Goal setting is not something I have always been good at. When developing software, I always try to fail fast. The earlier you find the failure, the earlier you can adjust and recover. Business is no different, and the absence of setting goals was an early failure of mine. Just like in software, I changed and recovered. Goal setting is now a critical part of running Fanzoo. In this article, I will share four tips for setting business goals.
Start Long Term
I am not dogmatic. I do not know what big means for you. For me, it means ten years. When I look back on my career, ten years is a long time. A lot has changed. That means you cannot predict where you will be in 10 years. This exercise is as much about defining what you want as it is a goal. This goal is the vision and will set the target. At Fanzoo, there are two fundamental values that we must always maintain:
- Employee quality of life
When we set our 10-year goal, we think about those values and then consider where we want to be in 10 years. A 10-year goal is so far away that it needs to be simple and something challenging. For us, this goal is to quadruple revenue while diversifying the client base, so no client makes up more than 20%.
How Do You Get There?
Once you know where you want to go, you must figure out what it will take to get there. I think it is essential to look at a time frame that is more predictable than ten years at this point. Three seems reasonable to me. Then you must ask, “To hit our big goal, what would our company look like in three years?” These goals should be concrete. Something you can measure. Here are some examples:
- Progressive annual revenue growth by 10%, 11%, 12%
- Maintain a team member quality of life satisfaction rating of 95%
- Diversify by progressively bringing on 2, 4, 6 new clients each year.
You Are Getting Closer
Three years is still so far away. It is hard to translate that into real, actionable tasks that will get you any closer to your big goal. Once our three-year goals are set, we narrow down to what we want to focus on this year only. These goals are more strategic. Something that you can act on. Here are some examples:
- Implement a marketing plan that will generate at least 20 new leads per year.
- Convert at least two leads.
- Implement a system for measuring employee satisfaction.
Goals are great, but if you do not figure out how you will hit them, they are just words. At Fanzoo, we meet as a team every quarter to review our one-year goals, examine issues that have come up, and define tasks for every team member to help us achieve them. These should be as specific as you can get and assigned to individuals on your team. Here are some examples:
- Select a partner to implement a marketing plan – Jeff Fansler
- Generate at least five leads – Jeff Fansler
- Review delivery process and identify the best role to hire for – Jeff Hubbell
- Hire a new team member – Bill Wheelock
There is No Stone
This world is fluid. There is a lot of grays. These goals are not “set in stone.” If the current COVID pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we cannot control our world. We must be ready to adapt and change. Here is the one dogmatic piece of advice I will end with. Listen to those around you, and be prepared to adapt and grow together.
Credit Where Credit is Due
There are so many books out there on how to build a successful business. I have read many. They all have good ideas and typically prescribe to have THE answer. None of them have THE answer, and I pull ideas from a lot of them. When it comes to goal setting, I found “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business” by Gino Wickman helpful, and a lot of ideas are better explained in that book.
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