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  • How to Set Business Goals

    During the pandemic, it has been nearly impossible to plan for the short or long-term. Thankfully, the worst may now be behind us, making it more viable to set business goals for 2022 and beyond.

    If you are an experienced business person, you have no doubt already begun the process. But if you are one of the multitude of upstarts intent on filling the void created by the spate of recent business closures, you might need some help. So, in this post, I’m going to show you how to set business goals.

    Why Are Business Goals Important?

    Before I get into the details of how to set business goals, it’s important that you know why it’s so important to have business goals in the first place.

    The answer to the question “Why are business goals important?” is actually pretty simple: business goals enable you to monitor the progress of your company over time and they help you establish accountability within your team. Some people think of them as the conscience of the business: always there in the background silently reminding you of who you aspire to be.

    How to Set Business Goals: 5 Easy Steps

    Step 1. Determine What Your Goals Should Be

    Before you can create a path to a goal you need to know what that goal is. To determine their long term goals, many business owners apply what’s known as a SWOT test to their business. SWOT stands for:

    • Strengths – Those things you are currently doing well.
    • Weaknesses – Those areas where you need to improve.
    • Opportunities – Things can you take advantage of to bolster your business.
    • Threats – Those things that have the potential to harm your business.

     

    The SWOT test will clarify things for you and enable you to establish realistic goals based on a cold-light-of-day assessment of the facts.

    Step 2: Make Sure Those Goals are Specific

    Nebulous goals such as “increase revenue” don’t provide enough actionable information. You need to be more specific. “Increase online revenue by 5%” is a much more useful goal. It tells you where you need to focus and sets a realistic target everyone on the team can wrap their head around. Having specific goals also makes it possible to track progress.

    Remember too that you can have more than one goal. For example, if the SWOT test revealed inefficiencies in your brick and mortar business you can set a secondary goal of increasing productivity there by 10% over the coming year.

    Step 3: Schedule Meetings to Measure Progress

    Regular meetings during which you track progress toward your business goals are an expression of your commitment. They are also vital in letting everyone know where you are on the journey, what is working, and what needs to be adjusted going forward.

    Simply waiting until the end of the year to find out if your plan worked isn’t good enough. After all, you’re creating something here and just like a painter or a sculptor you need to stand back periodically, assess where you are, and make adjustments. Personally, I find meetings where everyone gets together to track progress to be incredibly useful.

    Step 4: Use Short Term Goals as a Catalyst

    If you really want those progress meetings to be productive, make sure they coincide with short term goals. Here’s why they are important: if the long term goal is to increase online revenue by 5% in 2022, and at your 1st quarterly progress meeting online revenue is flat, it’s easy to brush that off.

    If on the other hand, you set short term goals – say a 1% increase after the 1st quarter, 2.2% after the second, and 3.6% at the end of the 3rd quarter – you can assess whether or not the steps you instituted are paying off or if they need to be adjusted in order to reach the long term goal of 5% growth.

    Step 5: Acknowledge Milestones

    When you reach your goals, whether short or long term, it is important to acknowledge it and the people that had a hand in making it happen. You will have a real sense of accomplishment and the members of your team will feel like their efforts are appreciated, which is the best way to increase both loyalty and productivity.