Goal management strategies for your startup

When you’re running a small business, you know there are a lot of goals for work that you need to make. From personal goals to things that you want the business as a whole to achieve, these goals are an important step in running your company. Not only should you have goals from the beginning when you create your business plan, but you should also add and adapt goals for the company throughout the life of your business.

When you’re creating goal management plans for your business, you need to ensure that everyone involved is on board. Having specific, defined goals helps everyone in the company grow. However, ideas on how to manage these goals can vary significantly from department to department—or even within departments.

Have a clear way for your team to manage their goals. When managing goals, you need to do the following:

  • Set the goal
  • Create a specific timeframe
  • Track steps toward achieving the goal
  • Keep goals together in an easy-to-find spot

Whether you keep track of your company’s goals on your website, in company meetings, or elsewhere, make sure that they are easily accessible. Allowing everyone to see the goals the company has, update any progress they have made, and keep track of finished goals helps keep everyone motivated.

Achieving startup goals

Achieving startup goals isn’t always an easy task. Too often startups and individuals alike make goals that are unrealistic or don’t have the right information. Making goals is more than just stating a desire. Achieving goals means making great goals in the first place. The most effective way to start is to create S.M.A.R.T. goals. What exactly is a S.M.A.R.T goal?

  • Specific. The goals you create for yourself and your business should be as specific as possible. Instead of stating a goal of “making money,” consider instead the more specific goal of “earn $100,000 in revenue this quarter.” This goal is specific in its details, from the amount of money you would like to make to the timeframe in which you hope to achieve the goal.
  • Measurable. When you’re using specific goals, they become much more measurable. You’re able to see exactly when you have reached your goal. You’re also able to see each step toward that goal. Being able to measure what you’re doing helps you stay on track and working toward your future.
  • Attainable. While your goals should be challenging, especially as a company, they should also be attainable. If it’s completely impossible to reach the goal you set, why would you spend the time and energy to work toward it? Your goals shouldn’t be too easily attained, or you won’t be striving to be better. Always strive to do better, but when making your goals, make sure they’re within reach.
  • Relevant. Making relevant goals can be a little difficult when you’re dreaming big. However, your goals need to be relevant to your business, your industry’s environment, and what you plan to achieve. Making goals that are relevant to your business and what is going on around you, you’re more likely to achieve these goals. Keep in mind that the relevance of your goal also affects how attainable it is. If you make a goal that is completely irrelevant to your business or the environment in which you work, you’re not going to be able to achieve it.
  • Trackable. Your goal should have a timeframe and/or be trackable in a real manner. Having a deadline keeps you focused on the goal and keeps you from moving on to something new before you’re ready. Having a tracking system or timetable for your goals allows yourself and your employees to see how close you are getting to achieving your goals. It also creates an expectation for the completion of the goals.

Each piece of the S.M.A.R.T puzzle works together to help you create effective goals that are actually achievable. When you create, manage, and achieve goals, you’re more likely to see success in your business.

Big goals or small?

One concern that many startups have when creating goals for work is whether they should create big goals or small goals. Small goals are more easily attainable, generally have a shorter timeframe, and offer a quicker reward or satisfaction. On the other hand, big goals have a larger payoff and keep you focused for a longer period of time. Large goals also keep your business challenged.

Because of the differences in large and small goals, it’s important to have both. When you’re deciding on a goal, start with a large goal that you would like to see happen in the future. Your large goal should have a timeframe of three to five years from now.

Work back toward the present from there. While keeping your large goal in mind, decide on a smaller goal that will get your closer to your desired results in the next two to three years. After this, take another step back and set a goal for one year from now. For even smaller goals, consider time frames such as a six-month period, quarterly goals, or even monthly goals.

Another option is to start with the small goals and work your way up. However, this can be more difficult because you need to make sure that each of the small goals is working toward the same thing.

Don’t forget that you can set other goals for your startup that don’t lead directly to your five-year goal. You can have several five-year goals in place. However, keeping track of all of your goals becomes a lot more difficult as you add more goals

Get goal input

You don’t need to create all of your company’s goals yourself. In fact, trying to create the goals for your entire startup by yourself is never a good idea. While you may have a specific direction for the company in mind, your business partners may have other thoughts about the most important things for the business. Talking this out allows you to create effective S.M.A.R.T goals.

In addition, when you get input on your startup goals from other employees, you may find that they have an insight or point of view that you hadn’t thought of. Many times, some of the best goals comes from collaboration and a large number of ideas working together to help achieve success for the company.

Keep track

Keep tabs on all the goals that the company has. This helps you see how well you’re doing and what you have achieved, and it gives you a track record to show future investors. Keeping track of each goal and how you achieved it is a big job within the company and can be difficult. However, there are apps and programs out there to help your company track the goals you set in place.

Get everyone involved

While your company’s five-year goals may not seem like they’re important for your customer support team to fully know and understand, it’s important to keep everyone involved in achieving goals. When your team understands that their monthly stat goals directly affect the company’s overarching quarterly goal, which in turn is a step toward the yearly goal and makes a difference in the five-year goal, they’re more motivated to achieve their own goals. Having this understanding is important for all of your employees.

Acknowledge achievement

Remember to acknowledge yourself, your employees, and your company when your goals are met or exceeded. Even small monthly goals are a trackable step toward larger goals. If you take the time to acknowledge the achievements of the people in your organization, you’re more likely to keep them motivated.

Acknowledging achievement doesn’t have to be a huge deal every time. All it takes is congratulations and a thank you. Send out an email when an individual or a team in the company achieves what they set out to do for the month, the quarter, or the year. A simple word of acknowledgment goes a long way.

Setting, managing, and achieving goals for your startup allows you to keep your eye on the future. As your business grows, you may find that your goals have to change a little. Be flexible and reevaluate your goals regularly. This allows you to ensure that what you are doing is in line with the goals of the company and that the company goals are in line with your future.

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