How To Set Business Goals As a Startup
The new year is approaching, and that means there are tons of ever-evolving, newer, exciting and amazing possibilities waiting to be discovered and embraced.
You’re excited, your team is passionately looking forward to 2019 too and your clients can’t wait to benefit again from your products or services. The stage is set!
Have you set your business goals straight? Do you have a stronger, better and more competitive business strategy in place for the new year? These are all questions you need to ask before moving into the new year.
Never ever make the mistake of getting ‘too comfortable’ in your comfort-zone and assuming that things will move along smoothly in 2019 just as they did last year or this year. There are some serious mistakes will break down your business which you surely need to know.
In business, goal setting encourages participants to put in a substantial effort. Also, because every member has defined expectations for their role, little room is left for inadequate, marginal effort to go unnoticed.
Thus, as a business owner/entrepreneur, it is your responsibility to make sure proper goals are set with an effective business strategy so that your team can perform optimally while growing your business and increasing revenues.
Here are some beneficial tips on how to do so successfully
1. SMART APPROACH
A highly effective goal-setting process of making goals more powerful is the SMART technique. SMART stands for:
S – Specific (or Significant goals).
M – Measurable (or Meaningful goals).
A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented goals).
R – Relevant (or Rewarding goals).
T – Time-bound (or Trackable goals).
For example, instead of having “build an online business” as a goal, it’s more powerful to use the SMART goal “To build a global online brand in the Digital Marketing niche by December 31, 2019.” Obviously, this will only be attainable if a lot of preparation has been completed beforehand!
How well do you prepare?
- State each goal as a positive statement – Express your goals positively – “Execute this technique well” is a much better goal than “Don’t make this stupid mistake.”
- Be precise: Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. If you do this, you’ll know exactly when you have achieved the goal and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
- Set priorities – When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
- Write goals down – This crystallizes them and gives them more force.
- Keep operational goals small – Keep the low-level goals that you’re working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it.
- Set realistic goals – It’s important to set goals that you can achieve. All sorts of people (for example, employers, parents, media, or society) can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions.
2. CREATIVE THINKING
Determining your goals helps you to establish a direction for your business. It’s much easier to make the right day-to-day choices when you can refer back to your five-year goals and ask yourself whether that choice would move you toward your long-term goals.
This is where the power of creative thinking comes into play. As an entrepreneur, creatively thinking allows clearly defined goals to take you beyond running the routine aspects of your business and allow you to build the future you really want. You essentially become the ‘creator’ of your own evolutionary path.
Where do you see your business five years from now?
There are several aspects of your business you may want to develop.
Thinking outside the box, being creative, learning new and interesting strategies or techniques, attending seminars and conferences, reading books, etc are all ways to get those creative juices flowing!
3. DEFINE CUSTOMER’S NEEDS
This is where a lot of businesses and entrepreneurs fail. It is important to realize that customer needs change year to year. For example, what smartphone consumers wanted in 2014 may not be relevant in 2019.
A need is a desire that causes a customer to buy a product. If customers buy products to satisfy needs, then they needs to provoke customers to buy products. But this definition is vague; it doesn’t give any direction to product teams or market researchers on how to understand what customers want.
Needs are therefore constantly evolving, and understanding, defining, identifying and exploiting them is key in business!
However good your product or service is, the simple truth is that no-one will buy it if they don’t want it or believe they don’t need it. And you won’t persuade anyone that they want or need to buy what you’re offering unless you clearly understand what it is your customers really want.
Every business needs a reason for their customers to buy from them and not their competitors. This is called a Unique Sales Proposition (USP).
Your USP can be identified by completing the phrase “Customers will buy from me because my business is the only…”
Your USP can change as your business or your market changes, and you can have different USPs for different types of customers.
For example, a stationery store could offer a free same-day delivery service for its business customers within a local area – an effective USP for businesses that need fast delivery!
4. DESIGN A MONTHLY TASK MAP
Devising a monthly task map enables you and your team to stay on track, keep focus, maintain objectives, utilize time, money and resources the right way while being productive and meeting your customer’s needs in a timely and effective fashion.
Think of it as a monthly roadmap, a compass that keeps you in line and enables you to utilize the GPS of your goals for 2019 in a successful manner.
5. TRACK ALL PERFORMANCES
Tracking performance is crucial in understanding where you are and where you’re going! It enables you ( the business owner) in focusing your resources and efforts in an optimized way.
Make sure you implemented KPI strategies (Key Performance Indicators) to measure and track your business’s performance in the current year so that adjustments and changes can be made for 2019, enabling you to successfully tweak and enhance performance by knowing what has been working for you and what hasn’t been.
Some ways to set the business goals are:
- Look at your business’s financial statements
- Check customer satisfaction
- Keep track of how many new customers you get on average
- Conduct performance reviews
- Stay current on the market
- Assess your own expectations
Touseef Riaz is a technology analyst and provides optimal technology solutions for retail, e-commerce, and health care sectors. He also helps small to midsize e-commerce businesses and brands build a successful online marketplace strategy via technology.