Setting goals can feel overwhelming for some people. Many find that they never attain their goals and consistently feel like they have failed. Others are frustrated when their goals change. If you’re an entrepreneur, you know that setting goals is vital to your company’s success. According to the author of this article in Entrepreneur Magazine, setting goals not only helps you achieve your company’s objectives but also encourages your employees to perform optimally to ensure that those goals are met. In order to make goal setting more effective, use the SMART approach. Goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
Saying that you would like to grow your business is not a way to create a specific goal. Instead, you might say that you would like to earn $500K in revenue by October. When you create specific goals, you have a vision of what success will look like. Specific goals help you flesh out the steps that you will take to achieve them. If you don’t have a specific goal, it’s easy to wander off the path that’s supposed to bring you results. In fact, you’re likely to stop taking steps to achieve your goal, because there is no clear indicator of what reaching it entails. In 90 percent of studies that looked into goal setting, specific goals were more likely to be met.
When your goals are specific, they can be easily measured. Measurable goals provide clear indicators that tell you when you have reached them. Being able to measure your goals helps your team stay on track and remain motivated. For a startup, this often means that you must assign numbers to your goals. Whether you’re striving for more sales or a larger customer base, look at your current statistics and set tangible goals by increasing those specific numbers. This will help you tailor your marketing objectives to your mission.
Make Goals Attainable
If you can’t reach your goal, what’s the point of setting it? Goals should be challenging, but they shouldn’t be unattainable. While you’re dreaming big, make sure that your aspirations are realistic. This can help you attract and retain a productive team. Employees who know that they will be rewarded once they help you reach your goal may be more consistent and driven. Employees who feel as though you’re forcing them to achieve the impossible may bow out at some point.
When creating goals, make sure that they’re applicable to the current business environment. If you just opened an educational center for children under age 5, you’re not going to get 10,000 people through your door if there are only 5,000 families with preschool children in your town. If the country is in the middle of a recession, you may not be able to double your revenue this year.
Choose a Time Frame
Part of setting specific and measurable goals involves creating a deadline. Without a cutoff date, you can always procrastinate. Your employees may not move as quickly as they should or work as efficiently if they know that they will eventually achieve the goals that you have set but don’t have a deadline. When you create a timeline, you help your team members plan their days efficiently and establish an efficient workflow. In addition, you create a specific expectation for completion. Once the deadline is up, you can assess how successful you were at reaching your goal and modify it or set new objectives.
Gail Mathews, a psychology professor at Dominical University in California, conducted a study that found that people who write down their goals and share then with a friend are more likely to achieve them. In business, making everyone on your team aware of your objectives is crucial. Sharing goals helps to create a culture of achievement and reduces the need to micromanage your personnel. Make sure that you also implement a reward system that recognizes your employees’ achievements when a goal has been met.
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