The very first step in achieving success in business is to first clearly define the business’ goals and purpose. Developing a long-term vision, ideally after collaboration with your team members, is a solid indication of leadership, which is of utmost importance in any successful business. Consider approaching the growth of your business strategically by setting measurable and realistic goals, anticipating and planning for potential deterrents, staying ready for change, and developing a clearly defined purpose for the team and the business, overall.
Strategic goal planning is not just about setting goals for the future, but likewise entails keeping track of progress. This keeps your targets in focus and helps the business stay on track towards these targets. Setting incremental goals and mapping out short-term plans are healthy steps towards larger things you wish to accomplish. Keeping in mind your personal goals is helpful, too. A balanced mix of personal and professional goals, keeping these aligned, and setting the time it will take to reach the targets all contribute to getting a clear picture of what you plan to accomplish across the board. How to do this? Set SMART goals that will help you evaluate your progress systematically.
SMART goals are:Specific or clear about what you want to achieve (“I will gain five new clients”); Measurable so you can recognize if you’ve achieved your goal (“My client count from today till end of quarter”);Achievable through the time, money, and resources available to you (“I can gain those five clients starting with referrals from my five existing clients”);Relevant to the direction you want your business to head in like increasing profit, employing more staff, or increasing brand awareness, etc. (“Additional clients will translate to additional profits”); and Timely by setting a realistic deadline for completing the goal (“Those five new clients will have signed on by end of quarter”).
Once you’ve set your business’ goals, map out all actions you can take to achieve them. Stay realistic in setting what you wish to achieve. Break down all major steps into smaller increments and consider the following as you devise the business’ strategy in achieving the goals:
Time frames or how long you expect a task will take to get completed (include both start and end dates); Action Items– detail all the possible actions that will be your steps in achieving your goals (e.g. research five different suppliers in the area and list down each supplier’s advantages and disadvantages); Responsibilities – plan out the delegation of these actions; Resources – determine your budget, staffing requirements, and any supplies you might need; and finally, Final Outcome Desired by writing out a vivid description of what you expect from these actions and how you’ll know when the goal has been achieved.
So how do you know if you’ve achieved your business’ goals? Design and implement a system that will help you track and measure your goals. Perhaps a software? Or an Excel template that you yourself have devised? Keep it simple, such as a checklist or a self-tabulating spreadsheet that you can easily maintain or teach other team members to complete on a regular basis.
As a final note, remember to reward yourself and all team members who were integral in achieving these goals once you cross the finish line.