Creating a business plan sounds about as fun as visiting the dentist— but, like that dreaded teeth cleaning, you’ll thank yourself for doing it in the long run. No matter the size of your company, its health relies on establishing goals and sticking to them via a written document. How do you stay on track when all these magical ideas are swirling around in your head? Here’s a rundown of how to make your goals a reality:
1. Create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) Goals
This type of goal setting is more concrete than just saying, “I want to make more money this year.” Let’s say you’re Business Owner Bob, who’s just started a PR company. Bob has been working part-time on the side to build a client base, and now he’s ready to dive in full-time. Bob can establish a specific profit goal for year one that’s realistic based on past projects, and he can accurately measure his progress. Unsure of how to establish a SMART goal? Check out this worksheet from the University of Virginia, which asks questions such as, “How will you measure whether or not the goal has been reached (list at least two indicators)?” This article from Chron also provides information about SMART goal criteria.
2. Keep everyone in the loop
Keep everyone in the loop. Make sure employees are on the same page about how to establish and achieve your business goals. This means communicating frequently about the progress and not just filing the goals away in a document that you never consult. According to Inc., keeping employees in the know fosters collective ownership of the goal (which inspires them to reach those goals). Schedule frequent meetings to discuss goal progress, and ask for employee input along the way.
3. Use apps
Goal-tracking apps are everywhere, so take advantage of them. The LifeTick app uses the SMART goal method and asks users to create tasks that will help them achieve goals. This app is perfect for an office setting because you can invite others to view your goals, as well as set team goals through LifeTick for business. (Check out more details in this Entrepreneur article.) It doesn’t get more accountable than that!
4. Mix short, medium, and long-term goals
Avoid having only long-term goals, which can diminish motivation. Instead, break goals into pieces and create measurable achievements along the way. Consider this example from Chron about improving website traffic: The long-term goal could be to increase traffic to the company website by 50 percent or more this year, while the short-term goal could be to identify website traffic trends through software.
5. Envision the positive outcomes
Imagine what will happen if you achieve your goal. Perhaps it will result in adding more staff members, building another warehouse, getting a raise or something as simple as having a pizza day. Even a small reward like free food can provide incentive, believe me. Keep these positive outcomes in mind as you work hard to achieve your goal, and remind staff frequently of your goals and their respective progress.