The more we read about successful people in various fields, the more we find that most did not “just get lucky.” Most of them had set goals for themselves and worked relentlessly towards it. It is not just in business, even back in school the topper usually didn’t accidentally top the class. Even though the toppers may have studied differently, they all had one thing in common: the same end goal.
Goals can literally be anything. People set different goals for themselves in personal and professional life. Getting a promotion, losing weight, investing better, having an emergency fund, or getting married are all examples of goals.
What are business goals?
As an entrepreneur, having business goals is like having your priorities straight. Your goal will form the basis of how, when, and at what pace you get things done. It is a primary step as without goals a business is directionless. What planning would you do if you don’t know where you want to be?
If the business goal of a clothing brand is to have a five crores turnover by the end of five years. You can take steps from the start on how you plan to do that. As the goal is pretty specific, you can plan accordingly how you will increase the sales, how you will cut down the costs, and how you will get more customers to get the turnover to five crores in the future. Without goals and going with the flow you wouldn’t know how to go ahead. Even a simple goal to make a certain profit is still a goal. Going with the flow is what leads some businesses to bankruptcy. Goals are a fundamental part of the business.
There are several ways to establish your business goals. The two popular ones being – SMART and FAST. Each having benefits and setbacks. Know about both of them below and make your own choice.
The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.
- Bill Copeland
What are SMART goals?
SMART goals are one of the popular frameworks used to establish business goals. It is a very careful manner of planning your goals and tracking progression.
S – Specific
The business goals you want to establish and achieve cannot be vague. The clearer and more specific they are likely you will plan and execute better to achieve them. Saying something like, “I want to make more profit.” is as vague as it can get. It needs to be more specific like “I want to focus on increasing my sales to make more profits.”
M – Measurable
How do you track your progress when you don’t know where you were? Measuring the progress on your goal gives you a reality check of where you are. It keeps you motivated and is also a sign that you are on the right track. You should know when you are reaching a milestone in your business.
If your business goal is to simply sell more. It should be specific. How much more sales do you want to make? What is the time frame to achieve it? Having a target to increase sales by 10% within twelve months is a measurable and specific goal.
A – Achievable
People who tend to over-commit end up exhausting themselves and even having breakdowns. This is because when they had established their goal, they did not think how realistic those goals were. It is essential to step up your game but in a realistic manner. You cannot expect yourself to run a marathon when you have been jogging only for a while. Similarly, in your business also your goals should be realistic and achievable.
Say you are running an event management business. It is unrealistic to expect to be flooded with clients within the first year or two. When people set unrealistic goals and fail, it breaks their motivation to go ahead further.
R – Relevant
The goal and vision of your company should be on the same page. Your goals should be relevant to how you want your business to function. It should be also tied towards the core values of your business. Your goals should have a meaningful impact on your business and contribute towards its growth.
T – Time-based
Time is a limited resource. Setting deadlines in allotting yourself a specific time to achieve your goal. This ensures that the business decisions are accordingly made proactively and with a sense of urgency. It eliminates the option of being laidback. If you fail to achieve a goal within the time frame you had allocated, you need to consider what challenges did you face? How realistic was your deadline? What challenges hinder your progress?
One of the most common goals people generally have is to lose weight. Most people tend to set unrealistic deadlines for it. Expecting to lose 10 kgs in a month, can happen also sure but not in a healthy, sustainable manner. It is important that while setting deadlines we do not overestimate or underestimate ourselves.
Smart goals will help you know exactly what to do, how much to do, and within what time to do it. It works for many entrepreneurs as it helps them know exactly what they want to achieve, how much time they want to achieve it, and how far they have come.
What are FAST goals?
Different things work for different people. The same goes for business goals as entrepreneurs have a different framework of setting the same business goals. It simply depends upon what works for you. FAST goals are one such way to go about it.
F – Frequently discussed
It is always important to keep discussing your goals to remind your mind constantly of it. If you don’t often tap on your goals, you are likely to lose sight of it. That is why many people also practice having a vision board or a list of their goals in a place where they see it every day. This is a constant reminder of what is the end goal and a motivating factor on those tough days.
If you are frequently discussing your goals, you will know what is working for you and what isn’t. It will help you to make alterations right in time and look for alternatives. Frequent discussions also provide everyone involved in the goals a better idea about what they are doing, why they are doing, and how they are contributing towards it.
A – Ambitious
Business goals should have a zest and a rock-solid ambition. Ambition motivates you to be on your ‘A game’ and give your best performance. Especially, when you are starting your business, you are yet to achieve things to feel motivated. Your ambition and drive is your motivation.
A new business requires commitment and relentless hard work. Without being ambitious towards your goals, how can you passionately work towards them? People who usually have a list of why they want to achieve their goals are quite passionate about them.
If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.
- Lawrence J. Peter
S – Specific
Goals should be tangible and measurable. This can only be achieved when you specifically know what you want to achieve. Any person is more likely to be focused when they know exactly what they are working towards. The more specific your goals are the easier it is to track them and measure your progress. To achieve any goal in life, undivided attention is needed and that can be done only when you know exactly what is your goal.
T – Transparent
It is vital to keep your business goal as transparent as possible. The more clear and vivid it is, the more it can play a motivating factor for everyone involved in achieving it. If an employee knows the significant impact of his/her work, it will motivate him/her to give the best performance. Transparency promotes the trust and integrity of any organization.
Transparency of your business goals as an entrepreneur will also give you an overview of the things you are working towards. Keep your long-term goals in your office on a board or as a poster will keep everyone on their toes and uplifted.
What next after framing your business goals?
After you have your business goals all figured out, the next step is having things mapped out. It is the time for execution by first planning how you are going to achieve your goals. Some of the popular brainstorming techniques being –
Mind mapping is a liberating brainstorming technique. Simply write your goal in the middle of a paper. Now simply start surrounding it with anything that comes in your mind regarding it. Be it any words, images, random thoughts. Do not overthink this. Just simply map everything out.
List-making is a simplified and effective technique for brainstorming your goals. All it requires you to do is write your goal on the top and a list of things you need to do to achieve it.
A brain dump is the least structured way to go about brainstorming. It is as raw as it can get. It is basically writing your goal on a piece of paper and then just dumping all your thoughts and feelings regarding it.
Brainstorming is a great way to empty your mind especially since goals can feel overwhelming at times. Business goals give clarity to your dreams and are the roadmap of your vision. It is much more than just wishful thinking. Read our article on ‘SWOT Analysis’ to get a better understanding of how your business is doing and how it can progress further.