Running your own business is challenging work and you won’t always feel successful. You tackle a million tasks every single day—it’s hard not to switch to autopilot! How do you stay truly present so you can continue to grow? The trick to moving forward (and staying motivated) is strategic goal setting. When you have specific goals in mind, the purpose of your role is reinvigorated!
What Is Strategic Goal Setting?
A strategic goal is usually based on some sort of data markers or specific metrics. Strategic goal setting forces you to be present in the workflow and acknowledge what is and isn’t working.
You must be able to measure your success when you achieve a strategic goal!
The following examples are strategic because they have clear qualifications for achievement:
- I want my ROI to increase 15% after this current cycle.
- My goal is to expand my social media following on Instagram by 50% this quarter.
- This marketing campaign needs to double our potential client pool for next year.
Strategic goals can be pretty straightforward or involve multiple levels of engagement. You need to consider a timeframe, team involvement, dollar investment, and exact data markers in order to design an optimal plan!
Goal over goal, you will see a noticeable difference in how fast your business grows with strategic goal setting.
10 Strategic Goal Setting Tips
Strategic goal setting sounds like a hassle at first, but it’s fairly simple and truly beneficial. Take a look at these ten goal-setting tips to help you with your business, no matter your niche!
Motivation Is Key
Choose goals that will keep you (and your team) interested. Odds are you have a handful of improvements that need to be addressed (don’t we all?), but only some will be interesting and exciting to tackle. Choose those whenever you can!
Of course, there will come times when you have to set goals that are less exciting (like aiming to spend 15% less on marketing this quarter). In those instances, it’s important to use positive framing and keep things interesting for yourself and your team.
Pro tip: Games or friendly internal competitions go a long way to spark motivation when a goal is otherwise boring.
Related: How To Get Organized In Your Business and Achieve Your Big Goals
Know That Strategic Goal Setting is SMART
Use the SMART acronym whenever you’re setting a strategic goal. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-focused.
Even if you think your goals are specific, you can’t be sure until you apply SMART! Goals that address each category are more likely to drive an impact and are far easier to track and measure than goals set without it.
Try a SWOT Analysis to Determine Your Goals
SWOT is another great acronym for strategic goal setting. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats are four factors that help steer your goal-making process.
Unlike SMART, SWOT helps you to consider inside and outside influences on your goals to know if your timing is right. For example, even if you fill out all of the necessary criteria for SMART when setting your goal, you might decide against it after weighing SWOT influences.
Break it Down Into Small Steps
Be sure to visualize your goals and jot down some notes as you realize the steps involved. It does you little good to envision yourself at the finish line without acknowledging the different obstacles headed your way beforehand.
Think of the steps leading up to your ultimate goal as “mini goals.” It never hurts to give yourself more reasons to celebrate as you accomplish each step of your process.
Create a Specific and Realistic Timeline
When you evaluate your list of things to accomplish for your business, some can be done instantaneously (like purchasing and setting up new tech) while others require months or years to finish.
Be sure to understand the difference and give yourself and your team realistic deadlines for your goals. Strategic goal setting only works if your parameters are realistic and achievable.
Ask Trusted Team Members for Input On Strategic Goal Setting For Your Business
Some of your business goals require an outside look. That’s what teammates are for! You should leverage their expertise (both professional and personal) to ensure your goals are realistic and sensical.
For example, strategic goal setting around your target audience requires multiple opinions. You may want to engage the over-50 population, LGBTQIA+ community, or neighborhood dog owners with your marketing campaign. If you aren’t part of the groups you’re channeling, you’ll definitely need help! (And you should ask for it even if you think you don’t need it.)
Write Down Specific Goals
What’s a goal without a pen and paper? Not very effective in my book (or any book… because you didn’t write it down)! Any time you take part in strategic goal setting, write or type your plans to make them more real.
Written goals are easier to revisit and easier to stay accountable to than those that exist only in your head. It’s especially helpful to write your goals when communicating them to your business team. Everyone can stay aligned and united with clear goals on display.
Take Breaks When You Need Them
This might not be obvious, but when strategic goal setting, you need to leave room for air. Creating a heavy goal and with a short timeframe does the opposite of spark urgency. It can lead to burnout.
Think about it: Even if you’re someone with a ton of energy and passion working towards a goal, you still need time to eat lunch, exercise, and spend time with your family. Work-life balance is important, even during a big “push period.” You don’t want to be so overwhelmed by your goal that you give up on it.
Review Your Progress Regularly
Don’t fall into the trap of all work and no pats on the back. Check on your progress regularly if you want to meet your goals. Occasionally, you’ll need to adjust the track you’re on or make some subtle changes to improve your results. But how will you know unless you look?
It helps to leverage a data dashboard so you can check in on your business metrics any time you need them. After all, you don’t want “checking” to be the thing that slows you down on your way to reaching your goal.
Keep Yourself Accountable
Be honest with yourself if your plans aren’t going accordingly. The whole point of strategic goal setting is to create an outline of steps toward a concrete end. Allowing yourself to give up is the very last thing you want to do.
It helps to include your teammates (or even outside friends and family members) in your goals. That way other people can check in with you and hold you accountable to your plan. It may be challenging, but support helps!
Strategic goal setting is an extremely important part of running any business. No matter how busy you are keeping other balls in the air, it’s worthwhile to add specific goals to the mix! Measurable outcomes will ultimately be what makes your business reach its highest potential.
If one of your goals is to start landing more of your dream clients, you need to know how to create stunning, accurate proposals. Grab my Profitable Proposals resource to make it even easier.