How to Set—And Actually Achieve!—Your Business Goals in 2019
Way back in 2015, I wrote about what startups need to do before investing in digital marketing. One of the key things that startups should (and often don’t) do is clearly define goals for their business to tie their digital marketing efforts back to.
What established businesses often forget is that this is still absolutely necessary to do on a frequent basis. Reusing or just slightly tweaking the same goals every quarter or year isn’t enough.
Luckily for you, we have some helpful tips to keep in mind when creating new business goals for 2019.
1) Make sure your company has a clearly defined long-term vision
Having a long-term vision for your company is necessary to be able to create shorter-term goals. All short-term goals ultimately serve the long-term vision, otherwise goals will be random and confusing for team members.
While the company vision often comes from the CEO, it’s important that the vision is communicated to and understood by any team members responsible for setting goals.
Here at Perfect Search, we follow the Entrepreneurial Operating System, which has us create a 10-year, 3-year, and 1-year vision. Having a long-term plan has helped give clarity to our yearly and quarterly goals, and has actually made it significantly easier to create goals.
2) Use data from past years to create short-term goals
Once your company has a long-term vision, it’s time to create those short-term goals. These goals can be yearly, quarterly, and/or monthly, but should all tie back in some way to the long-term vision.
But just making short-term goals that tie into the long-term vision isn’t enough. It’s imperative that you look at data from past years to help create well-informed, realistic goals. You may even start to notice some trends when looking at past goals as compared to the results.
Are you consistently easily surpassing your goals? Consider making loftier goals. Is your company rarely, if ever, hitting goals? Dive deeper into the data to see why that may be happening.
Finally, when creating short-term goals, make sure that they’re S.M.A.R.T., or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. No blog post about goals would be complete without mentioning SMART goals! Read more about how to create S.M.A.R.T. goals here.
3) Choose projects that directly impact your goals
Just like your short-term goals should tie back directly to the long-term vision, make sure that any projects or efforts that your company is working on very clearly tie back to your goals. It’s so common for companies to come up with a multitude of projects to keep their teams busy without validating that that busy-ness is actually worthwhile.
Make sure to check in on a consistent basis—monthly, if not weekly is a good place to start—to reevaluate and determine whether efforts are leading to the desired results. If you’re not on track to hit your goals, reassess immediately.
Should projects be nixed in favor for more results-driven efforts? Or is one project particularly successful and could benefit from more resources? Make sure to pivot quickly when possible to make the best use of everyone’s time.
4) Communicate to relevant employees
According to this study, two-thirds of senior managers can’t name their firms’ top priorities. If employees in upper management don’t know the top priorities, how can a company expect to hit goals?
Being transparent about the company’s priorities helps get buy-in from all employees. At Perfect Search, we communicate our top company goals for the year to everyone so that they understand how their projects fit into the larger picture.
5) Create a process of accountability
According to this survey, 40% of people that write down goals don’t check to see whether they’ve achieved them. The same can happen to your company as a whole if there isn’t some process or culture of accountability.
This extends beyond just checking in to make sure that employees are working on what they’re supposed to be working on. Under the Entrepreneurial Operating System that Perfect Search employs, each person has various numbers or metrics that they are expected to track and meet on a weekly or quarterly basis. Employees understand that this is a basic tenet and expectation of their day-to-day, and when metrics aren’t hit we discuss what can be done to get back on track.
Laura Cain is a University of Chicago alum who hails from Mandeville, Louisiana. If she could have her own store, she would sell sandwiches on really fancy bread, and the one thing she can’t live without is ice cream (seriously).