Setting Goals for Business
Goal setting is crucial to taking your business from start-up to success. Without it, you’re floundering with no real destination in mind and no plan on how long it’s going to take or what you’re going to do whenever and wherever you happen to land. You need a business plan! That may sound intimidating to you, but it doesn’t have to be. A business plan is nothing more than a road map that guides you from where you are now to where you want to be in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, etc. It’s goal-setting with a plan of action for how to reach those goals.
It’s been said that to develop your business smartly, you have to have “smart goals.” Using this acronym, you can make sure you’re headed in the right direction with your goal-setting. Keep your goals:
- Attainable (+)
- Time Sensitive
Specific – this is one of, if not THE most important consideration in goal setting
- What exactly do you want to do?
- In what time frame are you going to do it?
- How do you plan to accomplish it?
It’s not enough to say “I’m going to increase my sales this year.” You need to think about and set your goals down very specifically by noting exactly HOW you plan to increase your sales: More advertising? More sales calls? More sales reps? When exactly will you implement those things? How frequently will you make more calls or place more ads? What type of advertising do you plan to use? What kind of help to do you plan to hire?
Sit down and really think your plans through and write them down in a prominent place, and be very specific. Seeing that plan for growth will force you to keep on track, and serve as a guideline for you throughout the year.
It’s not enough to have goals, you need to have a means by which to measure those goals. For instance, if you want to increase your sales, by exactly how much do you want to increase your sales? Is 5% enough? Probably not. The extra advertising expense, etc., would probably not be justified for a 5% increase. So what is the number you want to aim for? 10%? 25%? Set a criteria for which you can easily tell if you have, or have not, met your goal, and increase your profit at the same time. Being able to view and measure your progress as you go will help keep on track.
Attainable and Realistic
These two go hand in hand. You must set goals that are both attainable and realistic. It would be wonderful to say, “I’m going to increase my sales by 100% this year!” But can you really attain that level of increased business with your current location, staff, financial resources, skills, and time? Is it a realistic goal? Take a long look at your business, your skill, and your resources, and be objective in deciding how much is too much as you plan to expand. You want to set your sights high enough to grow, but not so high that you can’t reach them without causing yourself undue problems. Don’t underestimate yourself, though – compromise and decide on a good balanced number to shoot for. You can very likely do more than you think you can, so it’s better to set a little higher goal than miss out on opportunities because you don’t aim high enough. Better to miss a high goal by a little bit, than not think “big” enough to grow as you much as you could.
Procrastination is unfortunately a common and easy habit to fall into. But it’s a habit that holds us back if we allow it to. Whether you want to increase “annual” sales, or meet with “5 additional potential clients each quarter,” or “acknowledge the hard work of every employee once a month,” those time frames are important. Most of us are already doing a juggling act to get everything done, so don’t be unrealistic about setting your time frame for a specific task. Use your calendar ….. make a note at the top of each month (or week) to remind you how many of your time frames are coming up, and which ones have already been reached.
As you meet each goal in your specified time frames, you’ll feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment that will keep you going forward and growing!
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