According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), goal setting for your company, especially setting long-term goals, is the cornerstone of management by objectives (MBO). Focusing on goals allows you to steer the course of your company instead of every upset or unexpected occurrence steering your company for you. It is also smart to revisit your goals every year, adjust anything that needs adjusted, and fine-tune your plan.
Make Sure Goals Are Concrete
Make sure your goals are concrete goals. Don’t just have a goal setting session where you say you want to make more money. Instead, get really specific and list how much more money you want to make next year. Here are some examples of concrete goals:
- Make $30,000 more in profit in the next year.
- Open a second location within five years.
- Hire and train three new people to do what I do.
- Gain 100 new customers in the next 12 months.
The goals above are very specific. While you might not attain every goal, seeing what the goal is allows you to take the very specific steps needed to reach that goal. If you know you want 100 new customers, you know that is just over 8 new customers per month. That is a pretty attainable goal to gain 8 new customers or so in a month.
Goal Setting Different Areas of Success
In order to formulate these very specific, concrete goals, you need to figure out where your business is succeeding already and where it needs some work. Take a frank and honest look at your strengths and weaknesses as a business and business owner. If you aren’t sure, enlist the help of a trusted employee or close friend.
For example, if your management style is to avoid conflict, perhaps you need to look at a goal that would allow you to be more assertive and ask for employees to do specific tasks. You then need to make that goal concrete and something along the lines of:
“I will complete a Dale Carnegie course and learn to tell employees exactly what I need them to do and let them know I expect them to complete the task to the best of their ability.”
Your goals will, of course vary from the above, but that is an example of one area you might want to focus on. Other areas include:
- Profit and/or financial issues
- Increase sales
- Day to day running of business (inventory control, interaction with employees, etc.)
- Organizational skills
- Training of yourself or employees
- Big events you want to accomplish
- Milestones, such as opening a second location
- Customer service
- Personal development
Focusing on the above areas will allow you to get some goals set down. You can always add to them at a later date.
When you set your goals, don’t just go for the easiest goal that you know you can quite easily accomplish with little effort. Using the example stated above, if your goal is to gain 100 new customers in the next year, you need about 8-9 new customers a month. However, what if your business already gains 10 new customers per month on average? This goal isn’t going to challenge you, because you are already accomplishing this goal.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there with your goal. Set it a bit above what you can easily do. If you normally gain 10 new customers a month, then go for 11 or 12 new customers. This is how your business will see growth. If you don’t fully achieve your goal, it is fine. It is only important that you strive to achieve it and see some success. So, maybe you’ll only gain 1 new customer a month, but you’ll still have 12 new customers at the end of the year that you didn’t have before.
It is important to write down your goals and place them where you can see them on a regular basis. This serves as a solid reminder of what you’re striving for. It will also remind those around you, so you’ll be more accountable. Instead of checking Facebook on your smart phone for the 80th time that day, you’ll see the goals and spend that time promoting on Facebook so you can gain new customers or get the word out to current customers about a new product.
With a little work and a lot of determination, you can achieve almost anything you set your mind to. Put the time in to write down those goals for the next year, the next five years, and even the next ten years. See how far your goals can take you. The sky truly is the limit for the business owner who keeps trying and never stops.