You may have created your business goals at the start of the financial year, but when did you last review your progress? More importantly, when did you last review your business goals to ensure they were still relevant and aligned with your business direction?

While business goals might seem like an annual task, there are many benefits to regularly reviewing your goals and tracking your progress.

To help you create more effective business goals, here are tips, tricks and insights direct from our business advisory team.

Why create business goals?

Business goals can be short or long term and are targets for a set period of time. Just like any life goal, business goals can give you direction, help you track company progress, and also keep you and your team accountable.

“Whether your goals are specific growth goals or they are small and more practical, they play an important role in your success,” said Business Advisor John Pititto.

“They help drive change, provide clear direction, and helps get all those ideas out of your head and onto ‘paper’. It also keeps you focused, directing where you should spend your time, resources and energy.”

Benefits of business goals

As well as providing direction, business goals can help you:

  • Define what success looks like
  • Keep aligned and focused as a team
  • Make more informed business decisions over the long and short term
  • Create accountability across your business

Wishes vs goal setting

It’s important to make sure your business goals are specific and achievable as well as documented and broken down into definite actions to get there. If they’re not, they’re simply wishes and you can’t commit to them.

While ‘I want a happy, healthy and growing business’ might seem like a great aspiration, it isn’t specific. Your goals should also be linked to your strategic business plan.

“Creating proper goals linked to where you want to take your business next – and writing them down – not only helps shape what actions you need to take, it also keeps you accountable,” said John.

But creating goals on a slip of paper and putting them in the draw or leaving them in a document file until the year ends, won’t get you where you need to go.

“While documenting your goals is essential, sometimes we aren’t good at keeping ourselves on track or truly accountable. Sharing your goals with someone you trust or working with a business advisor can really help. We’ll check in on progress, keep you accountable, and help you keep focused. Plus, give you advise to get back on track or deal with challenges as they arise.”

How often should you review your business goals?

Contrary to popular belief, business goals should be regularly reviewed. A lot can change in a business, even month to month. In today’s fast-paced business world, your business goals might lose relevancy quickly or need to be adjusted regularly to help you maintain momentum.

“While reviewing your goals quarterly is a great start, using real-time data and insights can monitor your progress, identify if you’re going to exceed or perform below expectations,” said Business Advisor Shaun Borg.

“Regular reviews also uncover potential risks and challenges early, giving you ample opportunity to put strategies in place to get you back on track before they derail your business.”

Other triggers that it might be time to review your goals include:

  • If you’re not making progress or are consistently falling behind
  • Your business, industry or market experiences a major change
  • You have already exceeded your goal
  • You introduce a new product or offering
  • You’re considering a new direction, business venture or acquiring another business
  • You make changes to your business plan or strategy
  • KPIs or targets are changed

“We review our client’s business goals each time we meet to ensure they are still relevant to where they want to go, aren’t contradicting new directions or outcomes, and no adjustments need to be made based on performance,” said Shaun.

Not sure if your goals are right for you or if they need to be adapted? Our business improvement program can help you identify risks, create a better goal structure, and give you an action plan to reach your goals.

How to create more effective, strategic business goals

Set realistic – SMART – goals

SMART goals help you create more specific and measurable goals and avoid you falling into the ‘wish’ territory. To create SMART goals, they should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achieveable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

The last point is essential, creating a line in the sand and giving yourself a deadline to reach.

Use financial, industry and competitor insights

This gives you a clearer picture and provides more direction and allows you to set more realistic targets. Using real-time financial data can also provide more insight into where you are today and better define success.

Using industry and competitor insights can help you make more strategic decisions, create goals that give you a better competitive edge, allows you to measure against industry benchmarks, and reduces potential risks.

Regularly check-in and review progress

Not only will you be able to keep yourself more accountable but also:

  • Give yourself time to make strategic changes
  • Put new strategies in place to help you reach your goals in time
  • Identify key risks, roadblocks and challenges that could impact outcomes
  • Make corrections for unexpected economic,  industry or business impacts

Meeting with a mentor or business advisor can also provide you with key feedback, insights and knowledge you need to make more informed and effective decisions.

Set up reporting and benchmarking before you get started

It can be hard to define progress if you don’t know where you started or what is an industry standard. That’s why setting up the required reports and benchmarks you need to measure your progress before you make changes is essential. To do this, making sure your financial reports are up to date are key.

Have a non-financial goal? Make sure you work with your team on what measures, KPIs and actions define success as well as what data you need to collect to report progress.

Focus on actions, not the goal

While having a big-picture goal is great, how are you going to reach it and what does your team need to do to support it? Focusing on specific actions or tasks to get there will keep you focused and ensure progress. If you only focus on the goal at large, it can be overwhelming and unachievable.

This is where having a business improvement program can really help. Working with you, we can provide you with a detailed action plan, define who is responsible for each task, and keep you on track to ensure your goals are more manageable.


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