Business Planning: Goals and Objectives
Goals and objectives steer a new business in the right direction and help to keep an existing business on the right track. Think about it, you need a final destination before you can land a plane.
Including your business goals and objectives in your business plan is giving the reader confidence in you and the future of the company. In this section of ‘Business Planning,’ we will cover how to set your business goals and objectives.
To start, you need a firm understanding of what goals and objectives are.
- Goals are where you intend to go, they provide direction, motivation and a way to measure progress. Goals are what you want to achieve and when you are going to achieve them. The more specific and realistic the goals, the more attainable and measurable they are.
- Objectives are the steps you take to achieve the goal. Setting objectives are key to making sure you reach your goal within the set timeframe.
When starting a business, it can be difficult and time-consuming to determine what your goals are. But as the owner of the business, it is your job to provide key goals and objectives to your employees and staff, so everyone is on the same page. Set milestones. Ask yourself, where do you want the business to be one, three and five years from now? Then start to brainstorm the goals and objectives you need to meet those milestones.
How do I set goals?
Okay, so now you have an idea of where you want the business to be in a year, you can break down the ideas into SMART goals, which we briefly touched on earlier in the series. Setting SMART goals and objectives is a great way to clearly present and explain what your goals are, and to provide measurability.
Specific: ensure they are clearly defined
Measurable: set a figure, value and way to track your goals
Achievable: ensure they are realistic
Relevant: they should relate to the overall business
Time-specific: set deadlines to keep the business on track
For example, if your SMART goal is to have 1000 new subscribers by December, then you need to think about the objectives that will help you to reach that goal.
How do I set objectives?
To set your objectives you can use the same SMART model. These objectives could be to start social media accounts and digital advertising to increase brand awareness, offer a discount for the first 500 clients to create a sense of urgency or hire a salesperson to contact potential leads, all in the first month of starting the business.
When writing the goals and objectives section of your business plan, you should go into as much detail as you can – the more information the better. The reader will feel more confident about the businesses direction if you can provide clearly defined actions to achieve your goals.
For example, take the goal of growing your subscribers by 1000 and add your objectives to it.
To meet our goal of onboarding 1000 new subscribers by December 2020, we have hired an experienced salesperson to contact potential leads. Our marketing department will run a 3-month social media campaign offering a discount to the first 500 clients and create effective brand awareness display ads.
Lorna Jane, an Australian born activewear brand, have a goal for 2020 to preserve the resources of our planet and contribute as little waste to landfill as possible. To ensure they meet their goal, they have changed to solar-powered offices and warehouses, they reuse and repurpose their packaging where possible and reduce emissions by shipping directly from manufactures to stores instead of using trucks.
It’s fair to say, being able to set and accomplish goals is what drives businesses forward. Just remember, once your goals and objectives are set, the work isn’t over. It has just begun. Now you need to uphold what you are setting out to achieve and not let the goal post sink into the background.