Setting business goals is one of those concepts that all business owners and managers know they should work on, but very few actually do.
The problem isn’t seeing the value of setting goals — we can all agree on that — but, rather, understanding how to get started and what to do next.
In this article, the experts at Sling discuss some of the more common business goals and how to go about setting — and achieving — your own.
Common Small Business Goals
1) Cut Costs
Every business can benefit from spending less. But not every business will go about it in the same way.
Common cost-cutting business goals include:
- Renegotiating supplier contracts
- Improving vendor management
- Paying off debt to reduce interest payments
- Investing in technology to streamline operations
- Managing inventory more effectively
- Optimizing fleet management
- Maximizing human capital
Your business may benefit from striving for one or two — or all — of these business goals, but you won’t know unless you take a good, hard look at the way your company operates.
We’ll discuss that concept a bit further in point one of the How To Set Your Own Business Goals section later on in this article.
2) Improve Productivity
Like the cost-cutting business goal, improving productivity takes many forms and is often unique to your operation.
Your business may find more productivity from large-scale operational changes while, at the same time, benefit from more personal, individualized “tweaks” such as:
- Harnessing the power of software
- Working on challenging tasks in the morning when energy levels are highest
- Making time for personal reflection
- Taking breaks throughout the day
- Focusing on things that matter
- Avoiding multitasking
- Planning the workweek before it starts
For more suggestions on how you can improve the productivity of your teams, check out this article from the Sling blog: How To Be Productive At Work And Home.
3) Hire High-Potential Employees
Hiring high-potential — and high-performing — employees can mean the difference between reaching your other business goals and coasting along without improvement.
Identifying high-potential employees is a priority that all HR departments should strive for, and consists of asking such questions as:
- Are they autonomous?
- Are they adaptable?
- Are they persistent?
- Are they self-aware?
Once you’ve identified — and hired — a high-potential employee, be sure to do everything you can to keep them working for your team.
That brings us to our next business goal.
4) Reduce Employee Turnover
It costs a lot to find and hire a new employee. Your business is better served by working to reduce employee turnover in order to keep the employees it’s got.
There are many ways to reach this business goal, including:
- Providing the right benefits
- Giving employees the recognition they deserve
- Conducting regular performance appraisals
- Encouraging teamwork
5) Prevent Employee Burnout
Employee burnout — or just burnout for short — is mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion that leads to a lack of enthusiasm, decreased motivation, and a general sense of displeasure with the job.
Preventing such brain drain is often high on most managers’ list of business goals, but few ever get around to addressing it.
Start by watching out for the signs of burnout, including:
- Blunted emotions
- Feelings of helplessness
- Decreased motivation
Then, once you’ve identified an at-risk employee, take steps to alleviate the burden and prevent full-scale burnout.
How To Achieve Your Own Business Goals
1) Examine Your Business
The first step in setting business goals is to perform a thorough examination of the way your company works.
Investigate all levels of operation including:
Get familiar enough with the active processes and procedures at each level that you can see ways to adjust and modify how things work for the better.
2) Identify What You Want To Accomplish
With a full understanding of your business, you can now identify what you want to accomplish.
If, for example, you discover that there are issues with the C-suite structure and function, you can set a goal to revise and streamline the way these employees work.
Or, if you see room for improvement in the way your front-line employees operate, you can set your sights on refining the way they work.
3) Create Measurable Business Goals
Sometimes, it’s tempting to set general goals, such as “provide better customer service” or “have more fun with the team.” Those are excellent business goals, but they’re too subjective to be of any real use.
How do you know if your team is providing better customer service? How do you know if they’re having more fun?
The best way to set goals that work is to make them measurable. Once you know how you want to quantify them, you can assign a target number so it will be more objective and less up to interpretation.
For example, you might set a goal to reach a 30% increase in customer satisfaction through the last six months of the year.
With a measurable target like this, you can quickly and easily see whether your business has achieved its goals or not.
4) Put Together A Strategic Plan For Business Goals
Once you’ve created your specific business goals, it’s time to compose a strategic plan to get you there. Start by creating a written document that details the steps and processes your business needs to reach the goals you’ve set.
Be as detailed as possible, but also be willing to go back and change the plan if you see that something isn’t working or if someone has a better idea.
5) Allocate Resources
After you’ve composed your strategic plan, use that information to allocate any and all resources necessary to reach the business goal.
Don’t overlook such variables as:
All of these resources can have a dramatic effect on the success of your plans.
6) Gather Your Team And Go To Work
With your plans set and your resources dedicated to the task at hand, it’s time to assemble your team and go to work.
Assign individual tasks and set deadlines to adhere to the timeline you’ve established in your strategic plan. Once you’ve made the necessary changes to head in the right direction, get everyone involved.
While only a few individuals may be working toward a specific business goal, success depends on getting everyone in your business engaged and working toward the same end result.
Conquer Business Goals With Scheduling
A significant part of conquering your business goals in a timely manner is assigning tasks to specific sub-teams or individual employees.
As the business owner or project manager, you’re going to need to coordinate the long-term activities of your team as well as their day-to-day work.
The Sling suite of cloud-based tools streamlines the scheduling process and helps you keep track of both the business goals you’ve set and the steps your team needs to take to reach those goals.
As part of a comprehensive suite of tools that assists in all aspects of business — from project management to the regular operation of your business to achieving business goals — Sling allows you to:
- Communicate quickly and easily with all team members, a small group, or just one person
- Create, assign, and monitor tasks
- Set up a unique company-wide newsfeed (much like a social media page) for your employees
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Other features include:
- Powerful and intuitive scheduling
- Comprehensive time-tracking (with geofencing)
- Dynamic reporting
- Time-saving payroll processing
- Effective budgeting
- Productive labor cost optimization
- Helpful overtime control
- And much more…
Add to that the onboard artificial intelligence, and you’ve got an extremely beneficial and flexible set of tools that will help you get control of your team, improve engagement, and reach your business goals faster.
Try Sling for free and discover just how easy it is to streamline your operations and keep your business on the road to success.
For more resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.