Business growth doesn’t happen from thin air, and successful companies don’t evolve out of the blue. It all happens through carefully thought out plans, clear goals and lots of late hours at the office. However, setting the business goals, which will bring you to success, is a tricky process. If you don’t have a clear vision and a detailed plan of what you want to do and achieve, you are very likely to fail.
Follow the SMART acronym
The S.M.A.R.T. acronym was first mentioned in a 1981 issue of Management Review, where they published a paper by George T. Doran called “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives”. Smart goals are Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Timed.
- Specific – Business goals need to have very clearly defined objectives. When you want to increase sales or value of purchase, first you need to define on which market, which channel, how much, in which department (if you have a few).
- Measured – Everything must be planned and calculated on each step. For instance, if you want to improve the customer service of your company, then first you need to measure the level of customer satisfaction, the client retention rate, research what makes your clients choose you, analyse all customer reviews and define your strong and weak spots.
- Achievable – When you have unlimited funds and time to achieve something, that’s not a goal, it’s a dream. Don’t get me wrong, dreams are an important part of an entrepreneur’s journey to success, but goals are something that can happen now and here.
- Realistic – Here you must answer a few questions: Is this what your company wants to work on? Does it agree with the company’s mission? Is everyone involved in the project on board?
- Timed – Good goals are limited in time. You need to set an appropriate period, and use that time to work hard on achieving the goal. Without a time limit, it’s hard to measure a success rate.
Brainstorm your possibilities
The easiest way to set business goals is to brainstorm. There are a few methods you can try:
- List making – pick one important idea, and start creating an outline of all the things you’ll need to achieve it, possible issues you may face and a timeline of some sorts. Also, remember to write down all the smaller goals, which are a part of the bigger goal.
- Mind mapping – Start with one idea, then use keywords and drawings to create a map of ideas, connected to the first one.
- Brain Dump – Let your mind and your imagination take over. Get some paper and start writing down every idea that comes to your mind, without focusing on any of them, and no matter how crazy they may seem.
Sort your options
Sort the ideas into groups, by their likeness, enforceability, financial impact and importance. Once you pick the right categories and start putting ideas in them, you’ll be surprised how many of them overlap and create consisting themes. This is a sign that you are on the right path to setting your business goals.
Create a plan
Using the SMART acronym and the clearly defined and sorted ideas, you can proceed towards creating a plan. The action plan you create for achieving your business goals must contain specific steps you’ll need to take to succeed. It will be easier to set the order, if you focus on why the goal is so important and what it will mean for your business if you achieve it.
Make a commitment
One of the reasons people fail to achieve their goals, is because they are not committed enough to the cause to see them through. Remember; don’t try to take care of everything right away. Take care of each task one at a time, be patient, understanding and firm about your positions. Success doesn’t happen overnight, you will meet many setbacks on the way, don’t let them stop you.
Emphasize on your personal bests
Achieving goals is important, but making sure you and your employees are motivated, is much more important. Therefore, you should take the opportunity to pat yourself on the back for the progress you make. If a department achieves something good – mention and celebrate it, it’s progress, and this is what every business is about. After all, even the smallest action is better than inaction.