Don’t Over-complicate Your Business Goal Efforts
Many business owners are under the false assumption that goals have to be a formal document, several hundred pages long. There are businesses who have been successful with goals written on a single page.
While not every business will have the luxury of keeping their goals to one page, the consensus is to keep your goal-setting efforts as simple as possible. Goals need to be usable. If you create a multi-page document that is both unreadable and unmanageable you have wasted your efforts and your time. If the goals affect others, you will be wasting their time as well.
When you set out to create clear and concise goals, people will find them easier to work with. Start by listing out the major objectives of your business. Keep this stage high-level. It can be as simple as stating you want to increase your customer base by 12% within the next year. Another possibility is setting sales targets.
There are no right or wrong answers during this first pass, and you can make changes as necessary. After you are happy with your high-level goals, it’s time to dig in and create tasks that will accomplish the high-level goals. When you determine what these are, assign dates to complete them by. Determine any prerequisites for completing them.
These could include funding, training, etc. The more specific you are with the tasks, the easier they will be to accomplish. If you have multiple people who are going to help you with your business goals, the next step is to match up who is qualified to perform which tasks.
You also need to make sure they can accomplish them in the period given. It’s a good idea to ask them if they feel comfortable with the amount of time allocated. Some managers may even choose to add extra time as a fudge factor, to ensure successful completion. Other managers will try to undercut the time as a way to push their employees.
Which way is better, will depend on the team. Creating goals for your business is an ongoing process. It changes as the needs of your business changes. There can also be situations when members of the team leave before all the goals are complete.
By keeping your goals and tasks as simple as possible, you will set up an environment where these situations will not have a big impact on completing the overall goals.
Failure in Business May Be Due to a Lack of Goals
Businesses fail because they run out of cash. This is like saying people die because their hearts stop. Both are certainly true statements but what are the underlying reasons for failure and death? When you can figure those out, you may be able to extend the life of both.
One of the biggest reasons for business failure is a lack of goals. Many business owners tend to take a fly by the seat of their pants approach and to leave their businesses to chance. Would you let a house builder build your house without a blueprint? Most people would not, and yet, many business owners are doing the equivalent when they don’t set up goals.
Goals do not have to be elaborate or even formal. They just need to be realistic, and they need to have set time frames. Otherwise, there won’t be any way to track the success. Not everyone knows how to properly set up goals for their businesses.
Try to seek out advice from mentors or coaches who have experience in this regard. They can give you an outsider’s view about your business, and they can help you keep on track to ensure you are meeting your goals. If you decide to seek help professionally, don’t skimp on the costs.
You get what you pay for, all things being equal. However, there is nothing wrong with being demanding with the results that you get. If coaches are as good as they specify, they should be held to a high standard. Insist on some guarantee, just in case. Do a lot of research before making the decision.
If someone doesn’t feel right, there is usually a good reason why. Trust those instincts. They will serve you well. When you set up goals for your business, you may discover opportunities that you wouldn’t have otherwise found. Your goals will require tasks and those tasks will often require research.
This research would never have been done if you didn’t set goals. It can open up your eyes to endless possibilities. You may even find potential customers as a result of this research. Running a business often entails evaluating probabilities. What is the probability that this product will sell? What is the percentage of online sales compared to traditional sales? And so on.
If it’s widely regarded that businesses who set goals tend to do better than those who don’t why would you go against this probability? It’s clear that setting goals is the right thing to do.
Check back soon for Issue 2 of Setting & Achieving Business Goals as we continue to look at the importance of goal setting for business success.