Business goals can help you drive yourself, your business and your employees further. With well-defined goals, everyone on your team will know what to shoot for and how to get there. With poorly defined goals, your business will struggle to maintain equilibrium.
It’s like riding a bicycle: When you’re pedaling fast, it’s easy to stay up. But once you slow down in business, that’s when things start to collapse.
Here’s how to set your goals.
==> Start with Your Emotional Core Goal
When Michael Dell was asked what goals he set for himself, he began by answering from core metrics and market inefficiencies – then he stopped. He realized what really drove him wasn’t any of that.
It was the flagpole he saw at the top of a skyscraper when he was young. He decided then that he wanted a flagpole of his own. He wanted to have that kind of presence in the world.
He now has three.
Knowing your metric goals is important. But knowing your emotional core goal is what’s really going to push you to do what you need to do to succeed.
==> Setting Business Goals
Start from your business’s ultimate goals, say in 10 years. For some it might be to secure retirement. For others it might be to go public.
Work backwards to the goals you need to hit today to make that happen. Set 5-year goals, 2-year goals, 1-year goals as well as quarterly goals.
==> Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely
Every goal (except the emotional ones) should match these five criteria. They should be specific and measurable, meaning they’re metric-based. They should be attainable and realistic, but still ambitious enough that you’re excited about them.
Finally there should be a time deadline attached to achieving those goals. That’s what really lights a fire under your chair to get you up and moving.
==> Write What You’re Willing to Sacrifice
Write down what you’re willing to sacrifice to hit those goals. Often times growing a business means sacrificing things you enjoy about running the business.
If you’re opening a second store, that could mean less face time with customers. If you’re hiring new employees, that could mean not knowing all your employees by name.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, was a big fan of programming. But there came a time when he had to step away from writing code so he could actually run the company. It was a tough choice, but a sacrifice he had to make to grow the company. You’ll have to make similar choices.
Doing this process every year will help you set goals that personally excite you, which you can use to rally your whole company around.