Effective Business Goal Setting

By QuickBooks Canada Team

2 min read

Effective goal setting can mean the difference between success and failure. Creating meaningful and effective business goals is a key to growing a business over time, as they can be used as benchmarks to determine if the business is actually operating how the owners intend and desire. Having specific business goals, perhaps SMART goals, may determine whether your business continues to exist.

Plan Long-Range Goals First

The most important step for any business is to select and plan its long-term goals. Generally, long-term goals consist of planned achievements over a period of five or more years. While these can be difficult to project, conceptual goals are vastly better and more advantageous than having no long-term plans at all. Try to cover multiple areas within these goals, such as business growth goals, business and personal financial goals, geographic and location-based goals, social goals, and even charitable goals. If you don’t establish your goals, you will struggle to focus your efforts.

Concretize Short-Term Goals

Once your business’s long-term goals are in place, start thinking more strategically. Decide on and implement short-term plans to achieve the business’s long-term goals. “Short-term” has various definitions across industries, but a widely accepted definition is one to three years. List the actions your business and its employees can take in the next 12 to 36 months to achieve the long-term objectives. An extreme amount of detail at this point is not necessary, but too much vagueness can be a mistake. For example, if long-term goal is to increase revenue by 300%, some short-term goals to achieve this objective could include introducing a new product and doubling the number of customers who are purchasing the current product offering.

List Out Tactical Objectives

Long-term goals lead to short-term goals. To achieve the business’s short-term goals over the next one to three years, tactical objectives must be defined and achieved. Tactical goals must be completed on a monthly and quarterly basis. Once a short-term objective is known, it doesn’t take much planning to decide what tasks must be completed to achieve it. Quarterly reviews of tasks and results allow efficient future adjustments.

Efficient Goal Setting

Effective business goal setting is as much of an art as it is a science. To start, a business must define and know its long-term goals to understand its objectives over the course of the next few years. Once these long-term goals have been defined, the business can then define and analyze the short-term objectives that will lead to achieving the long-term goals. Tactical plans, objectives, and goals can be defined, and actions towards attaining them can be implemented. While the exact timeframes of this process will certainly vary from industry to industry, this generalized process is an efficient and effective way to plan goals and evolve a business over time so it can achieve its objectives and thrive.

References & Resources

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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