How to define your business goals (and the 4 steps to achieving them)

Marketing Plans

5 min read

Gavin Cooper

Do work in a small-medium size business? Are you having problems with growing sales online or don’t know where to start with your marketing? In this article we cover the most important steps you can take today towards creating a structured plan for growing your business, so you can stop feeling stressed and start taking back control.

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So, you want to regain some control and confidence in your business? You’re not alone. Many small businesses are in the same boat.

The answer lies in having a structured plan to achieve your goals, and being able to focus efficiently, everyday, towards those goals.

Once you have your goals, you can break them down into easy actionable parts that you can focus on, that way you’ll feel more confident about your future.

Read on to find out how to do just that…

Why most business owners don’t have a plan

The common problem is, many SME business owners are too busy working in their business rather than on their business to even consider a plan.

The problem with working in your business, rather than on it, is that you are being reactive rather than proactive – and that’s a really inefficient way of working because it uses up all your time ‘at the coal face’ rather than ‘steering the ship’.

When you’re being reactive, you’re not in control of your business, and you won’t feel confident about where your business is heading.

Being more efficient and planning is the key to regaining control.

Regain control by being more productive

Here’s a common productivity matrix called the Eisenhower Matrix which illustrates the point about being productive.

The Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a framework for improving productivity.

So, you need to spend time in Q2, not Q1.

So, let’s look at exactly how you can spend more time in Q2.

A good Q2 task is future planning. One way to do this is to define your 12-month business goals which form the foundation of your plan – it’s what the rest of the plan flows from.

Read on to find out how to create a goal and break it down into actionable steps (Strategy, Objectives, Tactics) that make the goal easier to implement.

Step #1: Set your business goals

Your goals define your broad primary outcome over a period of time.

For example, a business goal for a company selling packaging, could be:

– “make our environmentally friendly packaging a category leader by year 2020”

You’ve now got your business goal.

Next, we need to work out how you’ll achieve that goal.

In order to achieve the goal you need a strategy.

Step #2: Create a strategy

A strategy explains the approach you will use to achieve the goal. Going back to our example, the strategy to achieve their business goal, could be:

“use visually compelling media to demonstrate how our packaging degrades in landfill quicker than our competitors”

Now you’ve got a strategy to achieve your goal.

Tip: There can be more than one strategy involved in achieving the business goal/s, but for this article, let’s keep it simple.

Next, we break down your strategy into objectives.

Step #3: Define your objectives

Objectives are specific measurable steps that can be taken that work towards achieving a strategy.

When setting your objectives, think about them being SMART (Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Timely).

Going back to our example, one objective to achieve the strategy, could be:

“generate 50 shares of our landfill packaging infographic on Facebook by X date”

(S) Specific – your objective needs to be very specific, it’s no good being so general that you can’t measure or define it. The above example is very specific because it uses a specific type of content (about landfill packaging) on a specific social channel (Facebook), and sets a specific number of shares (50) by a given date.

(M) Measurable – your objectives need to be measurable so that you can work out if you’ve been successful or not. The above example is measurable because it states the number of shares over a given period of time.

(A) Assignable – someone must take responsibility for achieving the objective. In the above example this objective would be assigned to the person responsible for Social Media. Ownership is important because it prompts accountability.

(R) Realistic – it’s no good setting an objective that you can’t achieve – that’s just setting yourself up to fail. Using the example above, only the company knows if the number of shares is realistic or not – this is a decision only you can make based on previous performance. If it’s your first social post, then 1 share may be more realistic!

(T) Timely – you must be specific over what time period the objective is achieved, so that you can measure it properly. Again, using the example, we can see that we’ve set a date that the shares must be generated by, so we can say this objective is Timely.

You’ve now got your objectives, to implement your strategy.

Next, we need to work out how you’ll achieve your objectives.

Step #4: Choose your tactics

In order to achieve the objective you need a tactic. This is a specific tool used to achieve the objective. Tactics could include a social post, email, blog article, infographic etc..

“Custom designed infographic”

Another tactic could be to use:

“Facebook promoted post”

in order to gain exposure for the infographic.

There you go, you’ve just set a business goal and mapped out the strategy, objective and tactic to achieve it.

Remember, you can have more than one goal or strategy, each with their own objectives and tactics.Pyramid showing how a goal can be broken down into a strategies, objectives and tactics

I hope you find this article useful. If you would like to send a message, view current work or join the discussion, please visit the contact us page.

Alternatively if you would like to discuss how we can create your marketing plan with you, you can register for a free consultation.

 

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