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Posted by Sarah Brown on 06 Jan '14

Are you going to ride the wave as confidence returns to the economy?

{img_title} This is the time of year when we all set resolutions, give up drinking, lose weight, change our lives. It is also the time to have at least some simple resolutions for your business. Use this tool to set some really simple goals for your business and your personal life.  The blog looks in more detail at the goals and how to set them and the strategies which will help you achieve them. But first…

Why bother to set goals?

Try going on a journey with no postcode for the Satnav or address to look up. Going through life without setting clear goals is a little like starting out on a trip with no idea where you intend to go. It might be great, you might find a beauty spot, but the odds are you will still end up following sign posts  when you come to make choices but they will have to be snap decisions as the car behind hoots at you, a guess based on your memory or experience, rather than part of a researched plan getting to a great place.

If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?

There are two very important things you need to know if you want to plan a journey. You need to know where you are, and you need to know exactly where you want to go. Once you know these two things, the rest becomes simple. You make a plan, which might be a map or a strategy, and you follow your plan.

Having clear goals helps you to avoid time-consuming detours down roads that lead nowhere. Clear goals act like the rudder on a ship. They steer you in the direction you have chosen, and help you avoid the dangerous currents and rocks that might otherwise sink you or take you to the wrong place.
Most importantly goals give you a sense of achievement and reasons to celebrate, because you know when you have arrived.

Business goals to inspire you

At a minimum your business goals need to include a turnover and profit goal. This will link to a customer target both in terms of numbers and what you will earn from each of them. For most people the customer base is a better goal and easier to measure than market share. The number of customers allows you to plan in terms of the scale of your operation and also to check how realistic and challenging your goals are.

The image/reputation goal in the tool is intended to focus you on how you want your company to be seen and what you will do to support this. For example, if you want to be seen as helpful should you be offering an advice line or helpful hints on your website; if you want to be known for great customer service how will you track this and show it to customers? When I was at Dyno-Rod we showed our great service by tracking how many people got an engineer on site within 30 minutes of their call – it was over 90% and we constantly monitored this and made a money back offer if we didn’t achieve this goal.

All goals should be SMART:
S – specific
M – measurable
A – actionable
R – realistic
T – timebound

The trick is balancing realism and stretch – you need some big exciting goals to inspire you but they need to be doable.
The last goals on the tool are intended for business owners and track time spent in the business and what else you do. I remember setting a goal to double my turnover without setting a goal about personal time and achieving the doubled turnover at the expense of my personal life.

Creating the strategies to achieve your goals

Once you’ve got your goals you need a plan to achieve them – this needs to think about the strategic projects that you will need to put in place to achieve each goal. For example if you are going to increase your turnover by getting more customers what are the steps you are going to take in terms of sales and marketing? Our first newsletter in 2014 which is archived on this site has some ideas on making it easy for customers to buy from you.

Identify some critical strategies such as improving your website, developing a database, building up stock and then identify steps towards these goals with milestones along the way.
We are busy helping our clients set their goals and setting our own, do let us know if you need any other tools or help to get you supercharged for 2014.