Successful companies set goals. Without them, they have no defined purpose and nothing to strive for; consequently, they stagnate and struggle for meaningful accomplishments. Goals are steppingstones to an end result. They must be present in every business plan and become a regular part of ongoing business operations.
What are Goals?
Goals are resolutions to achieve a desired result. Whether short or long-term, they provide a clear understanding of what the company is striving to accomplish. Setting short-term goals to reach related long-term goals is a key to success for most any business. Thinking of short-term goals as "stops along the way" to large goals can compartmentalize processes without losing sight of the big picture. Having goals gives everyday tasks more meaning and clarifies the reasoning behind company decisions.
Goals Versus Wishes
Separate statements from goals. "My company will make money this quarter" is a statement, not a goal. To turn statements into goals, businesses must follow proven goal-setting procedures; otherwise, goals are merely unattainable wishes.
One proven goal-setting procedure is called S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time sensitive. Goals must also be written, and a plan set forth that outlines probable methods of attainment. Modify goals along the way, but never abandon them unless absolutely necessary. Regularly monitoring goals and producing status reports is helpful in establishing future goals.
Set goals for individuals, departments or the business as a whole. Consider publicizing the goals for the latter two within the company. This can result in a team effort, if properly presented, and employees may feel a sense of responsibility and camaraderie. This can can help boost morale and aid in bringing goals to fruition. Input from employees during the goal setting and implementation processes can also help keep goals realistic and attainable.
Set Goals Always
Goal setting is not a one-time event when formulating your business plan, but an ongoing process. Markets change and both the economy and sales fluctuate, so the savvy business owner must take advantage of every situation. Even small goals set in the middle of a crisis can have a positive impact when things improve. When your business is flourishing, goals help maintain or increase the good times, and can act as a safeguard during inevitable slumps.
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