Napolean Hill, the famous author on success, once said, "A goal is a dream with a deadline."
Goal-making is common for athletics ("Our goal is to make it to the Super Bowl") and for education ("I want to make an 'A' in Physics this semester"). Unfortunately, when it comes to the world of business, too many business owners leave the process of goal-making and goal-achievement behind. They plow ahead with no vision nor any road map to get there. It is a major lost opportunity.
However, it doesn't matter if you have been in business for thirty years or for thirty days, setting goals for the new business year is essential for planning where you're going and how you're going to get there. A recent survey by Staples, found that 80% of small business owners fail to track their goals during the year or 77% have yet to reach the vision for their company.
It seems in this fast-paced, digital marketplace, goal making is becoming a lost art. Yet, if the leadership and staff work together this month and begin the simple task of developing goals, might see a noticeable change in their company growth and profit.
So, goal-setting is a critical component for growth and here are Five Ways to Set Goals for Your Business in 2015:
Where did you succeed or fail in 2014?: List the top profitable lines and services you offered last year in order of profit. Then, list those lines which failed or limped along last year. This provides an inventory of your business. List them on a spreadsheet.
Set 3-5 Reasonable and Measurable Goals for 2015: Now that you know where your company succeeded and failed last year, you can use that as your guide for this year. Using that list, create goals that are reasonable and can be done in a 12-month period. ("Increase profit from online catalogue by 4%.") Also, make sure they can be measured. ("add three new mechanics to service center"). Avoid developing a long list of goals as they can be too unwieldy and unreasonable for your company to ever reach. Three to five goals are more than enough, even for a larger business.
Separate the goals into quarterly segments: Breaking up the goals for each quarter takes some pressure off and makes the process manageable. Plus, if the goal is reached early you can publicize it.
Create strategies to reach the goals: For each goal, create a simple strategy to get there ("We will open on Saturdays from 9:00 to 12:00 noon to reach more customers who commute during the week.") Simplicity is the key here. Get feedback from employees and then share the strategy with them.
Review the goals every three months: Check your goals at the end of the quarter. Have you reached them already? Are your strategies working? You may need to revise your strategy or even create a new goal. Don't wait until October to see where you are in your goal achievement. Do it year-round.
It's only January and not too late, by a long shot, to develop, strategize, implement and monitor your small business goals. It's a smart, strategic and even fun way to grow as a company as you meet the needs of both your employees and your customers.