As February draws to a close, we realise we are already hurtling through 2017. You may feel you have missed the boat for a “new year, new start”, but when it comes to setting goals for your business, you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) wait for significant calendar dates. The time is now, whenever “now” may be.

Setting goals for your business is how you make sure you know what you want to achieve, and how to get there. Whether you are a sole trader or you have a number of employees, goals keep everyone focused and moving in the same direction.

Here’s how you can set effective goals to drive your business forward.

#1: Be SMART

For your goals to be effective, they need to be SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Check out these simple examples from thebalance.com to see what SMART goals should look like.

#2: Begin at the End

Goal setting works best when you work backwards. By setting your long term goals first, you can then outline the medium and short term goals that are aligned with your overall direction. This way, every action you take to achieve your short and medium term goals is contributing to your overall long term objectives. You can even use this method to deconstruct your short and medium term goals to work out how to action them.

#3: Time is of the Essence

You need to be aware of what short, medium and long term means to you; these won’t be the same for every business and could depend on your business size or how long the business has been trading. The tricky thing here is that there really is no right or wrong answer.

Have a look at smallbusiness.co.uk to give you a rough guideline to help you decide your time frames.

#4: Who are Your Helpers

A great network can be key to achieving your ambitions. For each goal, write down the people who will help you achieve it; there may be more than one person for each goal, and you may not have even met this person yet.  For example, if one of your goals involves increasing your sales numbers: a sales trainer could help up-skill you, a social media manager could help you with a strategy to increase your inbound lead generation, and a telemarketer could help you run a great telemarketing campaign. Don’t just name job roles, name names. Arrange meetings with these people to get them involved as early as possible and start the ball rolling.

Sharing your goal also helps you achieve it because it makes you accountable; no one wants to have that awkward conversation when you are asked how something is progressing and you haven’t even got around to starting it…

#5: Review Review Review

Don’t think your work is done once your goals are set. You need to review your goals regularly to make sure they continue to be right for you and your business, and that you are on track to achieve them. What you thought was realistic six months ago, may in fact not be in practice, and you need to make adjustments accordingly. You also need to know why something didn’t work to be able to learn from experience.

And finally, don’t forget how important it is celebrate your successes. It’s great to give yourself and those who supported you a well deserved pat on the back!

What works for you when setting goals?

Thank you for reading this blog from Elite Edge Training.  We help businesses improve their performance through effective sales training and coaching.  If you would like more information on how we can help, please email – info@eliteedgetraining.co.uk