Once upon a time there was a business owner, expert in their field, who wanted to succeed. The owner had dreams of shiny new customers hurrying towards the business, clutching bags of gold they couldn’t wait to pass over in exchange for the excellent, personal service being offered.
The owner had a vague idea of what was needed, with no specific outcome in mind and no target dates. The owner worked very, very hard every day on all kinds of different ideas to make the business work, but alas, somehow none of the schemes came to fruition and many projects which were started were never finished.
After much time had passed and money had been spent the business owner decided to ….
…. focus on what the business must accomplish by setting, specific, measureable objectives. The owner carefully monitored progress, stayed accountable and achieved the specific results wanted for the business to prosper.
The business was a huge success and the owner and customers lived happily ever after. The End.
The moral of this story, even though it is just a fairy tale, is that one of the most powerful tools a business can use is in the setting of objectives.
Once you know where you are headed (see describing your vision ) and you have decided why your business exists (see creating your mission) you can identify specific, measurable objectives that are achievable within a particular timeframe: a deadline. The objectives must be important to the success of the business. The setting of objectives for 30, 60, 90 days, 12 months or whichever timeframe works for you is extremely powerful.
This will result in focused, meaningful action: a key ingredient for success.
Choose the objectives that are most critical to your business. Start with key financial objectives and key marketing objectives. Focus on the most important aspects of your business, measure and make yourself accountable for the results.
What measurable targets must the business accomplish?
Think about what you would like the answers to these questions to be at the end of a specific deadline.
We completed …. We have started …
We now … We no longer …
We increased …. We decreased …
Here are some examples to guide you – try them on for size.
What specific measureable financial targets will you achieve?
sales, profit, margin, cash flow, remuneration, debt ….
e.g. increase sales of Service A from £X to £Y by [deadline]
What specific, measurable marketing & sales targets will you achieve?
new products, new customer, number of customers, awareness
e.g. introduce new product A in Quarter X to add sales revenue of Y by Quarter Z
What specific, measurable operations targets will you achieve?
chargeable time, location, customer service
e.g. by Month X ensure Y% of customer enquiries are responded to within 24 hours
What specific, measurable people targets will you achieve?
number, type, benefits, remuneration,
e.g. by Month X take on an additional Y full-time qualified support staff
What specific, measurable personal targets will you achieve?
role, remuneration, hours, personal development, networking & speaking
e.g. work no more than X hours a week
Now write out 5 or 6 specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound (SMART) objectives that you can really commit to.
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