As business owners we understand the inherent value of goal setting in steering a growing business in the right direction. Yet in a recent industry survey, more than 80% of small business owners confessed that they did not track their company goals.
Yet, an equal, if not higher, percentage would likely state that goal-setting is integral to business success. We know that not all goal-setting is equally effective. Learning to set the right goals – and learning how to best achieve them – takes time, practice, and a little bit of guidance. Here are the four best ways to approach goal setting;
Set concrete goals
This may seem like an obvious first step but the importance of identifying concrete goals cannot be overstated. You may have an overarching company mission but at the same time, you need measurable goals that keep your business moving forward.
Once you set a goal like, “Increase Product X’s revenue by 20% over the next six months,” what else needs to happen to ensure you achieve this goal? For instance, will you broaden your advertising efforts? Setting concrete goals, documenting them, and reviewing them periodically can increase your chances of success by up to 95%.
Create systems to support your goals
Once you set your goals, you need to implement systems that will help you make continual progress toward them. Goals without supportive systems that drive progress are generally bound to remain just that – goals, not realities.
Imagine that one of your goals is to increase your number of leads, or prospective customers. Without a system, you might call 10 people today and 5 tomorrow, vainly hoping to see a bump in your numbers. A better way to approach this is to implement a lead generation system, whereby you establish an entire pipeline of prospects funneled from multiple channels, define second and third follow-up procedures, and track the appropriate metrics.
Align your resource expenditures with your goals
Like systems, the proper resources must be devoted to activities that align with your goals if you hope to make progress. For example, if your goal is to strengthen your customer retention rate, your front line team members should not devote the majority of their time to lead generation.
Aligning your resource expenditures with your goals may also mean saying no to some activities. For instance, you may need to set aside several days to contact your existing customers in order to find out what they like or dislike about your product, rather than attending an off-site team-building workshop.
Business surveys show that up to 50% of staff time is spent on activities that do not align with company strategy, so ensure you do all you can to devote the right resources to your goals.
Ensure your team members are aware of and on board with goals
The best goals are not static. Instead, they are dynamic and reflect a constantly evolving reality. Team members should be kept aware of changes so they, in turn, can change the activities they use to support these goals.
One way to keep your team members up to date is to define concrete milestones. This gives your staff near-term goals to achieve. Measurable progress is a powerful motivator, and daily, weekly, and monthly goals can lead to a sense of accomplishment that encourages your team members to continue striving toward your business objectives.
You can also target specific items to track. This will allow you to gain a “big picture” and quantitative view of your progress as a whole, and it can help your staff members track their individual progress.
Ultimately, your goals are only as effective as the systems, resources, and people driving progress. With a plan that encompasses the four aspects of goal-setting discussed above, you can better implement initiatives that will lead to business success.