In any business, goal setting plays a central role in the company’s growth and development. This holds true no matter the company’s size, industry, age, or location. Goals are a necessary part of growth; they prevent stagnation, encourage focus, and set a business up for long-term success.
When done right, goal setting is a great way to make sure that your company’s expansion is always in line with its central mission statement. It can also work wonders for getting the most out of yourself and your employees when you’re all working towards a unified mission.
So when you’re setting 2022 goals to increase productivity and keep your business running at peak performance, make sure you’re setting SMART goals.
What are SMART Goals?
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based. It’s a system initially conceived by George T. Doran, who published it in a 1981 issue of Management Review.
You’ve probably come across this goal-setting system before. While there are quite a few slight variations on it, it’s still widely used today, almost 40 years after its first publication. The reason it’s still around? It works.
Now, let’s take a closer look at what makes SMART goals.
Clarity is paramount. Above all, goals should be easy to understand and unambiguous. Instead of setting a goal to “make as many cold calls as possible,” define the number of calls you’d like to make. This also gives you a way to know concretely when a goal is achieved.
You’ll only be able to know if you’ve met your goals if you can measure them. This is closely related to the “specific” quality. If the answer to the question, “Did we meet our goal?” isn’t immediately clear, you’ll need to rethink your goals.
Goals aren’t worth much if they don’t push your team to be the best they can be, but they also need to be realistic. There’s little that’s more demotivating than an unattainable goal.
Finding the sweet spot between achievable and challenging is part of the art of great goal setting.
Alignment is important in any business, and the way you set goals can help. Do the goals of your sales reps align with the company’s mission statements? Are the sales team’s goals in line with the marketing team’s goals? Make sure everyone is on the same page to achieve the best results.
This aspect of good goal-setting ties back to making goals that are measurable. Setting a deadline is an integral part of crafting an effective goal. It boosts motivation and makes your goals measurable.
The SMART goal-setting method is great for shorter-term goals, but it’s also important to consider the long-term trajectory of your company. In fact, the long-term goals your company sets are a great resource when it comes to outlining the steps your company should take today.
Long-term goals are typically those that have a timeline of three to five years. In addition to their timeline, they should have your company’s mission statement at heart. Why was your company founded in the first place, and where do you want it to go?
Once you’ve arrived at some long-term goals, it’s then time to work backward. What are the steps you’ll need to take to achieve those goals? This is the process by which you should come up with your short-term goals.
3 Areas Where Goal-Setting is Important
1. Profitability Goals
These are among the most common goals, and for no surprising reason. Running a business is largely about profitability. Attaining higher profitability involves more than simply bringing in more money, however.
Increasing profitability can be boiled down to two things: decreasing expenses and increasing revenue. If becoming more profitable is a goal for your business (and it probably is), it’s best to make smaller goals that can act as stepping stones to this end.
Minimize Business Expenses
How can you reduce the ongoing expenses your business faces? For giant corporations and small businesses alike, figuring out how to cut costs is an ongoing process that’s critical for growth.
Can you save on your monthly rent or utility bills? How about upgrading your technology to make operations more efficient? A close examination of your expenses should help identify areas in which you can save or maximize ROI.
This is the all-important other half of improving profitability.
Increasing revenue has everything to do with your sales team, your marketing team, and your sales process. Along with taking the time to make sure that your sales team has effective actionable goals set in place to boost revenue, they should also align with the goals of the marketing team.
A well-defined sales process that helps these two departments work together to achieve related goals is your best bet at generating better revenue.
2. Customer Service Goals
How can you improve the customer experience?
This is a question your business should be asking regularly. Happy customers make for thriving businesses; repeat customers are invaluable, and word-of-mouth marketing isn’t something you can fake or buy.
You can make your customer service goals measurable by using metrics like customer satisfaction surveys. For example, you could aim to improve these survey results by 20% by the end of the quarter.
Steps for achieving this goal could include reducing wait time in customer service calls by a certain percentage. It could also mean revamping the FAQ section on your website. Check in on your customer-facing content and see where it could be tightened.
Improving customer service to attain higher customer retention and increased sales is a central component of an effective goal-setting plan.
3. Employee Retention Goals
Employee retention has a direct impact on your company’s performance, and keeping your employees happy is what will keep them around. Searching for and training new employees is a costly endeavor, and keeping your most talented employees should be of primary concern.
To arrive at your specific employee retention goal, you could implement (or improve) an employee feedback system. You’ve got to know how your employees feel before you can make necessary changes, and this is a great way to do just that.
Example Business Goals for 2022
Improve Content Marketing Strategy
Your business is operating in the digital age, and maintaining a strong online presence has never been more important.
If you don’t already have one in place, developing a content marketing strategy is one of the best things you can do for your company. Creating relevant and interesting content will foster customer loyalty as well as increase brand awareness through exposure.
Implement Social Media Marketing
This one goes hand-in-hand with content marketing. If you haven’t yet, now’s the time to get your business involved with social media. Today, the vast majority of adults in the USA have at least one social media account, and this percentage is only growing.
Getting your business involved with social media gives you the potential to reach huge numbers of potential customers. It also affords your business the opportunity to increase brand awareness and loyalty by encouraging user-generated and shareable content.
Renew Your Business Plan
Just about every aspect of your business requires regular review. Businesses that favor a “set it and forget it” approach likely aren’t operating at the highest level they’re capable of.
Your business plan falls into this category. If you’ve experienced growth recently, or even if your business has been stagnant for a period of time, there’s a good chance it’s time to revisit your business plan.
Going into 2022 is the perfect time to re-evaluate and make the necessary adjustments to your business plan.
Take a Break
It’s not uncommon for a business owner to pour every ounce of energy into their business, especially when it’s in the early stages of growth. But putting all of your time into your business can sometimes do more harm than good.
If it’s been too long, 2022 might be the year you make it a goal to take some time off. You don’t have to take a long break, or even disconnect completely from your business, but the research is clear: too much work is bad for you and your company.
Saddock Can Get Your Business Ready for 2022
In order to achieve business success, the first step is to set SMART goals and objectives. Proper goal-setting is crucial, as it is the best way to set yourself up to actually achieve those goals. In addition to setting smart, actionable goals, remember to work backward from your long-term goals so as to define your short-term goals.
At Saddock Advisory, we can help determine if your business is financially healthy.
Get in touch with us here to find out more.