Setting goals for your small business is a never ending quest. You must continuously pursue your objectives, and that requires continual progress on multiple fronts. What will likely make or break your efforts is how well you can set short- and long-term goals.
When you understand the nuances of what goes into goal-setting and achieving, it won’t matter what obstacles stand in your way, because you’ll be in an optimal position to tackle them.
Here is some advice for any small business owner looking to create better goals and meet them.
Setting SMART Goals
When creating objectives, you should always aim to make them S.M.A.R.T. — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. This commonly implemented technique allows you to save time and energy when creating your goals because you have a well-detailed vision that will improve your efficiency and productivity.
Here’s a breakdown of each of these characteristics:
- Specific: You should narrow down your vision to be as particular as possible, which means you can subsequently create clear avenues toward that goal.
- Measurable: You should be able to quantify your goals in some manner to identify milestones and track progress.
- Attainable: It’s important to aim high, but your goals should always be grounded in reality. Attainability allows you to build confidence and make steady gains.
- Relevant: Your goals should always fit in line with your motives and values.
- Time-Based: Typically, goals should have a time frame attached to them so it gives you something to work toward, and the ability to set clearly defined milestones.
Benchmarking Your Goals
To properly implement your SMART goals, you’ll also need to learn how to benchmark effectively. You can achieve effective benchmarking by identifying the most useful practices, tracking long-term progress and trends, or overseeing individual efforts.
Benchmarking allows you to continuously improve your business’ overall operations. It establishes a minimum performance level for some aspect of your company to accomplish its goals within an acceptable set of circumstances. You can apply benchmarks to individual tasks, as well as team operations.
Not only does it give you a proper view of how your company functions, but it can also give your employees feedback on expectations and how to meet them.
Tracking Your Goals
It’s not always about where you’re going, but where you’ve been.
If you want to produce consistent results, you can implement weekly or monthly goal check-ins on various levels. You’ll gain a clear vision of what you’ve accomplished, as well as what can be improved across the board. When you understand these different aspects, you can then benchmark your goals based on time and progress.
,P>The modern era doesn’t rely on written ledgers and transcripts like companies did centuries ago. Tracking goals and progress is easier than ever before thanks to a broad array of different technological applications, which you can download to smartphones, laptops, and desktops.
You can use time-tracking software to establish a clear view of how long specific projects take, or how your employees spend their time while on the clock. Programs can digest this information and transform them into neat invoices and reports, which allows you to absorb information quickly and efficiently.
If you work with contractors to improve different aspects of your business, such as advertising, many companies also include data tracking in their packages. For example, 800response sets companies up with personalized toll-free business phone numbers. We also provide complete call-tracking metrics with a suite of 18 call-tracking reports to analyze call volumes, call sources, and consumer data. Other tools help you track progress and set goals, such as our advanced call monitoring applications like missed call monitor alerts and SaaS speech analytics.
Don’t Be Afraid of Being Honest
Ultimately, setting goals for your small business will require you to continually utilize one all-important characteristic: honesty.
You can’t make achievable SMART goals without being honest with yourself about your capabilities. You need to be honest with your co-workers and employees when discussing benchmarking, and you need to be honest with what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.
By integrating transparency throughout your entire business model, you’ll find setting goals for your small business will get easier every year.