Having goals helps to propel any business forward. But setting the right goals can be a struggle. If your goals are set too low, your business won’t reach its full potential. If your goals are set too high, your goals will be unattainable, causing frustration for you and your staff. There are a few guidelines that can help you set reasonable goals for your business — goals that will push you to grow your business but that won’t leave you feeling defeated.
Contemplate your long-term vision
One effective way to set reasonable goals for your business is to start by determining your overall vision for your business. Take some time to think about where you would like your business to be in three years or five years. This is the one step in goal setting where you can afford to reach for the stars. Even if your goal is to double your business in three years or become your area’s most recognizable hearth business, acknowledging that goal is going to help you set reasonable, reachable goals for your business.
Break your vision into smaller goals
Once you’ve determined where you want your business to go long term, it’s time to break that overall goal into smaller goals you can work toward on a daily basis. Think about what you’ll need to do to propel your business toward your goal. What goals will you need to reach within the next three months? Within the next six months? Within the next year? Attach timelines to those smaller goals so you can stay on track to reach your overall vision. For each one of those smaller goals, write down specific actions you can take to achieve those goals on your given timeline.
Consider past performance
As you consider your smaller goals, there’s one other thing you should consider: Past performance. While setting goals can help you to put your business on a new path, or accelerate its growth on its existing path, past performance is an important indicator of whether or not a goal is reasonable. If your sales ticked up by 5 percent in the last six months, they’re highly unlikely to shoot up by 50 percent in the next six months. You might, however, be able to grow by 10 percent of 15 percent. You will have to consider your past growth and determine what obstacles prevented your business from growing at the pace you envision.
Track your progress
Once your goals are set, you need to track your progress toward achieving those goals. Set aside time regularly to assess your goals and your progress toward them. See that you and your staff are taking the action steps you set that will help you reach your goals. Not only will regularly checking in on your goals help keep you on track toward reaching them, but it will also help you to determine how reasonable your goals are. In business, reasonable goals are flexible goals. Being honest with yourself about whether a goal is too aggressive, or not aggressive enough, will allow you to alter your goals so your business is moving forward but not being overwhelmed by unreachable goals.