Setting goals for your business

As business owner, it’s important that you take the time in setting goals and measuring how you are tracking in achieving them.  Having clear, well-defined goals can help you grow your business, achieve your objectives and impact your team in a favourable way, as everyone knows the direction they are heading in.

Most goal setting is done at the beginning of a financial year as it coincides with tax reporting and makes measuring progress much easier

To get started

Before you even begin to write down your goals, you need to know what areas your business needs to focus on and could improve in. Some tools that could help are doing a SWOT analysis – identify your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as Benchmarking – research similar businesses in your industry or location and compare industry averages on income, and expenses.

Setting goals

Setting SMART (specific, measureable, achievable, relevant and timely) goals can help you evaluate the goals you wish to set. Think about whether they are realistic. You should write down your goals in your business plan to help keep you on track to achieve them.

Here are a few things to consider when setting your goals:

  • Specific – be clear about what you want to achieve; eg I want to grow my cleaning business
  • Measurable – make sure the goal can be measured, eg I will gain five new clients
  • Achievable – to be meaningful the goal must be possible eg I have five places available on my fortnightly schedule
  • Relevant – ensure your goal is relevant to the direction you want your business to head in, eg, adding clients will increase the value of my business and help me create a saleable asset
  • Timely – set a realistic deadline for completing the goal, and remember a plan without a timeframe is merely a dream, eg I will have those five clients in three months

So the SMART Goal might be: I will gain four new clients for my cleaning business within a three month period enabling me to increase my present income and the value of my business.

Achieving these goals

Once you’ve got your list of business goals, you’ll need to figure out how to achieve them. Be realistic in what you can achieve. It might be helpful to break down the steps.  Consider the strategies needed to achieve the goals set:

  • time frame – how long do you expect a task will take to complete (include both a start and finish date)
  • actions – describe the actions you are going to take in detail e.g. research
  • responsibilities – write down the person or people responsible for achieving each step
  • resources – detail your budget, staffing requirements and any supplies you’ll need
  • the desired outcome – describe what you expect from your actions and how you will measure your progress.

Measuring progress and attainment

Put a system in place to help you measure your goals and keep you on track.

You can keep it simple, such as making a checklist and ticking off a completed task.  You can also use more complex measurement processes like comparison with budget etc

Once you are happy that you have achieved your goals, consider what happens next – if I achieved all this, what might I be capable of achieving next.  You may surprise yourself!!