by Linda Finkle
All businesses, regardless of its size and market should have a goal. This sounds obvious enough, but some entrepreneurs don’t take the time to focus on organisational goal setting. They just go around selling their products or services, chasing every customer that shows the slightest interest without any clear direction of where they should be headed.
You’ve heard of people working five, ten, twenty years at a job just to be promoted, right? Okay, how many of those people actually like their jobs? The same is true for entrepreneurs, some people just set out wanting to make money, without even thinking what they really want to accomplish in the long term.
This is a recipe for disaster.
Organisational goal setting helps entrepreneurs create goals that will steer the business into a specific direction, while addressing the holistic needs of everyone involved. Financial goals aren’t enough; other facets of the business should be nurtured as well.
Why is this important?
I hear you say, “I have no time for this. I have bills to pay and orders to process”
Creating goals takes a lot of time and a bit of introspection. Yes, taking time to do this may be difficult in light of the economy but devoting time to this will give you clarity and make it easier to grow your business.
Organisational Goal Setting 101: How to set Goals for the Organisation
- Pick the right goals. Too many businesses in the US start out with the wrong goals. While those goals are not wrong inherently, they may not be right considering the business’s position in the market or available resources.
- Always start with long-term goals, not the other way around. Short-term goals don’t factor in the bigger picture, starting with this won’t give you a clear pathway of where you want to take your business. People who start with short-term goals are also more likely to jump from plan to plan without accomplishing anything.
- Name the business’s long-term goals. Long-term goals could have a timeline of three or five years. It should take your company’s vision and core values into consideration. Think about the reasons you built the business; the idea that started it all, and I’m sure your long-term goals will have more weight and meaning behind them. Such goals have more driving force than superficial goals. Make sure the long-term goals also cover every facet of the business: customer service, profit, social responsibility, and growth.
- Set short-goals that are in-line with the long-term objectives. Let’s say one of your long-term goals is to set-up three branches in different cities, how do you create short-term goals to support that? It doesn’t have to be complicated, just think of what needs to be done on a daily basis to achieve that goal.
In this example, one of the short-term goals could be to establish brand awareness and draw more customers, so that you can set up a branch in a new city and be just as successful in that new location. Another short-term goal could be to scout different locations or find business partners willing to help you set up another branch.
Lastly, get employee buy-in. Organisational goal setting doesn’t stop at listing long-term and short-term goals. What good is that if you can’t get your employees to buy-in to your vision? Present the goals to everyone involved and welcome their comments. If they have better ideas, be open to including those in your goals. If they have questions, answer them. It’s important to make people feel they are included in this process, because that gives them “ownership” of the goals, as opposed to being ordered to obey in a dictatorial fashion.