In case you missed it, summer is over. Fall is well underway, and the end of the year is just around the corner. It’s a great time to be thinking about your business plan for the coming year.We know that having a solid plan is the recipe for success in just about anything, and the first step should always be determining where you want that plan to take you. Establishing goals for your firm provides you with direction and inspiration. When you have clearly articulated objectives, everyone understands where you’re headed and how you’ll get there.
With just a couple of months left in 2016, you can gather relevant data, evaluate your progress, eliminate or adjust plans that haven’t worked, and generate goals and objectives for the coming year. Preparing your business plan now ensures that your goals are well formulated. It allows you to get right to work in January on meaningful, coordinated tasks that will trigger growth.
Still, we sometimes don’t take the time to move beyond broad, intangible goals like “add more clients.” This sort of vague idea is anything but inspiring, and worse, it’s impossible to judge whether you’re making progress toward it. To generate some meaningful business goals that can truly fuel significant growth in 2017, follow the SMART process.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. When you use these terms in developing goals, your business plan practically writes itself. Let’s unpack these five ideas and take a look at how they can help you create your best plan ever.
Goals should be very focused. Be specific: name dollar amounts and numbers. Instead of writing: ‘lease more office buildings,” try “lease 4 office properties at rents 3% higher than 2016 rates.” This type of goal is more powerful because it is focused.
No one wants to watch a game where they’re not keeping score, right? There’s no interest. The same hold true for goals, so they should include specific numbers that can be identified and monitored as progress is being made –a powerful motivator.
Nothing is more discouraging than the feeling that you’re being asked to do the impossible. Goals should be realistic and attainable; success happens one step at a time.
Base your goals on the realities around you. The overall economy and local market conditions should be considered as you formulate your goals for the year. Set goals that work in the world you’re in.
Goals work best when they’re not open-ended. This goes along with specificity. Include a timeframe for achieving the goal. Include milestones along the way. This provides encouragement or alerts you to the need to adjust your plan.
Well-formulated goals help your firm to focus its energy and make documented progress. If you exceed your goals, all the better. Your team can see the payoffs for their efforts and will likely be spurred on to further successes. This can become a tremendous engine for growth