Goals and the importance of them
Whether you run your own business or work as an employee, at some point in your career you will be asked to set some goals.
A goal is the desired outcome, result or achievement from effort that is put in. For instance, the finish line in a race is the end goal for those taking part in a race.
For business owners goals are exceptionally important.
Goals are used to help a business grow and develop as well as helping to determine which direction your business should take. How can you make your business a success if you don’t know where your business is heading, or know which tasks or areas you should be focusing on?
Without clear goals it is also hard to measure the progress you and your business is making
You can have more than one goal. In fact most coaches or business strategists suggest having one large overarching goal and then breaking this down into smaller more achievable ones. Goals should be flexible and often revisited. Remember it is okay to add to or at times change your goals. Sometimes ‘life gets in the way’ as we have seen only too clearly this last year.
Before setting any goals, it is helpful to conduct a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) – which is a high -level strategic planning model helping you to identify where in your business you can improve and where it is currently doing well. By doing the analysis, this will help to identify your challenges and opportunities prior to setting any goals or targets.
The goals you set as a business owner need to be SMART. Making goals SMART provides guidance for objectives setting, as well as helping performance management, and employee and personal development. By applying the SMART acronym, it will help you to differentiate between a clear task and a vague one.
What is a SMART Goal?
What is your goal? It is clear.
How will you know when you have achieved your goal? The measurement can be quantitative or qualitative.
Can you achieve your goal – or does it rely on other external factors beyond your control so that you never really achieve or fail?
Goals needs to be realistic, relevant, and achievable with limited reliance on others. We may all have a goal that we would like to be a millionaire by the end of the year but how realistic is it likely to be?
When do you want to achieve your goal by?
Short term and long-term Goals
Goals are much easier to achieve if they are SMART. Businesses can also create short term and long-term goals.
By setting short term goals you will often find it is much easier to fulfil the longer-term goals set. Longer term goals are more likely to be focusing on profitability, client retention and growth.
In business, many owners will often have 90-day or quarterly goals which breaks the big goal down so not only are they more manageable but more achievable.
Interestingly when we set goals, these help to trigger new behaviours – goal setting not only helps to align your focus but promotes a sense of self-mastery. After all you cannot manage what you do not measure, and you cannot improve upon something that you do not manage properly.
Finally, an important element when setting goals is the reward when you achieve them.
Make sure you take time to acknowledge reaching these goals, this will help to bring renewed motivation to those involved. Even as a sole trader, it is important to recognise when goals are achieved and to give yourself a thoroughly deserved pat on the back!