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Start-Ups

Setting Attainable Business Goals

By Barbara Beauregard   |    February 16, 2016   |    9:32 AM

Setting Realistic Business Goals

Everyone wants to swing for the fences when setting business goals, but then they often fall short of these lofty expectations they made for themselves. As an entrepreneur, how do you go about setting up realistic and attainable business goals?

Setting realistic business goals gives you a firm framework for launching and growing your business and prevent you from mission creep. It’s the first step to running a successful small or mid-sized business. Realistic goals are generally defined by these characteristics:

Specific—the goals should be clearly defined in such a way that they can be stated clearly without vague terms.

Measurable—The goals must be able to be quantified in the context of a description of your business. Setting a goal like “sell more” doesn’t give you any benchmarks to aim for.

Attainable—There is no point in even setting goals if the results are too lofty to realistically achieve.

Relevant—Business goals are based on the current conditions of the economy and the realities of the business market. You may want to have your best year yet, but if a recession is looming or you’re facing the reality of layoffs, your goals aren’t relevant to your current reality.

Timely—Efficient goals are bound by time constraints and a realistic end date. Without any time limitations, your goals simply merge with day-to-day operations and become irrelevant.

Make Informed Decisions

Fix goals that can be achieved by a specific course of action, based on the best actionable information that you have about the business and your operations. Realistic goals help employees understand not only what needs to be done but why. A realistic goal is a well thought-out statement that informs an intelligent business plan that eventually produces an efficient marketing strategy.

Evaluate and Enhance Performance

Setting specific short-term and long-term goals can help you to evaluate your company’s performance as well as that of your employees.

Compare Shortcomings with Business Goals

Shortcomings can be estimated and analyzed by comparing them with your business goals. Like monthly sales or production targets, this helps you to understand your failure or success rate and change course to make improvements.

Evaluate Your Resources

Attainable goals enable will enable you to better assess the resources that you need in order to achieve your goals. Resources like employees and capital are necessary for the efficient management of a business. As an entrepreneur, it’s up to you to assign, allocate or produce the necessary resources based on your business goals.

Mission and Strategy

There’s a phenomenon in the nonprofit sector known as “mission creep.” This happens when chasing all the various activities and responses that are required of an organization cause it to drift away from its primary goal. Setting realistic goals in the business market will help you to focus on the mission of your company and help concentrate your activities in supporting and achieving your goals. Goals also encourage your team to produce efficient strategies to achieve organizational success.