Why goal setting is important

Goals are an important part of running a successful business. They can give you a clear focus, motivate employees and set targets for your business to work towards.

Goal setting can also provide you with a set of criteria to see if your business is succeeding. Having clear, well-defined goals can help you take control of your business’s direction and increase the chances of achieving your larger business targets.

Setting SMART goals

Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound goals can help you focus your efforts and increase the chance of successfully completing them. These aspects are important to consider when creating your goals.

When setting a goal, you should be specific about what you want to accomplish. Specific goals have a much greater chance of being achieved. Ask yourself:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why is the goal important?
  • Who is involved?
  • Where is this goal located?

It's important that you can measure your progress. By assessing your progress, you can keep on track and measure whether you have been successful. Measurement methods can be data based, such as money saved and number of customers served, or they can be based on things like customer feedback and surveys. Ask yourself:

  • How will I know that I have accomplished the goal?
  • How many/much?
  • What sources of information can I use to determine if I have met the goal?

Your goal should stretch you to be challenged, but be defined enough to be attainable. Check that your goal is something you have the time, money and resources to do. Ask yourself:

  • How is this goal achieved?
  • What resources are needed to achieve the goal, and do we have them?
  • If not, how can we attain them?

Ensure your goal is relevant to the direction you want your business to go in. For example, increasing profit, employing more staff, increasing brand awareness. Ask yourself:

  • Does this match our other efforts?
  • Is it the right time to be setting this goal?
  • Is it worthwhile for our business?
  • Am I the right person to achieve this goal?

A target date gives your business a timeframe in which to work towards the goal. A goal without a timeframe can easily be forgotten or pushed to the side. It's also important to set timeframes for the small goals along the way. Ask yourself:

  • When does the goal need to be completed by?
  • What can be accomplished within the timeframe?
  • What can I do in the immediate future (six weeks)?
  • What will need a longer timeframe (six months)?

Example of a SMART goal

Overall goal: I want to grow my gardening business.

Specific: I will gain four new clients for my business.

Measurable: I will measure my progress by keeping track of how many new clients I gain while maintaining my current client base.

Achievable: I will gain four new clients as I currently have four available spaces in my fortnightly client scheduling diary.

Relevant: Adding clients to my customer base will allow me to grow my business and increase my income.

Timely: I will have four new clients within three months.

SMART Goal: I will gain four new clients for my gardening business within a three month period filling my current available diary places. This will allow me to grow my business and increase my revenue.

Achieving your goals

Once you’ve got your list of business goals, you’ll need to get to work achieving them. Here are some things to consider when planning your strategy to achieve your business goals:

  • Actions – describe the individual actions you will take to work towards your goal. For example, research five different ice-cream suppliers in Hobart and make a list of their pros and cons.
  • Timeframe – set a deadline for completing your goal. Ask yourself how long you expect the task to take and set a realistic date to work towards.
  • Resources – detail your budget, staffing requirements and any supplies you’ll need to accomplish the goal.
  • Accountability – tell your staff, customers or a group of people you trust about your goals. These people can help you to stay on track and make sure you are working towards your goal.
  • Review – consider how you will measure the success of your goal. Set time aside to regularly review how you are tracking towards it. Consider what actions you can take if you are not on track.

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