals in your business. You want to increase revenue, improve customer satisfaction, decrease your cost of production, and much more.
However, some of those goals are more important than others. For example, increasing revenue is only a byproduct of doing other things right. What other goals can you create that improve your business revenue?
Think of one big goal you want to accomplish and what other goals you need to meet to get there. Having a big-picture goal is all well and good. However, you’ll need to succeed in smaller, more specific goals to succeed in your long-term ambitions.
Use a Goal Framework
There is more than one way to set a goal. You don’t have to use general frameworks to determine where your company needs to go. Here are a few popular frameworks to use for business goal setting.
A SWOT analysis is a framework for determining your business’s strengths and weaknesses. You take a big-picture look at your organization to figure out what you do best and what areas you can improve.
This is important for goal setting because you can often make significant improvements by improving on your weak points.
Take customer service, for instance. If your customers reach out to you to get help and aren’t satisfied, they’ll leave negative reviews online. That will lead to fewer customers and hurts your progress towards your goals.
A SWOT analysis will help you find this problem and look for ways to fix things.
SMART goals are a goal-setting framework that focuses on specific and measurable goals. Instead of coming up with a big picture you want to achieve, you break your goals into small pieces.
Take revenue, for instance. You don’t say you want to achieve $1,000,000 in revenue per year. You determine how many customers you need for that goal and the average purchase price for those customers.
Once you have those numbers, you can develop tactics that improve the average purchase price and drive more customers to your business.
After you determine those goals, you set a timeline for achieving your desired result.
A goal pyramid is a visual representation of your goals. You start with your big goals at the top of the pyramid. The bottom of your pyramid contains daily actions you take that contribute towards your big goals and every smaller goal above your daily activities.
This is an excellent alternative to other goal-setting methods because of its simplicity and visual nature. You don’t have to have pages of documents to create and pour through when you need to re-evaluate your current goals.
However, combining this method with other detailed goal frameworks is also good. There isn’t much detail in your pyramid, so it isn’t much for people to go off of.
Talk to Your Team
You don’t have to take on the goal-setting process on your own as a business owner. You only have so much insight into your company’s capabilities. If you go into things without all the information, you may end up making unrealistic goals.
It’s smart management to get feedback from your team on what they believe is possible. They’re the ones doing much of the work, so turn to them to get more information.
Set a meeting with your team to discuss what you want to happen. Encourage people to speak freely and not only tell you what you want to hear.
Honest feedback during this process will help you determine the things you need to work on and what’s achievable in reasonable time frames.
Create Your Metrics
It isn’t enough to create your goals initially. If all you do is have a big picture and no way to track your progress, it’s hard to keep people on the same page and on the road to meeting your goals.
Your metrics will help you measure your progress along the way. These metrics will depend on the type of goal you have.
Take the goal of better customer service, for instance. You’ll track the following things:
- Successful completion of tickets
- Returning customers after problems
- Negative reviews after a poor customer experience
- Completion time of ticks from your team
- Number of failed ticket resolutions
These metrics will change significantly depending on your goal, so spend enough time exploring the data to track. There are many helpful resources for creating these metrics, so make sure you check them out.
Even the best plan for a goal needs to change on occasion. As time goes on and business changes, you’ll encounter issues that throw you off course.
It’s hard to know about these changes when you don’t meet with your team. After you set your goals, schedule regular meetings to get progress on what’s happening.
Use this time to get feedback from your team on what issues they face and their progress. You can also use this time to change course to account for unexpected events and get back on the path of meeting your goals.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Creating Business Goals
Wanting to sell more products isn’t enough for entrepreneurial success. Without concrete long-term and short-term business goals, you won’t be able to make daily decisions that drive your business forward. Keep the guide above in mind when making your goals to create a goalpost that makes sense for your business and where you want it to go.
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