Starting a new business can be a challenging and very stressful task for new entrepreneurs. You are full of ideas. You have thousands of details you have to arrange to perfection, you want to achieve success right away, and at some point, you start to feel lost in the sea of responsibilities.
Business growth doesn’t happen from thin air, and successful companies don’t evolve out of the blue. However, setting the right business goals to bring you success is a very tricky process. It all happens through carefully thought out plans, clear goals and lots of late hours at the office. If you don’t have a clear vision and a detailed plan of what you want to do and achieve, you are very likely to fail.
Here are a few simple tips gathered by the business development team at Fantastic Services, which will help you move in the right direction.
Follow the SMART acronym
The S.M.A.R.T. the acronym was first mentioned in a 1981 issue of Management Review, where they published a paper by George T. Doran called “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives”. In brief, smart goals are Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Timed. Here is what it all means:
- Specific – Business goals need to have very clearly defined objectives. When you want to increase sales or value of purchase, first you need to determine which market, which channel, how much, in which department (if you have a few). If you have too many goals, you can concentrate on the most important ones, so choose wisely.
- Measured – Everything has to be properly planned and calculated on each step. Every goal can be measured. For instance, if you want to improve your company’s customer service, you first need to measure the level of customer satisfaction, the client retention rate, research what makes your clients choose you, analyse all customer reviews, and define your strong and weak spots. Once you measure all these, you can proceed to the next step.
- Achievable – When you have unlimited funds and time to achieve something, that’s not a goal. It’s a dream. Don’t get me wrong, dreams are an essential part of an entrepreneur’s journey to success, but goals are something that can happen now and here. So, focus on the most critical objectives, and leave the dreams for a moment when you can afford them.
- Realistic – Here, you have to answer a few questions: Is this what your company wants to work on? Does it agree with the company’s mission? Is everyone involved in the project onboard?
- Timed – Good goals are limited in time. You need to set an appropriate period and use that time to work hard on achieving the goal in question. Without a time limit, it’s hard to measure a success rate.
Brainstorm your possibilities
The easiest way to set business goals is to brainstorm. First, you need to write down all your dreams and wishes for your business. Then you should pick each thing separately and start analyzing if it’s achievable, measurable and potentially beneficial. There are a few brainstorming methods you can try:
- List-making – pick one crucial idea, and start creating an outline of all the things you’ll need to achieve it, possible issues you may face and a timeline of some sort. Also, write down all the smaller goals, which are a part of the bigger goal. It will help you see everything from all sides.
- Mind mapping – Start with one idea, then use keywords and drawings to create a map of ideas connected to the first one. Many incredible inventions and business ideas start from considering what people may like by using mind maps.
- Brain Dump – Let your mind and your imagination take over. Get some paper and start writing down every idea that comes to your mind, without focusing on any of them, and no matter how crazy they may seem now.
Sort your options
Once all your goals are written, you need to sort the ideas into groups by their likeness, enforceability, financial impact and importance. This will help you make sense of them and choose the right ones. Once you pick the right categories and start putting ideas in them, you’ll be surprised how many overlap and create consistent themes. This is a sign that you are on the right path to setting your business goals.
Create a plan
Using the SMART acronym and the clearly defined and sorted categories ideas, you can proceed towards creating a plan. The action plan you create for achieving your business goals has to contain specific steps you’ll need to take to succeed. It will be easier to set the order of the goals if you focus on why the goal is so important and what it will mean for your business if you achieve it.
Make a commitment
One of the reasons people fail to achieve their goals is because they are not committed enough to the cause to see it through. This is why you need to be committed and never give up, no matter how hard it gets. Remember; don’t try to take care of everything from the first second. Take care of each task one at a time, be patient, understanding and firm about your positions. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and you will probably meet many setbacks, but if you follow your plan and you are genuinely devoted, there is no way you can fail.
Emphasise your personal bests
As an entrepreneur, you might always feel that you have to be ahead of the competition and that your results can always be better. However, the truth is that you’re probably just too hard on yourself. Achieving goals is important, but making sure you and your employees are motivated is much more important. Therefore, you should take the opportunity to pat yourself on the back for the progress you make. If a department achieves something good, you should mention and celebrate it because it’s progress, which is what every business is about. After all, even the most minor action is better than inaction.