Your Go-To Guide for Setting Business Goals

how to set business goals

Business goal setting is a necessity for growth. A recent study from Harvard Business School found that only 14% of the population actively set goals – and those 14% were 10 times more successful than those who did not set any. Based on this data, we can see that setting written business goals is essential for getting (or remaining) ahead of the competition. Like so many other things, approaching your business goals smartly can help set you up for success.

Make Your Goals SMART

We didn’t use the term “smartly” by coincidence. All goals – whether personal or business – should be “SMART” – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-phased. In other words, all goals should be quantifiable and realistically accomplished within a certain time frame. Consider the two following examples:

“We want to leverage new technology to drive business success in 2020.”


“We want to use our three social media channels to create campaigns that increase conversions by 30% by the second quarter of 2020.”

See the difference? The first goal doesn’t reference anything specific and provides little direction. The second one lays the groundwork for a viable business goal – the company wants to bring in new customers and plans to do that by funneling more money into social media campaigns in hopes of increasing conversions. This goal lends itself to the creation of objectives that will ultimately increase the likelihood of successfully accomplishing the goal.

Commit to Your Goals

Once you set a goal, make sure to commit! This looks a little different for every company – some put their plan in motion by holding weekly stakeholder meeting to assess progress, while other collaborate over virtual means like Slack. No matter which method you choose, it is important to begin promptly on the execution of the goals you choose. As you move along, you may find that your business goals or objectives need to be adjusted based on certain realities of the business landscape. If you find your original goals seem likely to fail on budgetary constraints or business demand, adjusting them should not be considered a failure.

Be Public About Your Goals

Another surefire way to maximize the success of your business goals is to make them public. Make the goal-setting process collaborative and invite several different team members from different departments to brainstorming and business-mapping sessions. Once you agree on goals together, disseminate information to the rest of the organization. This creates a level of accountability that can be motivating for managing, while increasing buy-in from multiple levels of your organization. The exact role others in your organization will play is up to you, but take steps to make sure that your organization’s goals are public.

Goal setting is an essential part of advancing your organizational mission. It is important, however, to exercise deliberation when creating goals as an organization. Use SMART goal -setting strategies in the creation and execution of your goals, and remember to get multiple levels of your organization involved. By following these tips, your business goals have a better chance of success.

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