Setting and achieving business goals

Setting and achieving business goals

Establishing goals involves introspection, being self aware, and having clarity on what you want from the future. The reward however will be ultimately reaching those goals, so let’s set them out.


Look Long-Term

First of all, it is important to differentiate between short and long-term goals.

Short-term goals are a means to an ends, but long term goals are what you are looking to achieve over the next three to five years – sometimes even longer.

These will be similar to your companies’ mission statement – they represent the reason you went into business.

Often these goals will fall within four general areas:

  • Customer Service
  • Social or Community goals
  • Profit
  • Growth

Change Your Language

Sometimes if you are constantly referring to your goals, people can feel that they have heard it all before.

If a goal is particularly long term, you could consider a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). This refers to long game changing goals, for example changing the world’s perception to a global brand. These can be much further reaching ambitions and accordingly will involve a great deal of work; but unless you establish firmly what it is you wish to achieve and get started, it will not happen at all.

Deal With the Short Term

You’ve set out what it is you want to achieve in the long term; the next step is to work out how to make that happen.

Be specific – long term goals can be a little abstract, short term goals need to be structured, detailed and set in concrete. This requires a figure, monetary amount or percentage to be applied to your goal. Set out who should be doing what, when.

You then need to ensure your goals are realistic – your goals should be challenging, but they must also take into account elements such as resources, ensuring they are achievable.

Finally set a deadline for your goals.

Break It Down

You should understand what your long and short-term goals mean on a day-to-day basis. If you want to achieve 50% sales growth in five years, how much does that mean your sales need to increase every week? This helps you translate long-term goals into short-term ones.

Involve Your Team

Whilst it is important that you know where your business is heading, it is also vital that your team are on the same page. A good way to make this happen is by engaging with them, and creating goals alongside them. If your team feels engaged they will commit to your goals and the working environment will benefit from this hugely.

A team that knows what its goals are will communicate better, help each other and often reach goals more quickly.

Keep Focus

Most businesses will have more than one goal, so maintaining focus is important. It is vital to remember what you want to achieve with any given week, and to not get distracted by the day-to-day issues that arise.

Finally: Reward

One of the most important parts of goal setting is to reward people who played a part in meeting them. If there is no acknowledgement of when a goal is reached team members can become demoralised, and the next goal will feel more difficult to achieve. This also includes rewarding yourself!

This doesn’t need to always be a financial reward, sometimes just an acknowledgement of a job done well is all it takes. At the end of the day, there will have been a lot of hard work put into achieving your business goals, so everybody who has played a part is valuable, and needs to be made to feel valued.

Author Gyles Seward

More posts by Gyles Seward