If you're like most people, you put some things off until the last minute. Picture a wife needing to take the kids to a ballgame, and the husband is in the middle of changing the oil on the car. Not very good planning on their part, and the result is less than desirable.
With a little planning, the husband could have accomplished the oil change earlier and everyone would be happy.
All too often in business, we fail to plan effectively for ourselves and our companies.
The first step to effective planning is to set the right goals. This is a two-step process as it is necessary to 1) set goals for the business in general, and 2) set goals for ourselves in order to reach the business goals.
Here are some key tips to setting exciting business goals that yield results:
- Be specific. Don't use generic terms like "a few" or "run ads." If you mean 3, state 3. If you have to guess between a range of numbers, be conservative.
Don't say "We really want to see our sales grow exponentially in the market." This does not express what you really want to accomplish. State something like, "With the implementation of our new marketing brochure, we expect to see a 25% increase in sales. We also expect to see a 42% increase in inquiries about our products."
These are measurable goals to which everyone in the organization can relate. You will also know if you're on track or falling short by comparing what actually happens with what you planned.
- Make your goals realistic. If you or the team looks at a goal and rolls their eyes, your proposed goal may be in trouble from the start. For example, setting out to be the #1 Realtor in an area is a good goal, but realistically, how are you going to accomplish that if you are currently a 1 or 2-person show? In this instance, an attainable goal might be to become a Top 10 Realtor during the first year and go forward from there.
- Ensure your goals have meaning for the team to which you are presenting. Letting the sales department know you want the trash cleaned out on a daily basis is not going to help them increase sales by 25 percent. This is a maintenance department's goal and doesn't mean a thing to sales team. Make sure the goals you develop are aimed at the appropriate audience. Make it something they have control over, or why should they care?
- Set deadlines and timeframes to meet milestones. Simply stating, "Our goal is to increase our sales to $1 million," for example, is specific, but doesn't provide a sense of urgency. There's an old saying, "A goal without a deadline is just a wish." Set a specific date for completion and it becomes REAL. Then work backwards from there to plan the steps needed to get you there, and the order they fall in.
Setting goals gives you and your team a target. This ensures all of your efforts are focused in the same direction enabling you to have a better chance at success. And, by developing specific goals, your team will have a sense of direction. They no longer just show up at work.
With this newfound direction, your team will begin to assume more responsibility and ownership of the projects that need to be completed. The goals you all commit to will give you measurable milestones to ensure projects stay on track and within time frames established. And make sure to celebrate along the way!
By implementing proper procedures for creating goals, you will have set the basis for creating a successful plan. After all, if something is worth doing, isn't it worth doing well? Considering the quality of your goals is the first step to getting what you want from your business and your life. So make sure you take goal-setting seriously and follow these steps.
Create your goals in the usual way, and they often get forgotten and fall to the wayside. Make them clear, specific, attainable, and involve your team, and you've got a powerful motivating force for positive change on your hands!
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