Goal setting may be one of the most important things you can do for your business.
Without goals, companies flounder and fail to live up to their full potential. Even worse, a lack of goals can cause your business to take a reactive approach to the marketplace, leaving you one step behind everyone else in your industry.
Most business owners have a general idea about their goals for their companies. But effective goal setting needs to occur in a structured and systematic fashion. Spending an afternoon at the coffee shop with a blank legal pad isn't likely to result in goals that are either achievable or capable of delivering lasting impact for your organization.
The best business goals are the consequence of a deliberate process that leverages the learnings and best practices of business owners who have succeeded in turning their lofty ambitions into business realities. If don't know where to begin, here are some of the goal setting techniques you'll want to incorporate into your process.
- Choose the right goals. Although it's not technical, selecting the right goals is a goal setting technique you need to master. When your goals lack relevance to your business or to your customers, they don't result in meaningful outcomes. You may achieve your goals, but what difference does it make?
- Stretch, but achieve. No one takes ridiculously ambitious goals seriously. On the same token, if you set your sights too low, your goals will lack the capacity to inspire your workforce and outside interests. Focus on setting goals that stretch your company's abilities, but can be achieved through hard work and perseverance.
- Establish benchmarks. An effective business strategy isn't comprised of a single goal. Instead, it contains several smaller goals that culminate in the achievement of one really big goal. Break your big goals down into smaller benchmark goals to build confidence in yourself and your employees.
- Make a public commitment. It's one thing to say that you're committed to achieving the goals you set for your business. But if no one else knows about your goals, it's too easy to give in to apathy and let failure pass unnoticed. By communicating your goals to others, you raise the stakes and make it more difficult to walk way from the process when you encounter challenges.
- Leverage outside resources. There is a multitude of resources available to facilitate goal setting in small businesses. Goal setting software streamlines the process and makes it easier to envision the processes that will be required to achieve specific objectives. If motivation is a problem, you might want to consider hiring a business coach who will hold you accountable for setting and achieving business goals.