Setting business goals: what to consider

Increase profit margin, provide better customer service, encourage sustainability! When it comes to setting your business goals – whatever they may be – it’s important to keep them clear and well-defined to help you and your business grow.

A well-considered business goal is one way to improve teamwork and collaboration, hit your objectives, and know where you’re heading. This article helps you set your professional goals by knowing what to consider.

Before you start

Take the opportunity to step back and review your business. Look at the big picture. Where is the business at, and where would you like it to go? Are there areas you can improve?

Research your market and similar businesses in your industry to see how you can improve on products and practices. When you know what you want to achieve in the long run, set a large-scale overarching goal. Narrow that big goal down to smaller targets, and the smaller goals that’ll help you hit them.

Keep business goals realistic and achievable. The SMART method for goal setting encourages you to make them: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound to improve your chances of succeeding.

How to set business goals

Start with the most recent

If you’re feeling unsure about where to start when it comes to planning new business goals, turn to your most recent ones for guidance. Work out what the next steps are from goals you’ve accomplished, and for those you didn’t hit, see if they need to be altered in any way to make them SMART.

Know what you really want

What’s important to you? Always set goals that lead you to what you really desire as opposed to what you think you “should” be doing in business. This makes it easier to stay committed to a goal, because you can see how it fits into the greater purpose of what you need to feel fulfilled in your work.

Refine and remind yourself

Writing out your goals helps you to refine them. Have a clear idea of how long you think the goal may take to achieve, and what you’re going to need and do to achieve it.

Clear up exactly what you want with a written draft or two, and keep them somewhere you can be reminded of them every so often. A subtle refresher with them here and there will help you stay on track.

Share with others

Consider sharing your goals with a close friend or business mentor who may be able to point out further opportunity or suggest others you may not have thought of. This person may even be able to support you and help you achieve your goals with advice or resources.

Build new habits

To make a goal achievable, make sure you adopt a new routine or practice that supports it. Whether it’s reorganising your daily planner or getting into the office half an hour earlier – organise yourself for the best chance to hit your new business goals.

How to stay focused on the business goal

Try these handy tips if you’re finding it tricky to stick to your plans:

  • Think long term – anything worth doing is going to take time and effort, so don’t forget to keep your eyes on the bigger goal while you’re working your way through the small set-backs and tough goals.
  • Don’t forget a work-life balance – keep your mind and body sharp, so you can sustain the long journey to your large-scale goal. Surround yourself with positive reads and people, and stay healthy with regular exercise and healthy eating.
  • Create a roadmap – it’s essential to clearing up the mission of a company, and the path to hitting its goals. This is also a great way to stay focused and identify potential roadblocks in the future you’ll need to work around.

Sleep deprivation equates to productivity losses of $17.9 billion or $2418 per person in Australia!

Reward yourself

When you’ve done all the hard work and hit that goal – you deserve a reward. But it’s important to note, not all rewards are the same. According to one life coach, there are rewards you enjoy after you’ve achieved your goal, and those you give yourself to reinforce the behaviour to achieving your goals.

For example, when you complete that big project, you can reward yourself with an expensive bottle of wine – and although you’ll thoroughly enjoy it – it won’t encourage the behaviour associated with hitting your business goal. Whereas as a reward such as an inspiring new note book or short course you’ve been eyeing off to improve your skills will more reliably produce a repeat of your behaviour.

Get started

It never hurts to take some time and assess where your business and career are going. Get started with the large-scale goal and work your way back setting to smaller goals that will help get you there.

Keep your new business goals realistic and achievable with the SMART method in mind: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound.

If one of your goals is to build cashflow, check out the article Cashflow tips for self-employed. For extra peace of mind for your business while you plan for future goals, get a quote for Business Insurance.