Goal setting is the first step to implementing a strategic business plan. Setting clear and focused goals helps pave the way to put your company vision into action, measure progress along the way, and stay on track as you scale. So how do you go about picking the right goals for your company? In this article, we’ll provide 10 tips for selecting the most impactful and achievable goals for your business in 2023. Whether you’re a small start-up or a well-established enterprise, these strategies will help guide you set goals that align with your values and drive company success.
1. Start with your core values
Your company vision and mission statements embody your core values. Therefore, everything you do as a business should be reflective of your core values – from your daily actions to your long-term goals. This is why different companies in the same industry might set very different goals. Your company values are always a goos starting point when it comes to goal setting by ensuring that your goals are aligned with your overall business strategy. If you ever get stuck or begin to doubt the goals you’ve set, you can always come back to your core values.
Take Apple, for example. Apple puts its core values at the forefront of its goal-setting with values focused on innovation and sustainability, both of which have been integral to their success. Apple’s commitment to environmental responsibility can be seen in how they source and use materials for their products, reducing excess packaging and using renewable energy sources in their company operations.
2. Review your SWOT Analysis
Though often underestimated, your SWOT Analysis is a critical part of your business plan. It defines your company’s strengths (S), weaknesses (W), opportunities (O) and threats (T) – providing a framework for areas of improvement and factors to leverage to get ahead. By analyzing the internal and external factors that can impact your company’s performance, you can determine which objectives should be prioritized in order to maximize success. For example, if you are a company that has a large customer base but doesn’t have any kind of loyalty program, then a goal may be to create one.
Your SWOT also forces you to take a deeper look into your competitors and determine how you match up against them. By studying the strategies, tactics, and techniques employed by rivals, companies can better understand how they fit into the current marketplace, identify gaps that they can use as opportunities, and make well-informed decisions about their own operations. Additionally, understanding what your competition is doing allows you to anticipate how your company should respond in order to remain relevant and proactive when it comes to making business decisions. Knowing what your competitors are doing can also help you uncover new ideas or methods that may give you an edge over your rivals.
3. Focus on your core customer
Companies that truly understand and know their customer base are better equipped to offer products and services tailored to them, as well as provide the necessary support and customer service. This allows companies to build strong relationships with customers, create loyal followers, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately boost sales.
Knowing your target audience also helps businesses identify gaps in the market where new products and services could be offered. By engaging with their customers on a personal level and gathering customer feedback, companies can also gain insight into current industry trends which may give them an edge over competitors. All of this combined leads to improved company performance overall.
Furthermore, it’s important to maintain healthy relationships with your core customers during times of uncertainty. As we learned with the global pandemic, and more recently, the economic downturn of 2022, during a crisis is the worst time to be making critical decisions and experimenting. Your focus during tough times should be on serving your core customers, not on trying to find new ones. This is one of the many tactics we recommend to driving growth and profitability during a recession.
4. Make your goals SMART
Use the SMART acronym when setting goals – choose goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This will help you track your progress and ensure that you are making meaningful progress towards your objectives. Setting up SMART objectives allows companies to make better use of their resources and track progress in a systematic way.
Several companies have gone a step further by tacking on a new acronym that does not replace, but rather compliments SMART goals. FAST goals are frequently discussed (F), ambitious (A), specific (S), and transparent (T). By setting goals with both SMART and FAST in mind, you are more likely to reach your objectives with increased efficiency and less risk.
Verne Harnish, Scaling up founder, is one of many thought leaders that believes in the purpose of FAST Goals in the bigger picture.
5. Identify your KPIs
No goal is complete without measurability. It’s essential for companies to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) for each company goal. Without measurable goals, companies may find themselves spinning their wheels with no real progress being made. KPIs are the metrics that allow businesses to track performance and measure progress in a tangible way, enabling them to make informed decisions, adjust strategies, and maximize company performance.
Additionally, it’s important for businesses to compare their performance over time in order to gauge progress and track successes or failures as needed.
6. Determine your budget and resources
The “R” in SMART goes back to setting goals that are appropriate and realistic particularly for your company. If you don’t have the kind of resources that the unicorns of the world have, your strategy will look completely different. Knowing your company’s available resources allows you to set goals that are achievable without having to overextend or compromise company performance due to lack of funds or resources. It also can help you identify areas where resources could be reallocated to better support the company goals, as well as where additional investment might be necessary in order for the company to reach its desired results. Additionally, understanding budgetary constraints ensures that adequate personnel and training is being made available in order for employees to fulfill their tasks effectively and efficiently—ultimately leading them closer towards achieving company success.
7. Involve your team
Don’t underestimate the importance of involving your team in goal setting. The “T” in FAST calls for transparent goals, meaning that everyone in the company should be aware of what is expected and how their role contributes to the big pictures.
While the responsibility of choosing and defining company goals should fall on the leadership team, it’s important to welcome and implement employee feedback as much as you can. Employees are more likely to exceed expectations if they believe in the goals they are working toward, and they will feel more valued knowing that their opinion matters. They can provide valuable insights and perspectives, and their buy-in and commitment will be important to the success of your goals. This also helps close common gaps in communication that can form between management and the rest of the team.
One way that we encourage employee feedback is with eNPS (Employer Net Promoter Score). This survey tool allows employers to collect constructive anonymous feedback from employees on a regular basis, and use that feedback to make smarter decisions that affect the team.
8. Be flexible
The business landscape is constantly changing, and it’s important to be willing to adjust your goals as needed to respond to new opportunities or challenges. We know plans can very easily get derailed by unforeseen circumstances. While having a plan is important, being able to come up with a backup plan and act under pressure is even more important.
As we mentioned above, during a crisis is the worst time to be making decisions for your business. This is because when crisis arrises, we tend to panic and make rash decisions. This being said, the best time to create and define your backup plan is before you need one.
9. Identify and assign roles
Every team member should know who does what and where they fit in. Assigning specific roles to employees help eliminate miscommunication surrounding designated responsibilities, and ensures everyone on the team knows exactly who to go to for something specific. With this in mind, it’s important to know each employee’s capacity for various projects within their role. Ensure that job descriptions are detailed and accurate, and that all individual tasks are assigned.
With so many hands in the pot and various team members working on various things, it can be difficult to keep up. This is where visibility of tasks and projects comes in to play. Consider using OKR and goal tracking software to measure what every employee is working on and ensure a unified approach across the board.
10. Review goals regularly
As circumstances like the market and access to resources change, your plans will naturally evolve. This is why reviewing and reassessing your goals regularly will help you stay on track and make any necessary adjustments along the way. We recommend reviewing goals at least once per quarter to ensure your goals don’t fall through the cracks and all team members stay engaged. This will also help you pick and refine shorter-term goals each quarter that drive success to your overall objectives.
In conclusion, setting clear and achievable goals is crucial for the success of any business. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can ensure that your goals are aligned with your vision and mission, take into account your strengths and opportunities, consider the needs and desires of your target audience, and are realistically attainable within your budget and resources. Remember to involve your team in the goal-setting process, set both short-term and long-term goals, take calculated risks, be flexible and open to adapting your goals as needed, and regularly review and assess your progress. By following these strategies, you can set your business up for success in 2023 and beyond.
To learn how Align can help you define and maintain success for your 2023 goals, book your demo today.