One of the biggest downfalls of many businesses that under-achieve or fail, is a lack of clear goals and objectives.

I often think it is rather like deciding you want to be super fit and healthy, but having no real plan in place for how you are going to get that toned, lean body you’re after. You have the odd fitness spurt, cut out alcohol and cram your fridge with yummy fruit and veg…but in the absence of defined, measurable goals (what is ‘fit and healthy’ exactly?), old habits sneak back in, your good efforts start to unravel and you end up right back where you started (again!).

The same is true of business. Without defined goals and objectives, your business journey will be a bumpy ride with lots of wrong turns, wasted effort and missed opportunities. The net result being a negative impact on your profits and business growth (and of course, your stress levels!).

Business goals drive your marketing plan

Business goals play a vital role in shaping your marketing activities. Having clear defined business goals in place will help you to make important decisions about marketing budget allocation, plan your time efficiently and keep you focused on your key areas of potential growth.

Without goals, you run the risk of being pulled in multiple directions, taking a reactive rather than proactive approach to your marketing activities (which is never a recipe for success!) and will be highly unlikely to achieve your full growth and business potential.

To help you with your planning, we share three simple steps to setting your business goals.

Let’s get started

Firstly, you need to schedule some uninterrupted time in your diary to plan your business goals for the next 12 months. Your goals should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Time-specific. Then follow these steps as you work through the goal-setting process:

Step 1: Start with your main goal:

This is your biggest goal. What is it that you are looking to accomplish in your business in the next 12 months? This goal is usually financially focused – e.g., the level of sales you are hoping to achieve.

Here are some examples of what this goal might look like:

“I/we want to increase our annual turnover of children’s clothing from £50,000 to £75,000 in the next 12 months, with at least £15,000 of this increase to be achieved from the launch of new product lines”.

“In my second year as a freelance copywriter, I want to generate an income of £30,000. To achieve this, I need a minimum of 20 retained clients, each spending £1,500 per year’.

“I/we want to double our sales of our bespoke home-office furniture in the next 12 months. In order to achieve this goal we must attain 50 new customers this year”.

Make a note of your main goal. Sense check it – is it a SMART goal?

Step 2: Identify your core objectives that will support this goal:

Now you need to note down your smaller objectives. From increasing your average customer spend to driving online traffic to your website, these smaller objectives will all add up to help you reach your main business goal.

Here are some examples of what your smaller objectives might look like:

“This year, we will launch three new product ranges that appeal to our target market, each supported by a focused marketing campaign”.

“This year, I will start a monthly e-newsletter campaign to establish regular communication with my lapsed and existing clients”.

“This year we aim to Increase our average customer spend from £50 to £75”.

“This year we aim to increase our website conversions from 1% to 3%”.

Step 3: Review, assess and stay focused:

Make sure that you refer back to your goal and supporting objectives at regular intervals during the year. Review and assess how things are tracking. Are you on track to achieve your main goal or do some adjustments need to be made to your marketing activities? Perhaps something outside of your control has hampered your plans and corrective action needs to be taken. Or maybe you’ve had greater success than planned and can afford to invest additional funds into your marketing activities.

Final thoughts

Remember not to let your carefully crafted goals sit gathering dust. Keep them at the forefront of everything that you do and use them to guide the marketing decisions you make.

Printing out this section of your marketing plan and posting your goals on your office wall is a great way to make you feel accountable and inspired to stay on track. Simple yet effective!

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