Business goals are like air to most businesses. It keeps them focused and on the path. It’s so easy to get distracted in this hyper-competitive go-go world.
That’s why it’s even more important to have business goals that keep you from falling off the track.
Business goals are goals that a business anticipates accomplishing in a set period of time. You can set business goals for your company in general as well as for particular departments, employees, managers and/or customers. Goals typically represent a company’s larger purpose and work to establish an end-goal for employees to work toward. Business goals do not have to be specific or have clearly defined actions. Instead, business goals are broad outcomes that the company wishes to achieve.
Setting business goals are important for several reasons, including that they:
- Provide a way to measure success
- Keep all employees on the same page as to what the goals of the company are
- Give employees a clear understanding of how decision-making reaches company’s goals
- Ensure the company is headed in the right direction
Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples
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What are business objectives?
Business objectives are clearly defined and measurable steps that are taken to meet a company’s broader goals. Objectives are specific in nature and can be easily defined and kept track of. Companies must establish objectives to achieve their business goals.
Related: 10 Business Strategy Examples
Business goals vs. business objectives
The following are the differences between business goals and business objectives:
- Business goals define the “what” of a business’s purpose whereas business objectives define the “how.”
- Business goals typically only provide a general direction that a company will follow whereas business objectives clearly outline actionable steps.
- Business objectives are measurable whereas business goals generally are not.
- Business objectives are specific whereas business goals are more broad and all-encompassing.
- Business objectives typically have a set timeline whereas business goals do not.
How to set short-term business goals
Short-term business goals are typically goals that you want your company to achieve in a period of weeks or months. The following are steps you can take when setting short-term business goals:
1. Identify your company’s short-term business goals for a set period of time
The first step in setting short-term business goals is to figure out which goals you want to achieve in a set period of time. Many short-term goals are goals that further the achievement of long-term goals. Consider your long-term goals as well as what you want to accomplish in the next weeks or months and translate these into short-term goals that will propel your business forward.
2. Break down each goal into actionable business objectives
Next, you should break down each short-term goal into actionable objectives. These objectives should represent the steps your company will take to reach each goal. For example, if your goal is to get six new customers in the next month, your objectives will be the steps you will take to secure the business of six customers, such as putting a new ad in a newspaper and posting three times a week on social media.
3. Ensure your objectives are measurable
The business objectives you establish in the previous step need to be measurable. For example, if one of your objectives to reach a short-term goal is to post more on social media, don’t simply state “post more on social media” as a strategy. Instead, make the objective measurable by being as specific as possible. Using the above example, you could use “post on Instagram three times a week and Facebook two times a week for eight weeks.”
4. Assign goal-related tasks to employees
Once you have established the objectives for each short-term goal, assign each objective to an employee or team of employees who will see the objective through to completion.
5. Measure progress regularly
Regularly measure the progress of your short-term goals to ensure you are on track to meeting them in the time frame you established. For example, if you increase your social media posts to three times a week as part of a business goal, measure any increased customer/potential customer interaction you receive as a result. Keep track of the progress and adjust your objectives if needed to better meet your goals.
Related: Complete Guide to Setting Strategic Goals (With Examples)
Examples of short-term business goals
Here are a few examples of short-term business goals:
- Increase product prices by 3% over the next three months.
- Hire three new marketing employees over the next five months.
- Increase traffic on your company’s blog.
- Implement monthly giveaways for customers on social media.
- Begin an “Employee of the Month” award program.
- Select a charity to begin sponsoring.
- Create a profile on a new social media channel.
- Increase social media posting to three times a week.
Related: How to Set and Achieve Goals
How to set long-term business goals
In addition to the steps mentioned in the section on how to set short-term goals, you should also include these steps when creating long-term business goals:
1. Establish the goals you want to accomplish over the next 10 years
The first step to creating long-term business goals is to determine the goals you want to accomplish over the next several years. Many people find that setting goals 10 years out is sufficient; however, you can set goals as little as one year out or as far away as 20 years. Identify and write down as many goals as possible that you want your business to achieve in the time period you decide on.
2. Prioritize your long-term business goals
Many companies have several goals that they want to accomplish in the long-term. However, it’s difficult to focus on every goal at once. For this reason, it’s important to prioritize the goals that you want to focus on first and put your company resources into accomplishing those before moving onto other goals.
3. Break down each long-term goal into short-term objectives
Similar to how you break down short-term goals, you will also need to break down your long-term goals into actionable short-term objectives. For example, if your long-term goal is to increase your company’s overall brand awareness, you will need to break this down into short-term objectives that will ultimately help you accomplish the long-term goal. Examples of actionable objectives for the above goal would be to post to social media three times a week and collaborate with social media influencers on a monthly basis.
4. Track your company’s long-term goals regularly
An important component of accomplishing long-term goals is tracking them on a regular basis. Because long-term goals can take an extended period of time to reach, it can be easy to forget about them or lose sight of the end goal. Keeping track of the progress being made towards each goal can ensure you’re on the right path to reaching these goals and enable you to make any adjustments when needed.
Examples of long-term business goals
The following are examples of long-term business goals:
- Increase the total income of your company by 10% over the next two years.
- Reduce production expenses by 5% over the next three years.
- Increase overall brand awareness.
- Increase your company’s share in its market.
- Open three new office locations throughout the United States.
- Hire 50 new employees nationwide.
- Develop and launch three new prod
An ecommerce company plans to reduce software licensing costs by $1.1 million by retiring a legacy system.A cafe has a goal to increase gross margins from 30% to 35% by introducing higher price menu items such as specialty coffees.An organic cereal company plans to reduce unit costs by 10% by directly purchasing several key ingredients from organic farmers.A snowboard manufacturer establishes a target of 10% market penetration with a pricing strategy designed to offer low prices to price sensitive customers.
A cloud platform seeks to reduce customer churn to 3% for small business customers by reducing bandwidth costs that are often cited by customers as the reason they are closing their account.A streaming music service has a goal to improve itsconversion rate for website visitors signing up for an account to 3% by accepting more payment methods.
A house builder has a goal to generate 400 leads for a new development project with advertising and the launch of a local sales office.A software company has a goal to improve itsproposal win rate to 50% by recruiting talented sales people.A cloud computing provider seeks to improve the value of a government contract to $66 million per year by providing value added services in areas such as security management.An information security company seeks to improve itsshare of wallet to 40% for large accounts by offering a line of infrastructure products.A software development company seeks to improve its average lines of code per day with a program that lets developers work from home three days a week if they meetproductivity and quality targets.
A bank seeks to improvement its data center infrastructure efficiency to 65% with a new cooling strategy. Data center infrastructure efficiency is the percentage of energy at a data center that is used for computing as opposed to other facility uses such as cooling.A bank that plans to improve thethroughput of a mortgage application process from 440 application reviews a day to 880.An ecommerce company targets improvement in thecycle time of order-to-delivery to an average of 47 hours.A product development initiative at a bank targets a 6 monthtime to market for a new mortgage product.An electronics firm targets atime to volume for an innovative new camera lens of one year and one million units.A solar panel company seeks to improve its cost per watt to $0.29 with new designs and manufacturing methods.
A manufacturer of ceiling fans plans to diversify its product line with a number of lighting products with a target to generate 25% of revenue from the new product line within 3 years.A telecom company targets acustomer satisfaction rate of 55% from 35% by removing unpopular contract terms.
A hotel seeks to improve its ratings on a popular travel site from 3.2 to 4.0 by addressing the top 3 complaints in reviews with new services and policies such as a later check out time and cheaper flat rate parking prices.A brand of coffee targets 1 millionloyal customers with a plan to aggressivelyposition their product as the cheapest high quality organic coffee on the shelves.A software platform plans to fix several bugs and remove unpopular features to improve monthlychurn rate from 4% to 2%.A dentist advertises their clinic all over town with a target of achieving 20%top of mind brand recognition for local dentists.A technology firm does arebranding and promotional campaign to break its association with a legacy technology and establish an more modernbrand image. The goal is forbrand recallof 30% for the produce categorysoftware as a service.An insurance company seeks to improve new employee satisfaction to 80% with a more extensiveonboarding process.A restaurant owner seeks to improve one yearemployee retention to 80% by offering more consistent and predictable shift scheduling.A graphic design company seeks to improveemployee performance with a series of training workshops. They will measure performance improvement in terms of client satisfaction with a target of 90%.A factory is expanding from two production lines to three with a targetreturn on investment of 1400%.A telecom company builds a new data center with a goal to achievepayback within 4 years.
A hotel is investing in room renovations to improve customer satisfaction and ranking of the hotel on travel sites. The goal is to improve its occupancy rate to 94% and average price per night to $200.An ecommerce site targetsuptime of 99.99% with architecture and infrastructure upgrades.
A fashion brand redesigns its website with a target of a 3 second average load time.A streaming media service seeks to improve its average user engagement to 11 hours a month by introducing new children’s shows.A telecom service provider targets amean time to repair of 35 minutes.
A manufacturer of men’s shirts has a goal to reduce returns from 18% to 5% by improving thequality of materials to produce shirts that are more opaque and less likely to wrinkle.An airline plans to measurerisk probability andrisk impact for its legacy IT systems and reduce that risk by $4 million over five years with modernization projects.
A fashion brand plans to improve positive perceptions of its brand by switching to 100% sustainable materials that are responsibly sourced, have low environmental impact and are renewable. via 41 Examples of Business Goals – Simplicable