Setting goals for your business each year is an important part of business planning. In fact, studies have shown that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. You already know that goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive, also known as “SMART” goals. But, how do you choose which goals to focus on each year – or anytime for that matter?
It all comes down to the fact that if you don’t know where you want to go, you can’t possibly set up a map with any direction to get there. But if you do know what to focus on and what the end goal is, you’ll be able to better set up a system for success. However, to choose just the right goals to follow, you’ll need to know how.
- Fewer Goals Are Better – Set one goal for each part of your business. For example, there are five parts to every business no matter what: value creation, marketing, sales, value delivery and finance. If you can set one goal for each of these areas, you’ll be set for the year. Make some small, but only make a number of goals you can reasonably meet.
- Goals Should Fit Your Overall Business Mission – Take a look at your mission statement and compare every goal you make to how it affects that mission statement. If it doesn’t fit in, then it can’t be a goal of yours. When you match business goals with your mission statement, it’s going to be a winner.
- Base Future Goals on Past Achievements – Always audit the results of last year before you make new goals. You may also want to carry over some goals that you didn’t quite achieve, or continue by making those goals even higher. For example, if last year you had a goal to double your income and you achieved it, you may have a new goal to double your income again.
- Understand Your Reasons for Doing Anything – If you don’t know why you’ve made a goal, it’s not going to happen. Know your why so that you can achieve the goal, based on something you have a passion for. It won’t work if you’re trying to achieve things you don’t care about and don’t understand why you’re doing them.
- Does the Goal Stretch You Enough? – It’s important to ensure that the goal is something you know you can do, but that will push you a little bit out of your comfort zone. Ensure that you can use the goal to map the actions you need to take to succeed.
- Organize Goals by Priority – Once you set the business goals that you know you can likely achieve, ensure that you organize them by priority. The priority you choose for your goals will depend on your business model, as well as your “big giant dream goal” for your business and how these goals fit in.
- Set Benchmarks — Set up frequent targets that enable you to check up on how you’re doing with your goals during the year. Don’t just work in the blind. Know how you’re doing at certain times throughout the year to ensure that everything you thought would work is working.
- Ask Customers – One way to come up with some of your goals is to ask your customers and your audience what they want to see from you this year. Often customers can come up with the best ideas that you never thought of.
Choosing which goals to focus on this year takes an understanding of the past, as well as where you want to go in the distant future. If your yearly goals are based on your future big giant dream goal, then you’re heading in the right direction.