Set Goals and Objectives in Your Business Plan
Well-chosen goals and objectives point a new business plan in the right direction and keep an established company on the right track. Just think about what football would be without end zones or what the Indianapolis 500 would be without a finish line.
Goals establish where you intend to go and tell you when you get there. They help improve your overall effectiveness as a company — whether you want to increase your share of the market, for example, or improve your customer service. The more carefully you define your goals, the more likely you are to do the right things and achieve what you wanted to accomplish in the first place.
Objectives are the specific steps you and your company need to take in order to reach each of your goals. They specify what you must do — and when.
Think of goals and objectives this way:
Goals tell you where you want to go; objectives tell you exactly how to get there.
Goals can increase your effectiveness; objectives back your goals and make you more efficient.
Goals are typically described in words; objectives often come with numbers and specific dates.
For example, suppose that your goal is to double the number of people using your Web-conferencing service. Your objectives may be as follows:
Gain awareness by placing print ads in four regional markets and by airing radio ads in two major markets (by June 10)
Attract first-time customers by offering an online giveaway of $1,000 (by June 1)
Cultivate prospects by implementing a permission-based weekly e-mail to 2,500 targeted contacts (by July 10)
Convert 10 percent of prospects to clients, using e-mail reminders (beginning July 25)
Together, goals and objectives form the road map for your company’s future. Without them, you risk making wrong turns and wasting precious energy.
When establishing goals and objectives, try to involve everyone who will have the responsibility of achieving those goals and objectives after you lay them out.
Select the five goals that you think are absolutely, positively essential to your business success. (If you come up with only four, don’t worry. If you can’t get away with fewer than six or seven, that’s okay, too. Just be sure you establish a list of goals long enough to drive your success, but don’t overwhelm your ability to focus on each one.)
After you decide on your list, fine-tune each goal, using these guidelines:
Keep each goal clear and simple.
Don’t be afraid to push yourself.
Make sure that your goals are in sync with your mission.