People talk about goal-setting for your business, but what does it mean?
In as simple a description as possible, it means cutting your entire business efforts in half.
How do I mean?
Setting realistic goals for your business will help you achieve success in your entrepreneurial journey, not just by letting you know where to go but also how to get there.
Just think the difference between a guy lost in a wood trying to find his way out, and another guy lost in the same wood, but who finds a map outlining where each trail leads to.
We’re talking essentially the difference between coming out and pretending to only have gone on a nice stroll, and having a rescue party scouring the forest for you.
Even if you don’t need rescuing, you would have taken, at the very least, twice as much time to get out of there without a map.
The point is this: having a clear set of realistic, achievable goals in your business is very much like having a clearly outlined map of which direction you and your business are headed. And since most of an entrepreneur’s time in business is actually spent “figuring things out”, setting realistic goals – and setting them the right way – is certain to prevent too much wasted time and effort.
Today, I’m going to show you how to set these realistic goals for your business.
5 Tips for Setting Business Goals
Know what you’re trying to achieve
Before you start setting goals, make sure you understand exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.
If you’re just starting out in business, you’re probably trying to become established, have things up and running, and put yourself out there. You’ll want to come up with a clear business idea, an identity, a product or service, and a target market.
If you’ve already waded into the waters and are trying to take more steps forward, you should consider what exactly you’re aiming at.
Are you looking to improve your sales? Increase profits? Gain more customers?
Knowing what you want will help you create workable strategies to achieve them.
Be clear about your objectives
Ask yourself, what will my end result look like.
If improving your sales is your main target, then what number of completed sales in a month is satisfactory?
At the end of the month, do you expect to see 200 sales? 500? A thousand? What is success in this area like for you and your business at the month?
Then the next step (which you should also follow if you’re having trouble deciding, or are not sure, what success should be like for your business at this stage in terms of sales) is to research competitors or other similar businesses.
How many sales are they getting?
If other similar businesses are much bigger than yours, then how many sales were they getting at this stage?
But do not just consider their success alone. Consider the challenges they faced (or could have faced, since some of their challenges might not be in the public domain).
If you do not consider this, it’s easy to set unrealistic goals for yourself.
Researching other businesses will help you understand what is “realistic” for your business. You could adopt the same figures as a target or extend them a bit to challenge yourself.
Create a plan to reach those goals
A good goal-setting strategy involves breaking down your larger goals into smaller ones. This helps you focus on what needs to happen next.
If your overall goal is to make 200 sales in a month, how are you going to get there?
How many people know about your business? How are you pushing out your product or service?
Evidently, a smaller marketing and brand-publicity goal will be part of this bigger sales-improvement goal.
If your goal is to have more customers, then you might need to consider:
- How many customers you have at the moment
- Whether or not you have a customer-retention strategy
- Your social media engagement policy
- A customer referral programme
After considering all of these, you’re likely to come up with strategies such as:
- Improving customer retention
- Increasing social media following
- Active social media engagement
- An ads programme
You will need to create smaller goals around these strategies, which will lead to your overall aim of getting customers.
You should also make sure that each goal has a clear deadline. If you don’t have any deadlines, then you’re likely to procrastinate.
Measure your progress
Once you’ve set your goals, you need to measure your progress. This will help you see whether you’re making steady progress towards your goals.
You will need some objective metrics by which you can judge your performance in a particular period.
If you are seeking to increase customer engagement on social media, you should choose a length of time after which you can collect data and observe your performance.
On Facebook, you can monitor your business page performance using Facebook insights.
On Twitter you can use Twitter analytics.
There is Google analytics as well for your websites.
It’s also a good idea to keep track of your progress using a spreadsheet. You can collect and save your performances over a particular period.
Adjust your strategy when necessary
If you find yourself struggling with your goals, try adjusting your strategy.
You might not be able to achieve everything you’d hoped for at once, so think carefully about what you really want to accomplish.