According to a recent industry study, 77% of small business founders stated that they are yet to achieve their organization's goals. And an even higher percentage of 80% stated that they do not track or measure their business goals.
Why is this?
Well, while goal setting is crucial, not all goal-setting produces the same results. Knowing how to set relevant goals and the pathway to achieving such objectives takes practice, time and some guidance.
IMPORTANCE OF HAVING SPECIFIC GOALS
Imagine a startup having a rather vague goal of taking control of their company culture, but no actual steps on how to achieve it or how to measure their progress.
The path from bad company culture to a healthy one is long and requires you to address lots of things—from acceptable communication and behavior to dress codes, all the way to values, philosophy, and employee treatment—so where do you start?
WHAT’S YOUR FIRST OBJECTIVE?
Instead of trying to change everything at once, you’ll need to set up your goals to reach the top.
For example, first you should choose what type of company culture you wish to gravitate toward, as there are several of them—do you prefer a competitive atmosphere, or maybe want more teamwork and support? This will determine which team members are good and which ones you might want to replace because they want to stick with a bad culture instead of embracing the changes.
At the same time, you can search for new team members who will align with your ideal company culture by using the Attraction, Selection, Attrition (ASA) theory method:
- Attraction: Individuals will be attracted to organizations that hold the same values and employ people similar in personality, attitudes, and interests.
- Selection: Organizations tend to employ individuals similar in key traits and skills to those who already work there.
- Attrition: Those who don’t fit in will leave on their own over time.
Such well laid out goals will have more effect than simply stating you’re changing a company culture but providing no real framework.
4 PILLARS OF GOAL SETTING
1. SET MEASURABLE GOALS
Setting measurable goals, documenting them, and going over them from time to time can multiply your chances of business success by 95%. This may be an obvious step, but its importance can never be overstated.
Your company's mission may be an overreaching one like “provide the best invoicing app” but the goals that will help you achieve it must be measurable. How will you know you’re doing well otherwise?
For instance, if you set a goal like “boost the service X’s revenue by 20% over the next 5 months” you need to ask yourself what else is needed to help you attain the goal?
- Would you boost revenue by improving the way you offer the service?
- Would you increase your advertising budget?
Perhaps you’ll need to find out the number of customers that you have to secure to actualize your goal.
2. DESIGN SYSTEMS TO ASSIST YOUR GOALS
After you’ve set your goals, you have to implement systems that will help you make consistent progress toward them.
Think about it, traditional New Year’s resolutions like “I'm going to drop 30 pounds this year” most times fall flat because many people who make such resolutions lack a daily, weekly, or monthly system that will help keep them on the right path to attain success.
Goals void of support systems to push the progress will end up remaining goals and not realities. If one of your goals is to boost your prospective customers or number of leads, without a support system, you may reach out to 20 people today, threw tomorrow, and 50 the next day, having the hope that you will see a rise in your numbers.
A smarter move would be to create a lead generation system that helps you establish a pipeline of prospective customers funneled from various channels, identify follow up procedures (both second and third), and track the relevant metrics or key performance indicators.
3. MATCH UP YOUR RESOURCE EXPENDITURES WITH THE GOALS SET
Just like systems, the necessary resource expenditures must match up to activities that help your goals come into fruition. Don’t think for a second that all the money your business venture is making will go straight to your pocket. You need to invest into your business, or you’ll quickly close the doors.
If for instance, one of your business goals is to have a strong client retention rate, you should have your frontline team members devote a huge part of their time on lead generation and invest resources to support this.
Matching up your resource expenditures with your goals could also mean negating certain activities. You may have to create time for reaching out to customers to find out the aspects of your product or service they like and dislike instead of going to a workshop on team building.
A study even showed that approximately 89% of employees waste time on activities that do not match up with organizational objectives. So, make sure relevant resources are devoted to the fulfillment of your business goals.
4. ENSURE YOUR ENTIRE TEAM IS IN AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY'S GOALS
Strong goals aren’t static, rather they exhibit a dynamic nature and reveal a continuous evolving reality. To enable employees to change the activities used to enhance such goals, your employees must be in the know and be aware when certain changes to the goals occur.
A great way to ensure that your team members remain updated is to identify major milestones to help your staff to aim at near-term goals.
Measurable goals are amazing motivators, and weekly, monthly, or daily goals can help create a sense of fulfillment that spurs your team members ahead to keep working towards your company's goals. You could also aim at specific items to measure, which will create a broader view or a quantitative picture of the entire process.
Setting an immeasurable goal such as “get as many leads as you can, ” will mean various things to different employees. One team member may be happy to get eight leads in a month, while another will put in extra effort to get 50 leads monthly. Your goals need to be common across your company to offer your staff tangible numbers to reach for.
MAKING OBJECTIVE CHANGES
Your business goals will only be as effective as the resources, systems, and team players working toward the fulfillment of such objectives. Use the goal-setting pillars to set better goals that drive all-around business success. You just need to ensure that the goals you set are measurable and every member of your team is fully aware of the company’s goals—not just the initial goals but also the objective changes that occur along the way.
About the Author
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor, and content marketing consultant from Portland, OR.