Are you thinking about how to set business goals?
Goal setting is incredibly important. Without goal setting, and effective goal setting you aren’t going to get far in life or business. At least not far in the direction you really want to go.
So, what are the secrets of setting good goals, and ensuring your company is on the right track to achieve them?
1) Get Really Clear About What Your Purpose Is
Setting goals and crossing them off the list is only beneficial if they are really achieving what you set out for. What is the preeminent why of your company? Why does it exist? Why did you decide to go into business in the first place? What is its purpose? Those are key questions when wondering about how to set business goals.
Being really clear about this ‘north star’ is really vital to everything else. If your compass is just a few degrees off course, you’ll end up far, far away from where you meant to go, and in a very different place.
Take as much time as necessary to get complete clarity on this. It will dictate everything else that follows, and whether you can stick with it and are happy with the goals you have achieved, or not.
Your vision is even a by-product of this. It’s what the world looks like when your mission is complete and you’ve fulfilled your purpose.
If you want to build a billion dollar business you will most likely need financing and the vision is something that investors will need to get aligned with . In addition, keep in mind that in fundraising storytelling is everything. In this regard for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
2) Know Your Priorities
You may have lots of things in your brain that you would like to do and which your company and product may be capable of doing. Be careful. To get anywhere, and to stay on course you must be very keenly focused.
Having one goal is going to be much more effective. You can always come up with more after you achieve that one.
If you really must have multiple goals on your list, be sure you prioritize them in order, numbered by importance.
This is also where your company values and culture come into play. You can have fewer goals to focus on, and still achieve these other things by being clear about your values. Your values dictate how this main goal is achieved, and what you will and won’t do on the way. They are a decision making guide.
Keep in mind, that your priorities are no longer just about you or the product when you decide to start a business. You’ll have company goals, and responsibilities to the company and its stakeholders.
Goals will become what’s good for the company, not just what is good, interesting or important to you as an individual. Even if you are the founder. This is a critical part of addressing how to set business goals.
3) Consult Your Teams
Consult your workers, department heads and executives. Consult startup advisors, investors and vendors. What goals do they think are important and achievable? What might you be overlooking in this process?
4) Get Buy In
Not everyone may agree on priorities. You still need them to buy into the values, mission, goals and priorities or the infighting is going to sabotage you. Just like author Jim Collins states, you only have seats on the bus for those who want to go where your bus is heading and on the route you are taking.
When you scale and become a bigger company you will have corporate governance and a board of directors. It becomes more difficult at convincing all the parties so you really need that level of clearance to get everyone enrolled in that direction that you want to pursue.
In the video below I cover what to expect from board members which you may find interesting.
5) Make Your Goals Visible
Make your goals big, visible and ever present for all. Most business disasters, internal conflicts and customer issues are a result of a disconnect in expectations and alignment. Be sure everyone sees these goals all the time. They should be top of mind at the beginning and the end of every day. That alignment is a critical part of how to set business goals.
6) Choose Your KPIs
What business metrics will help track progress on these goals, pull you in the right direction, and indicate you are heading in the right direction? Scrap all of the rest which are really just a distraction. Be clear about the nice to haves which aren’t priorities, versus what your teams need to be executing on. What needles do they need to be moving which signal success and they are doing the right things?
7) Know & Set Benchmarks
Know benchmarks for key metrics in your space. What is average? What is excellent? Decide how you plan to differentiate and compete on these things. Be sure your team members know what the numbers look like when they are doing well, versus dying against competitors. What numbers mean they are adding value and are doing a good job, versus failing hard? You have to set the expectations. Without benchmarks it will be hard to tackle how to set business goals.
8) Separate Your Short, Medium & Long Term Goals
This is where most companies and entrepreneurs completely blow it. It is also where the few really stand out and shine and create those rarities which are so valuable and inspiring.
If you only think short term the medium and long term is going to be a mess, if you even make it that long. If you only focus on the long term, you may not survive long enough to see things pay off.
A sustainable and successful company is one that knows how to set goals which enable them to survive today, thrive tomorrow, and don’t jeopardize the long term. Think about Wells Fargo. They felt pressure to pump up their numbers in the short term, and someone thought an excellent way to achieve that was by stealing the identities of millions of their own customers, setting up fake accounts in their names and laundering money through those accounts.
While giants like this which are deemed too big to be allowed to go out of business may be the exception and have a pass to get away with these things, the vast majority of companies won’t survive the negative branding and lawsuits. Of course, one day in the near future, a fresh brand will come up with an alternative to banking which appears to care more about integrity and their customers, and people will flock to them.
So, separate your short, medium and long term goals. What are those goals for 1,5, 10, and 100 years out. Decide where to focus, and what you won’t sacrifice on the way.
Hopefully this post provided you with some perspective as you are navigating how to set business goals.
You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.