By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer
Have you ever driven through a thick fog? Though your brights are on, it’s difficult to see the person passing you, let alone five feet in font of your hood. This experience is very much like running a business without clearly defined goals. Setting business and marketing goals gives your company direction and focus. Ultimately, you have to motivate your team and it is through your combined efforts that you can reach your ambitious goals. As you’re setting your business goals, you should:
Make clear claims — How much do you want to increase sales? Generic claims, such as “I want to sell more t-shirts” is ambiguous, obvious and boring. Saying, increase profits 25 percent in the next year is much more clear and tangible. If your team has a clearly defined target, they’re more likely to hit it.
Make actionable goals — What are your company strengths and weaknesses? In order for you and your team to meet your goals, they must be realistic. If goals are realistic, they’re actionable. Consider New Year’s resolutions. Working out at the gym everyday is unrealistic if you don’t exercise already. By setting unrealistic goals, you’ve set yourself up for failure. If instead, you decided you’d go for half an hour three times a week, you will be more likely to meet your objective. Once you’ve met that goal, make another. Unrealistic goals are almost impossible to attain, so focus on realistic goals that are actionable.
Be aspirational — Setting the bar too high can be as dangerous as setting it too low. To get your team excited about working towards a goal, it must take hard work, though be attainable. What’s the point in running if you’re not going to break a sweat? For example, if you believe your banner campaign is going to yield 20 referrals, when the average referral rate is 50, then this short-term thinking underestimates your potential for success. Why would your team want to work towards 70 referrals when with little to no work they can reach the benchmark?
Have a timeline — You are going to sell 200 t-shirts when? Time is an important factor in reaching a realistic goal. Setting guideposts along your path might help measure your success and indicate whether you need to set a new direction or forge ahead. For example, if you’re going to take your GMATs, how much time will it take to prepare? Let’s say it’s 120 hours. You can realistically study for an hour every weekday. That means you study 5 hours a week, 20 hours a month. To meet your goal of 120 hours, you need to study for six months. If you signed up for the GMATs three months from now, you need to make some adjustments.
Once you’ve set your goals, you need to rally your team around your objective. Everyone is a player and serves an acting role in your success. If there are doubters, get their feedback. Are your goals too ambitious? Employees on the ground floor understand what is possible and what is unrealistic. Though you might want to push your team to meet your goals, they have to get behind it.
Illustration by Jay from Stock.Xchng