Effective business goals can be a critical driving factor behind the decisions that you make every day. Without the right goals in place, it can be much more difficult to ensure that you’re taking your business in the right direction.
But how do you go about actually setting these goals? It is not enough to simply sit down and say “I want to make more money next year” or “I want to open an office in Shanghai by 2020.” You have to be strategic about the kinds of goals you set and how you share them with your team.
Following are five steps to follow that will put you on the right path towards effective business goals.
Be SpecificAs mentioned above, “make more money” or even “generate more revenue” is not an effective business goal. Ultimately, this is the goal of virtually every business. When you are not specific about your goals, it is impossible to know when you have reached them or even if you are heading in the right direction. For instance, what if you made one more dollar on Tuesday than you did on Monday? That’s technically “more revenue” than the day before, but most likely, that’s not your goal. Instead, put real numbers to your goals like “Generate 20% more revenue in the month of June than the year previous.” That’s a trackable goal, and on July 1st, you’ll know precisely whether or not you’ve made it.
Differentiate Short & Long-Term Goals
A long list of goals with no organization is not a great way to accomplish what you want. Your business goals will be much more effective if you separate short and long term goals. Indeed, it will make the most sense if you develop your short-term goals specifically to support your long-term goals. Be sure that each long-term goal has smaller, shorter term goals that will act as guideposts to determine whether you’re headed in the right direction. For example, maybe you have a specific goal of decreasing internal communication complaints by 50% over the next two years. To support this long-term goal, you may want to consider looking for business telephone systems that will increase communication and better track how employees message one another.
Diversify Your Goals
Increasing revenue can be a driving goal, but you should aim to have goals in different aspects of your business. When you set specific goals in areas like customer service, customer experience, and even personnel, you ultimately will be supporting overarching revenue goals. Don’t focus all of your goal-setting in one area.
Use DeadlinesDeadlines are another important piece of effective business goals. Every goal you have should have a time-bound element to it. You can work for years and years at growing your customer base, improving your customer service, or expanding your brand recognition but if there is no deadline for your goal, you won’t know if you are moving at the right pace and be able to make adjustments appropriately.
At most companies, achieving your business goals will mean enlisting the help of many teams and departments. Of course, you’ll want to share the details of your goals with everyone involved in executing on them. Even if you own your business and are its sole employee, it’s important to share your goals with someone to ensure accountability. Studies have shown that articulating goals and sharing them publicly is an effective way to make sure that you maintain those goals.