Want to Grow Your Business? It May Be Time to Rethink Your Goals.
I love football.
Not just watching a game on Sunday afternoon, or playing touch football every Thanksgiving with my family — I love the rules.
The rules of football differ from those of other sports because you don’t just define the ultimate goal of winning the game, but, also, how the team must meet small goals to accomplish this large one.
These small goals: scoring touchdowns or field goals, are again broken down into even smaller ones (such as moving the ball at least 10 yards in a maximum of four downs).
In football, everyone understands that if their team accomplishes a series of small goals they have a better chance to reach the big one—to win the game. Unfortunately, many small business owners fail to realize that the same holds true for their companies.
As a business owner, you must establish both long-term and short-term goals. Long-term goals are great when you’re looking at the big picture— They help you visualize where you want to end up. But there’s one major problem with long-term goals—They can take years, or even decades to reach.
Since long-term goals take so long to reach, employees often feel overwhelmed by them. The result can be a significant decrease in productivity. No matter how hard an employee works, he can’t realize immediate results and gets discouraged.
However, when businesses set more easily attainable short-term goals, success can quickly be achieved, building confidence and motivation.
To gain the most from short-term goals, you must keep them meaningful and achievable. I suggest that my clients review their current goals at least once a year to ensure they’re still relevant. Perhaps it’s time for you examine your current short-term goals to determine if they’re still worthwhile.
Five Short-Term Goals to Define.
- Re-examine your products and services. It all starts with how well you and your team understand the products and services you sell. Studies show that a knowledgeable and enthusiastic staffis one of the best ways to instill a high level of trust in your customers. Your staff must know enough to impress potential customers with a deep understanding of your products, and have the ability to demonstrate your company’s unique sales proposition. Aim to hold a few employee workshops and training seminars throughout the year.
- Get to know your customers. Without customers, your business might as well not exist. How much do you really know about the people who keep your business in the black? Do you have a clear, up-to-date idea about who your customers are, and what they need and want from your company? Many small businesses don’t, and suffer for it. If you don’t have a clue about your customers, you should set a goal to better understand them better. Consider speaking with ten customers a month, or send 100 email surveys a week to build a clearer picture of your ideal customers.
- Explore marketing alternatives. Marketing is a huge challenge for most small businesses. These days, successful marketing looks a lot different than it did just five years ago. Is your business using the most effective and up-to-date marketing tools? Maybe it’s time to reexamine your marketing strategies. Online marketing, using blogs and social media, is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. If your business’ online marketing isn’t where you want it to be, set a short-term goal to do something about it. Create a goal to post at least once on social media each day, or commit to writing and distributing a monthly newsletter to your customers.
- Introduce additional technology. Technology is a great time-saver and critical component for any business. However, many small companies are still apprehensive about it. Set a short-term goal to learn as much as possible about the new technologies that could benefit your business. Then, set short-term goals to incorporate them.
- Set several small goals to show employee appreciation. You can’t run your business without a great staff. Isn’t it about time you showed your employees how much they mean to you? Get to know each one of them. Spend time talking to them, not just about business, but about their lives in general (and share some info about yours). This is a way to show that you see them as more than just employees. Organize a company-wide appreciation event each month. It can be as simple as a pizza party, or as extravagant as an employee family day at an amusement park (or football game!).