SMART Business Goals for the New Financial Year
The beginning of a new financial year is the SMART time to review your business goals and sharpen your focus on achieving them.
But you’re really busy, aren’t you? You don’t have time to spend noodling with business plans and goals. Well, that’s an understandable position to take, but you’re doing yourself no favours by adopting it.
Business goals can help you to grow your business and clarify and achieve your objectives. Even better, identifying and accessing them as a group exercise will motivate your team with a clear understanding of their roles and aims through those very goals.
You will already have a business plan and your goals will be part of that plan, so you may think you have already done that work. But as your business grows your goals may change and even if they don’t, they can be lost in the misty annals of time. Can you clearly recall what they are and how you planned to achieve them?
Time to Review Those Goals
Yes, it’s time to dust them off and review them. Are they still relevant? What will you keep and what will you review? This stage is when you need to take as broad a view as possible. Be honest, what are your goals? 5 new customers this quarter/year? Increased productivity? Cross sell new products to 20% of existing clients by June 30th? Work remotely from a South Pacific beach? Whatever they are, get them down on paper and define the list. Knowing what your ultimate goals are will inform your decisions along the way, assuring that each one is heading towards the right direction. For instance, a business that exists to expand and invest in its future, is very different from a business that an owner is planning on selling on in 5 years’ time.
Great stuff! Those goals have been reasserted, you’ve renewed your pledge now you want to get on with doing it. But huge goals are hard to reach, you and your team will stay more focussed if you can break them down into milestones.
- Describe each goal clearly and understand why you need or want to reach it.
- Give them deadlines.
- Set the parameters for measuring success and make sure they are ambitious, but realistic.
- Identify resources required.
- Assign ownership.
- Brainstorm approaches and review regularly.
This is basically the SMART approach. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based.
By doing this you make the steps to the larger goal real and tangible. Not only will this make them easier to achieve, but it will boost morale when you can celebrate little successes along the way.
Using cloud accounting software, like Xero, can help you do this more easily. Reliable and up to date financial information will assist in accurately measuring things like your profit margins and cash flow. And you accountant or adviser can assist you in analysing the numbers and what they mean for your ultimate goals.
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