Goal Setting

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When you are buying a business, it is very important to plan and set goals so you know where you are going and know when you get there. They will show you what direction you need to be going and measure your progress along the way.  Although we may not be able to control some factors, we can control our ability to set goals and work toward achieving them.

Goals should be written, specific, measurable and achievable in order to be effective. Writing clarifies goals and helps you edit, and writing down a goal puts you closer to achieving it.  Under each goal, you can include objectives or action plans to describe how you plan to meet the goal.  Long-term goals should specify what you want to accomplish in a few years, while short-term goals are usually for one year.  Review and set goals each year to determine if you are achieving what you need to do to reach your long-term goals.  Be realistic in writing your short-term goals, as you want to be able to achieve them.

Some benefits of goal setting are they help clarify values, ease decision making, pinpoint where you are now, save time, and build self-confidence.  When your employees see how organized you are, they realize you have a plan for what you ask them to do.  Even more important for you is your ease of running your business and the confidence you have in your decisions.  After you get started, depending on your type of business, you may wish to have your employees write their personal goals to help complete the goals of the business. They would be able to see the big picture, as you go through their goals in your annual review.   Setting goals jointly with employees often enhances commitment to the goals.  That is, if the employees are involved in the setting of the goals, they are likely to feel more of a share of ownership of the goals.  Participation in goal setting increases commitment to the goals; and specific, difficult goals, if accepted, are better than general or easy goals.  

Rewards are a good incentive for goal attainment.  If possible, give some significant rewards for goal attainment, either in the form of recognition, money, or time off.  The point is that goal setting, if done right, can be an important way to motivate people.  

As mentioned earlier, objectives are how you will complete your goals.  The guidelines for effectively written objectives are that they are reasonable and attainable, require improvement for growth, change from year to year, and are measurable.  Remember to write goals and objectives that are challenging but attainable.

Listed here are four suggestions to help you write objectives:

1. Start with an action verb.
2. Identify simple or key results for each objective.
3. Give yourself a deadline or completion date to measure each objective.
4. Avoid business jargon and use clear, concise language.

Here is an example of a written objective in simple language that starts with an action verb, identifies key results, and gives a completion date:  

"We will reduce operating expenses in each department from 4% of sales to 3% of sales by December 31, 2017, without reducing staff or without lowering existing levels of customer service".

Actually, we know quite a lot about goal setting.  We know that specific goals work better than general goals.  It is better to tell employees how many sales are expected each month than to just say, “do your best.”  We also know that difficult goals result in greater motivation than easy goals.  If 15 sales a month is average, then setting a goal of 17 a month is more likely to get higher sales than setting a goal of 15 a month.  Obviously, we cannot simply set outrageous goals.  For goals to work they have to be seen as reasonable and they have to be accepted.

Although goal-setting in itself is not time consuming, most people do not allow sufficient time to set goals.  Have a positive attitude and write goals that are specific and measurable.  Every time you complete a goal, think about the next goal.  You will find it well worth your effort.

  • Author: Pat Jones
  • Title: President/Owner - Business Broker
  • Company: Pat Jones Business Brokers
  • Company Website: http://www.patjones.biz/
  • Date: August 17, 2017
  • Category: Buying a Franchise or Business
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