For businesses of any kind, setting goals and meeting them is an important part of progressing as an organisation. However, at the beginning of another year, we often find ourselves laying out goals that can prove to be tricky to achieve as the months pass. When the year’s in full swing and projects get off the ground, it’s easy to be pulled in different directions.
However, if you’re keen to make positive changes this year, and give your goals the attention required of them, we’ve collected some tips to help you outline, and achieve, your plans, as well as measure successes for the business year ahead.
How often do your goals remain merely pipe dreams that never come to fruition? It sounds obvious, but setting aside the right amount of time could be the thing that makes all the difference. If you really want to succeed, then you must set aside time for your goals. Even 30 minutes is enough to reflect on things, pick a theme and draw up a potential action list of what you want to do. Saying, ‘I’m going to make the time’, can mean the difference when setting your goals and is a good way to start yourself off on the right tracks.
If you can’t decide where to focus your attention, then simplify the process by choosing one word to become your development theme for the year. This can help to take away a lot of the pressure and time that traditional goals require, and is much easier to stick with all year long. Plus, it’ll help you avoid ‘analysis paralysis’ that many people find overwhelming when sticking to more typical goal setting processes.
A good place to start is by thinking about what it is that you want from the coming year. Reflect on where you want to take your business over the course of the next 12 months. Once you’ve done this, brainstorm the words that describe the end result you’re working towards. At this point, you’ll be ready to choose the specific word that, for you, has the most meaning for your business.
Once you’ve found the word you want to focus on, use it as the driving force on the path towards that goal.
Working backwards from the end goal is another alternative method of setting out and achieving what you plan on doing in the year. Start with the big picture in mind, whatever that may be, and break it into smaller, easier goals.
From here, split those smaller goals into specific targets. If your goal is to write a business plan, for example, then you could break it down into targeted actions such as market research, gathering financial data, and outlining what makes the business unique.
The final step of the process involves creating a list of actions that will help reach each supporting goal to achieve your main goal by keeping things as straightforward and specific as you can. The end result is a list of tasks that you can complete one after the other, in a short period of time.
Need to keep track of your goals? There’s an app for that. With a number of tools out there to help you define, set and maintain the progress of business goals, it’s well worth seeing what’s available to help you out. There are a few goal-setting apps and tools that we would recommend.
Goal-Buddy pairs you with professional goal buddies, who remain in contact with you, encouraging you to strive towards and achieve your targets. This system is built for professionals who work best with regular support and encouragement.
Goalscape is a goal visualisation tool – helping add clarity to your personal and professional targets, perfect for those juggling a number of ambitions. Using clear goal wheels, Goalscape can help you understand where to focus your attention and energies next.
Finally, Lifetick is an online system for tracking goals using the SMART system (more about that below). Many schools and businesses promote the use of the SMART system, and Lifetick is the perfect way to monitor and document your progress.
If you’re faced with a goal that’s looking difficult to progress towards, then consider taking the SMART route. It helps make things more flexible by looking at your goals in five separate ways:
By using the SMART framework, you can save yourself time at later stages, and it could well help you avoid making costly mistakes.
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If you’re looking to measure your performance, then take a look at your business’ financial statements for a clue. The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of finance tell you how well your company is generating revenue and whether you’re on track to achieve your long-term goals. Take a look at things like your gross profit margin and sales growth as an indication of your own successes. If you’re able to attribute growth in your gross profit margin or sales to the goal you’ve set, then you’ll be able to justify that you’re achieving what you set out to do.
- Check your customer satisfaction
Simple yet important, maintaining customer satisfaction is vital, which makes it a good indication of how you’re performing. If they aren’t satisfied after dealing with your business, they’re unlikely to buy from you. Whether it’s from surveys, reviews or just asking about their transactions, heed their words. Learn where you’re going wrong and set appropriate goals to overcome these issue, and keep doing what you’re doing right.
To gain a little extra value from customer insights, consider posting reviews and scores on your website as a means of selling yourself to potential customers; the most important and valuable marketing is, of course, by word of mouth.
Gazprom Energy is a leading and award-winning business energy supplier, helping thousands of small businesses manage their gas and electricity contracts. To find out more about what we can offer your business, visit the homepage or call us today on 0161 837 3395.
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