So why is it that 80% of the 300 small business owners surveyed in a National Small Business Survey, conducted by Staples, said that they don't keep track of their business goals, and 77% have yet to achieve their vision for their company? According to the Staples survey, a majority of business owners (61%) are suffering from what is known as "ping-pong" syndrome. This syndrome results from multitasking and constantly bouncing between competing work demands and distractions/concerns ranging from day-to-day operations, website operations, data security, technology, lead generation, social media, to personal interests and family obligations.
All business owners need goals to keep them focused, moving forward and motivated to do more to maintain the success of their businesses. Without goals, and a process for tracking goals, business owners may have difficulty seeing the big picture and staying focused. Goal setting helps owners build a bridge that will guide them from their current state to their future desired state.
Tips for Setting Goals that Get Results
Goal setting begins with your company vision. Having a vision for where you want your company to be in 1, 5, and 10 years helps to set the foundation for your goals. Your company's goals will only be effective if you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve-and how. Having both short-term and long-term goals will help to keep your business focused and moving forward. Here are 10 steps for successful goal setting:
Start With Your Dream - Your Vision
Brainstorm and write down everything you dream of accomplishing – where you want to be in one year, five years and ten years.
Organize Your Thoughts into Categories
Sort your ideas into a few categories, based on measures that are important to you and the success of your business. (For example: financial, time, products, services, customer/client acquisition, customer service, technology, etc.)
Identify Areas of Impact
From your organized list, identify which areas will have the most impact on your business for the short-term and the long-term.
Write SMART Goals
Writing SMART goals helps you save time and energy by making the process of goal setting more efficient and productive. This process will move you from your rough ideas into specific action steps. To create SMART goals, make sure they are:
- Specific – Define clearly what you want to accomplish (what, when, how).
- Measurable – Identify targets and milestones to track your progress.
- Attainable – Ensure goals are within your power to achieve.
- Relevant – Ensure goals fit and support your business model.
- Time-Based – Set start and completion dates.
For each of your goals, brainstorm and write down all the actions or steps you might need to take to achieve your goal.
Make a Master List of Action Steps Required to Reach Goals
Follow your action plan and make a master list of all actions required to meet your goals. Assign accountabilities and completion dates for each action.
Communicate Your Goals and Plans to Staff
Share your vision, goals and action steps so that everyone is focused in the same direction.
Evaluate Goal Progress on an Ongoing Basis
Set a time schedule for reviewing and recording progress towards both your short-term and long-term goals. As famed management consultant Peter Drucker says, “That which gets measured improves.”
Modify Goals as Needed
Remain open to changes that may make the end result even better than you imagined.
Celebrate Goal Completion
Acknowledge successes along the way towards meeting goals. This helps to build confidence and momentum.