Setting goals is important for any business, but tracking your business goals is equally as essential. This process can encourage your business team and offer new direction as accomplished milestones bring into focus what needs to be accomplished next.
Setting Business Goals
When setting business goals, some small business owners don't know where to start. In fact, the process can be daunting for larger businesses as well. The best place to start is with what is on your mind. Sit down and write out your thoughts regarding what you'd like to see accomplished in your company. Writing ideas down in tangible form may inspire you to remember other things you've considered in the past or even stir new ideas. Over a week or two, review the goals you've written and revise them as you give them more thought.
Benefit of Written Business Goals
Writing and tracking your business goals helps keep you on target for what you really want to accomplish in your company. In the busy day-to-day running of things, it is very easy to become side-tracked, overwhelmed and disorganized. Tracking your goals helps keep your objectives in mind and gives a sense of accomplishment as items are crossed of the list when complete.
Another benefit of written goals is the result of staying focused. You waste less energy doing things that don't need to be done. Goals give you direction and help concentrate energy, effort and time in directions that allow you to accomplish what it is your really want and to work toward deadlines more efficiently. As a result, you won't feel like you're spinning your wheels, but instead will have a sense of direction and more time to do other things, like spend time with your family.
Tracking Your Business Goals
Business goals should include short term and long term goals. Tracking also provides a way to measure your business' success. For instance, tracking highlights when you've surpassed a goal. It also makes it clear which of your business practices need to be improved upon.
How to Measure Progress
Writing your goals is only the first step in this process. To make them useful, follow these steps to track and measure your progress:
- Break your goals into manageable and measurable milestones.
- Chart progress. This can be done in a number of ways, but if reaching milestones is a team effort, a wall chart provides a visual to encourage the whole team's participation. If your business is small, and you are the only one working toward goals set, then keeping a calendar and notes can accomplish an effective overview to measure what steps should be taken next. Either approach offers a visual of what has been accomplished and what should be done next.
- Ask your customers for input. This can be done quarterly in survey form and offers a valuable way to measure your progress in relation to your customer base. It highlights what is working and what needs to change.
Tangible, Realistic and Flexible Goals
For goals to be measurable, they have to be tangible and realistic. For instance, if you want to add 500 new contacts to your client list, that is tangible, but depending on the size of your company may not be realistic. However, if the goal is to reach out to 500 new contacts, that is tangible and realistic. The difference is that you have no control over responses of the people whom you contact, but you do have control over how many people you contact. One gives you the opportunity to succeed based on your effort, the other hold the potential for failure no matter how much effort you put into the task. Set goals for success. It's always a step in the right direction.