Over 80% of 300 small business owners surveyed in the 4th Annual Staples National Small Business Survey identified that they don’t keep track of their business goals (Vander Bos, 2010). Moreover, 77% have not achieved their vision of their organization. Pevenstein and McElwee (2013) continued this investigation with an additional survey to identify the detail of how limited to inadequate goal setting impacted small business, respondents identified:
- 83% of small business owners are responsible for organizing, planning, and rolling out initiatives within their business.
- 69% wished they could focus more energy to working “on” the business rather than “in” the business.
Where do you fall in these statistics? Are you with the majority that don’t track or achieve your goals? Are you with the majority that haven’t reach the full potential of achieving your overall organizational vision?
Were your reasons similar to those of the respondents, are you too caught up working in your business and not enough time working on your business? Are you so overwhelmed with the daily grind that you the time to “plan” and work on “goals” is just too far out of reach? Or do you get started with goal setting, only to fizzle out shortly thereafter? Whatever the case, there is deep-rooted value in goal setting to getting your small business where you want it to go – revenue, market, time, and resource-wise. The remainder of this article will discuss the what, how, why, and when to get you launching off the diving board goal-setting and swimming in the pool of your specific goals, actions, and visions for your organization.
What. Goal setting is simply short and long-term objectives that are specific, measurable, relevant, attainable, and usually achieved within a specific time frame.
How. In order to set goals, you need to know where you are and where you would like to go. This may require asking yourself and your team:
- What are my long-term social, financial, service, profit and growth strategic objectives? What do I want to achieve these long-term objectives? Why?
- What are my short-term social, financial, service, profit and growth strategic objectives? What do I want to achieve these short-term objectives? Why?
In order for the above referenced questions to be useful throughout the planning process you must truly understand your long-term vision and the short and long-term objectives that are needed to get you from where you are today to achieving that vision. This also requires communication, commitment, and buy-in for key people that will be carrying out these objectives, and setting the tone for the organizational culture that supports it There should be both inspiration and accountability embedded within the process. If you want to explore getting more specific with your objectives, there are many goal setting and objective frameworks that may be helpful, such as:
Why. To identify, organize, implement, and monitor key actions that will organize you and your team to achieve short and long-term objectives. Olguin (2013) noted 4 additional key reasons why goal setting is paramount in small business: measure success, leadership team cohesion, knowledge is power, and assessing performance to build upon new goals, strategies and actions.
When. You may find that once you start the goal setting process that you end up practicing and implementing such key actions within your daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually routine. The level and intensity of those sessions may vary. However, goal setting shouldn’t a be a once in awhile thing, it should be a strategic routine. Planting your goal setting seeds helps you to reap your short and long term fruit from your visionary garden. You’re the gardener, so your proactive involvement of working on and in essential to health, sustainability, and profitability of that garden.
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by Katie Doseck, Ph.D.
Chief Visionary and Strategic Ace Up Your Sleeve | Viral Solutions LLC