How to set Goals for a Small and Medium Business
In my past role as Sales & Business head, I have often spoken to my team about whether they are working on their Sales target by design or by default. One may get lucky and nevertheless hit their mark, but when failure is not an option, then not having any design (plan) at times could be fatal.
However, having a design or plan is only possible if you are clear about your target or goal. In my conversation with many SMB entrepreneurs, I have been astonished to note that most SMB owners and entrepreneurs are so engrossed in running their businesses on a day to day that they completely miss out on setting any business goals. Ironically one could attribute not having any form of goal as one of the primary reasons why many SMBs struggle to keep their head above the water.
Having a goal works like the North Star that guides the business owner and their team in the right direction. A combination of long-term and short-term goals for a business gives purpose, helps align priorities, assists decision-making, and sustains motivation in the organisation.
So how do you set a holistic goal with a long-term perspective?
First, start with a long-term vision. Build a picture of what would be the ultimate impact you want to make through your choice of business. Look beyond the commercial and personal results and search for the value it would bring to others - family, employees, clients, society, industry, country, and world. The more far-reaching impact you see, the stronger will be the vision. Having a strong vision provides a purpose that takes you beyond the ordinary to a higher level, which plays a vital role in your longer-term focus and determination.
Second, once you have visualized your long-term business vision, think fo the scale you want to reach - go as far as you can - and visualize what your business would look like then. With this, you now have your Long term goal.
Third, define milestones and calibrate your goals for those milestones. One would look at 3 years to 5 years as standard short-term business milestones. These are also known as Stretch Target, which motivates and encourages the organisation to go beyond the regular.
Fourth, this is the now where the rubber hits the ground. Keeping the 3 years/5 years goal as the primary objective, define your 1-year goal that will set the foundation for your business to achieve its mid-term goals. Involve every aspect of your business that's critical to be successful and set specific objectives for each of them. Ensure you set S.M.A.R.T.* objectives so that they are not just a wish list but a well-thought end result. It's advisable to define the KPIs to help you track performance vis-à-vis the target. Break down your goals into quarterly goals for focussed execution.
Using these simple steps, set holistic goals and give your business a substantial boost. The other significant benefit of a holistic goal with a long-term perspective is that you encourage a shared dream/vision that takes your employee's accountability to the next level when it gets shared with them. *Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic & Time-bound