Setting company goals is an important factor to keep your business continuously moving forward. However, the purpose of setting these goals is lost unless you make them realistic and attainable for your team. Attainable goals give your team something manageable to strive for, creating a positive working culture among your employees. Goals also provide insights that can enable you to track and adjust processes making your company more efficient, productive and likely successful. According to a HubSpot report, the less companies measure their goals, the less likely they are to meet their revenue goals.
According to a Staples National Small Business Survey, 80 percent of small-business owners admitted they don’t monitor their goal setting. Devoting the right amount of time to establish business goals takes a fair amount of work, but your goals will be more reachable and effective if you do. Here are a few tips on how to set attainable goals for your small business:
1. Analyze the Current Situation
Look at how your company currently runs its business. Dive into the company’s finances, accounts payables, sales pipeline and processes. Learn all the steps taken in every department and ask yourself these questions:
- Is your company where you want it to be?
- What processes are working well?
- What needs to be improved?
Once you’ve established what state your company is in, only then can you see the future you want for your business and set goals for it.
2. Define the Big Picture Goal
After analyzing the current state of your company, it’s time to define your vision.
- What is the ultimate goal you want your team to strive for?
- What was the vision you originally had when starting your company?
Even if it’s obvious, put it in writing and ensure your employees buy into it, as they play a major role in determining whether or not you achieve the dream you have for your business. When defining the big picture goal, be inclusive and intentional. Get input from your partners, managers and employees.
By defining your big picture goal first, you have the ability to work backwards to define the steps needed to achieve the goal. The process you create from working backwards from the big picture will turn into your roadmap for success.
3. Create a Roadmap of Long and Short-Term Goals
To reach your big picture goal, there are long and short-term goals you will need to accomplish along the way. Your long-term goals should have a timeline of about three to five years, and the short-term goals are stepping stones to meet those. All of your long and short-term goals should be relevant to the big picture you’ve already set.
Setting milestone goals that are attainable in the short-term help to get the momentum moving on achieving your big picture goal. When forming your roadmap, set yearly, monthly and weekly measurable goals. If a long-term goal is to increase sales, set short-term goals for increased cold calls, social media posts and/or direct outreach. If your long-term goal is to increase brand awareness, make short-term goals to develop a content marketing plan, start an editorial calendar or re-design the company website.
When defining these goals, make sure they each have an obvious business objective, along with a deadline. One process to ensure your goals are attainable and relevant is called the S.M.A.R.T. criteria.
4. Ensure Goals are S.M.A.R.T.
Once you’ve created your long and short-term goals, look at each one carefully.
- Are your goals clear and defined?
- Has someone been delegated to complete each specific goal?
- Will you know exactly when a goal has been achieved?
To ensure your goals are well defined, follow the S.M.A.R.T criteria:
Target specific areas for improvement, then set clear goals. If you want to increase traffic to your website, decide by how much. You need to be able to know when you’ve reached your goal.
Determine how you will keep track and measure your progress. This will be helpful for you to know how far you’ve come to attaining your goals and how far still you have to go.
Specify what tasks need to be completed, and by whom. Create a to-do list and follow-up to ensure tasks are being completed.
Ensure that goals are achievable. Go back and look at last year’s metrics to determine if goals you are creating are attainable.
Your strategy should have a time limit. Specify when results should be achieved and commit to accomplishing them by your deadline.
5. Stay Focused
With your goals completely defined, all your team needs to do now is stay focused. Stick to your deadlines and make sure to carve out time for priorities. Try not to get distracted with tasks that pop up along the way, unless they are timely. Work as a team to hold each other accountable. If you miss a milestone, just keep working to accomplish it. Although you want to stick to your roadmap as best as you can, the deadlines for these goals are scalable.
6. Track and Measure Goals
Measuring and reporting the progress of your roadmap to the big picture goal is an important part of the process. You’ll need to gauge your progress against the original goals you set. Reporting your progress keeps your executives invested, your team enthusiastic and helps you find out what’s working and what isn’t. If you find your team isn’t meeting goals, you may need to adjust them. If your team is meeting goals, make sure you recognize it among your employees.