5 Sure-Fire Tips To Help You Set Realistic Business Goals
When I started my first business, I was excited about all the work I had put into getting it going and for the future. Was my business going to be successful? Would I get clients? Would I reap the benefits for years to come? I thought I had a lot of tangible business goals. Still, in retrospect, many were lofty, unobtainable, and more like fuzzy dreams than achievable goals.
Today, I am much more savvy and aware of the types of business goals set for my business. Over the years, I have learned the importance of setting realistic and attainable goals, and if you want to become a pro at setting business goals for your company, I’ve got just the right tips to get you started!
Why Should You Set Business Goals?
The short answer is – business goals help you measure progress and reach desired results. They also keep you focused on what matters, give you a sense of direction, and provide you with something to aim for. In other words, business goals turn your business vision into reality.
For example, if you set a goal to run a full marathon, could you get up tomorrow and run 26.2 miles without training? For most of us, this is an impossible goal. However, consider setting up benchmarks and realistic training goals to hit 26.2 miles. In that case, it becomes more real and achievable. It might take time to reach 26.2 miles, but if you set yourself up with the proper training plan and mini-goals along the way – with a bit of grit and perseverance, you will be crossing the finish line in no time.
5 Tips To Help You Set Realistic Business Goals
Using the same mentality for training for a marathon, how can we apply that type of setup and follow through with our business goals? Simple, follow these 5 steps to get started:
1. Start small and then build from there
Only bite off what you can chew. Start by setting smaller business goals that are achievable within a shorter amount of time, such as weekly or monthly goals. This will allow you to gain momentum and confidence in achieving bigger business goals over the long term.
2. Ask yourself, “why?”
Ask the hard question first: why are you setting this business goal? What is the underlying motivation behind it? For example, is it to increase revenue or make your business more efficient? Having a clear understanding of why you have set that business goal will help you stay motivated and focused as you take action toward achieving it.
3. Break down long-term goals into mini-goals
This is in direct alignment with the marathon training I mentioned earlier. Breaking down long-term business goals into smaller, achievable milestones will give you a greater sense of progress and accomplishment as you move closer to reaching those bigger goals. Identify milestones along the way for tracking your progress, such as weekly or monthly targets, so each milestone feels like an achievement in and of itself.
4. Monitor your results
Monitoring your business results is essential for business success as it helps you adjust your business goals when needed. Measure business progress against each goal so that you can make sure things are on track and make adjustments, if necessary.
5. Celebrate your wins
Rewarding yourself after achieving a set business goal is a great way to stay motivated and focused on the next one set in front of you. So whether it’s a night out with friends or something more extensive like a vacation, take time to celebrate – you deserve it after all the hard work, planning, and tracking!
Examples of Business Goals
In the early days of my company, some of my first business goals were to the tune of “get a client” or “make X$ this month.” While it was good to at least have goals, I have since learned that business should be much more than short-term goals. A well-rounded business should have a mix of both short-term or long-term goals, so you can focus on the overall business growth but also see immediate results.
Here are some examples of some business goals that could apply to many businesses:
Short-term business goals
- Increase online sales by 10% in this quarter
- Secure 3 new clients this quarter
- Launch a new product within 6 months
- Cut operating costs by 5% in the next fiscal year
- Improve customer satisfaction ratings by 10% in the next quarter
Long-term business goals
- Increase revenue by 20% in the next year
- Become the leading business in our sector
- Expand to other cities or markets within 5 years
- Diversify product offerings within the next 5 years
- Develop new partnerships and collaborations with 25% growth in the next decade
Strategic business goals
- Establish strong company culture and values
- Improve technology and digital capabilities
- Diversify revenue streams by exploring new markets
- Increase your brand’s awareness and recognition
- Build programs to improve employee satisfaction and retention
Collaboration-based business goals
- Launch cross-team collaboration initiatives: weekly virtual coffee hangout (Pro-tip: use one of these fun virtual team building activities)
- Create channels for employees to share their hobbies and personal projects (pets, plants, music)
- Encourage learning opportunities across departments (hosting webinars, bringing a guest speaker, financing a course opportunity)
- Highlight the successes of projects involving multiple teams in a general channel
- Host a monthly happy hour to improve community building
Business goals are essential for any business, large or small. They help you focus on what is necessary, align your team members around a common goal, and measure progress as you go.
How To Pick The Right Business Goals
When it comes to business goals, the key is to pick realistic ones that are still challenging. Set business goals focusing on specific results, such as a goal to increase online sales by 10%, rather than vague objectives like “improve customer service” or “increase revenue.”
Also, consider the resources available – if you don’t have enough people or money to set a certain business goal, adjust accordingly. Make sure you prioritize your goals right off the bat during the discovery phase. This way, you can be sure you can achieve those business goals and not just aim for something unachievable.
If finding resources or understanding time allocation can be a problem, invest in software to help track your goals. A project management program like Hive can help connect you immediately to your goals and projects and ensure business goals are on track. Hives goal tracking feature can seamlessly add tasks, due dates, and more to your project. The platform ensures cross-departmental functionality and transparency, so everyone sees the same goals and milestones, and it keeps all lines of communication- and goal targets – visual to all.
Finally, don’t forget to make business goals that are relevant to the business you are running. Don’t set business goals for something unrelated to your business, or you will run out of energy quickly. Focus on what matters most and get back in the driver’s seat!
Setting business goals can be daunting but rewarding and successful with the right mindset and approach. Just remember: set realistic business goals focusing on specific results, consider available resources, use project management software if needed, and focus on what matters most to your business.
Strategies for Aligning Team Goals with Business Goal
If you’ve defined your business goals, it’s time to communicate them to your team. As straightforward the importance of aligning your business goals to your team might be, getting it accomplished can be a challenge to most business leaders. When employees are motivated, they are more likely to be engaged and productive, which can lead to improved team performance and the achievement of business goals. Here are a few ideas to help you when aligning your team goals with your business goals:
1. Learn team members’ motivations and dreams
Ideally at the start of a project or right on onboarding, set up some time to learn more about each individual in your team. This will help you to know how to inspire them to work towards their personal and professional goals by aligning it with your business goals. Here at Hive, each employee writes their own “User Manual” in the first week they start, which our CEO John Furneaux re-reads often.
2. Create a company culture that supports your team’s goals
Offer good compensation and a generous benefit package such as a gym membership, gift cards to local catering businesses and flexible working hours. Everyone appreciates quality time with their family and friends, living a healthier lifestyle, and the opportunity to make conscious choices in their purchases, such as supporting local businesses and using clean energy. Your company can be an advocate for all these practices and help to improve work performance in your team by inspiring employees to work towards their goals too.
3. Show the positive impact your business is making in the world
As the African proverb tells us, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Most people want to make an impact in the world with their work. If you can show your collaborators how your company goals will solve a problem in the world, you will certainly get more people on board to work motivated.