As a business owner, you know that there are many factors to consider when growing. It can be difficult to work out how to plan your marketing strategy, let alone what your goals should be for the business overall.
For this article, we’ll break down the process of setting effective business goals and give specific examples of objectives that can work for different types of companies. We will also go through how each goal is achieved and who you should involve in tackling them. Let’s get started!
The best way to set your company’s goals is through brainstorming – a series of creative meetings where you sit down with employees and come up with ideas for your objectives. This helps to improve employee engagement and help them feel part of the process, increasing staff retention.
It would help if you also tried to include people who aren’t your regular employees. Anyone who is remotely connected to your business could be useful in helping you set practical goals.
Brainstorms are best managed by an experienced team leader who plans the sessions to make sure that everyone is involved. It’s important to capture all ideas – good and bad – so they can be evaluated later.
Here is a simple guide to planning effective business goals and the strategic planning which should be carried out before building a business strategy that works for you and allows you to grow your company and build success.
Step 1: Set up your brainstorming meetings
The first step in setting goals is deciding on what format you want your brainstorming sessions to follow, as well as identifying the people who should be involved in the process. The best format for your brainstorming sessions is one that suits your company. It might be a formal setting with an agenda, or it could be more loosely organised with free-flowing discussion.
Decide what structure will work best. For example, the management team will probably help you to come up with some of the ideas. However, don’t forget that employees from different departments have their own special responsibilities to help them brainstorm relevant ideas. Others need to come up with some ideas as well because they are important for the business as a whole.
Step 2: Set a time limit for the meetings
Brainstorming sessions can take a while to get started. You need to give people the chance to come up with their ideas first and then turn these ideas into specific objectives. To do this, you’ll need multiple sessions. The best way to set a deadline is by considering how long you have until you want to reach your objectives and guessing that you’ll need three brainstorming sessions per month for your goals.
Step 3: Identify who should be involved in the meetings.
Let’s say you have a business in Birmingham, but your employees are remote. You should aim to make sure that all of the employees who will be involved in achieving your objectives are invited to your brainstorming sessions. So, invite those people who work closely with you in the marketing, business development and sales departments to remote Zoom meetings.
It’s also important to involve employees who don’t normally take part in brainstorming sessions. For example, they might be responsible for the design of your branding or your IT systems but should have insight into what you can achieve on their terms. If you include people from different departments for each session, it will help to get everyone involved.
Step 4: Be prepared to change your goals if more ideas emerge
Not every idea can be implemented into a mission statement or into a company’s business plan. Sometimes new ideas emerge during brainstorming that is too speculative or expensive to test out immediately.
Step 5: Keep track of all ideas
It’s easy to forget the details of what was discussed at a brainstorming session, especially if your meetings are long. You need to have a way of making sure that all participants are clear on why their ideas have been included and the format for their objectives.
Your best options are to write all of your ideas down or use a presentation tool like PowerPoint. This way, you can share with employees which ideas will be used, and they can double-check their contribution by reading what they contributed. A combination of both is even better!
Step 6: Group similar goals into categories and evaluate them against each other
The next step is to come up with your goals in order of priority. To do this, you need to group together similar objectives. It’s important to work from a big list of ideas down to a few specific goals which are achievable in a limited time period.
For example, you might have dozens of ideas about the pricing structure for your products. Some of these ideas can be grouped together if they are related to the same type of goal. For example, you might come up with three different options for your prices: low-end, middle-range and high end.
Now you are ready to evaluate your options more closely by grouping them into categories based on what is most meaningful. Evaluating ideas in this way will help you choose the best way forward for your business.
Step 7: Convert your goals into measurable objectives
This is where you develop the exact way in which each goal will be achieved. It’s important to convert your goals into measurable objectives so that you can measure the success of each goal. For example, your pricing objectives might include:
- Setting a new price for each of your products by ‘x’ date.
- Getting 5% more customers or clients to buy your products at lower prices than before.
Step 8: Finally, develop a solution that makes sense for your business
In the end, you’ll have to make choices about how to achieve each of your goals. It’s important to keep in mind that all of the ideas and solutions that you come up with should be designed for your business. You can’t just pick the most popular option without taking into account how this will affect your customers or clients.
With these steps, you can be sure that you are organised and ready to come up with innovative ideas for your company.
Goal setting tips and tricks
Here’s a list of ways that you can create effective goals:
- Know your company’s strengths. Know what your ideal business would look like, know what it would cost, and know how it would benefit your customers. The more you know your goals, the better you can reach them.
- Set realistic goals [Keep in mind that success often leads to growth, so a goal of becoming a well-known brand probably isn’t a great one… You want to set goals that build on each other.]
- Set SMART goals [Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound].
- Reward your staff for reaching goals. When you have a target that is a challenge, give a bonus or pay rise to those who can reach it. This will make employees work harder for you and help you create a successful business.
- Get clear on your values as an organisation. Is your goal in line with those values? If not, think again.
- Reward yourself and your team for meeting goals
- Set clear deadlines (remember to reward staff if they reach the deadlines)
- Set smaller goals to break down those big ones. For example: If you want to have more visitors on your website, set a goal of 100 new visitors per month. That’s a big goal, so break it down into smaller pieces: get 10 visitors in the first month, 20 in the second and 30 in the third. This can be fun but also challenging. It will help you maintain enthusiasm throughout all 12 months of your year-long plan.
- Define specific goals for areas of the business. For example, look at a marketing goal, which can turn into a marketing strategy or a social media goal if you have a specific department.
- Use stretch goals. These are goals that are difficult but within your reach. For one of our clients, their stretch goal was to get the number one listing in Google for a specific search term. This would be difficult to achieve, but they are well on their way and have set themselves up to succeed.
- Have a long term goal. It’s important to have a long-term vision of what your business is going to look like and how you’re going to get there so you have something to work towards. The key is having a long-term goal that will help keep your business on track for the next 12-36 months. Consider your KPI or most important few key performance indicators for your company as part of this. Set intermediate goals that will help you accomplish the long-term goal.
- Have an individual goal. People need to have goals that they can measure themselves against, so if you don’t have one it’s time to set one right now. For example, “I am going to read x number of books about business over the next year.”
- Consider a team goal for each section of your company so that each section knows where they should be headed and how to get there.
- To make sure that your company is successful, you should look at customer satisfaction as a goal for any initiatives that are customer-focused. Customer satisfaction is the measurement of how well your customers feel they were treated by your business.
Work with a business coach
If you’re struggling with goal setting, please get in touch. We can impove the situation for you.