Developing appropriate and insightful business objectives may seem like a lot of busy work, but can be critical to your company’s prosperity. Knowing where to begin, and how to go about it is just as important. When you choose the right goals and objectives, you’re helping your new business find its footing and keeping your stable business from getting lost.
Development starts with understanding that a goal must come first. A business goal encompasses both long-term and short-term ideas. The long-term ideas are the main goals that the entire business is striving for. Example: increase profits. Short-term ideas are your objectives and motivators. They keep you moving toward the long-term with a defined deadline. Example: increase profits by 3% within the next 18 months.
BusinessDictionary defines objectives as, “a specific result that a person or system aims to achieve within a time frame and with available resources.”
When writing the objectives for a specific goal, you’ll want to keep the S.M.A.R.T. rules in mind. According to Wayne State University, S.M.A.R.T. objectives are laid out as follows:
Specific- Your employees will have better luck achieving objectives when they know exactly what is being asked.
Measurable- An objective is measurable when it lays out exactly what will be achieved, and when. Using quantitative language can help, i.e. “We will meet our second-quarter sales goal within three weeks of the quarter’s end.”
Achievable- Ask yourself if the objective can be accomplished by your employees. Setting the bar at an unreasonable height can hinder motivation. If it seems like you are never moving closer, it will be hard to remember why you’re trying to attain it in the first place.
Relevant- You want all objectives to be applicable to where your business is at the time that you write them. It is not recommended to write objectives that have little to do with what your company is currently doing, and only what you wished it was doing.
Time-oriented- There needs to be a deadline for everything. Goals, objectives, action plans. Anything you put down on paper that your company hopes to accomplish, needs to have a specific end date. This keeps you on task and accountable.
The steps to start writing objectives are below.
Your first step to developing goals and objectives should always be collective brainstorming. Bringing together all the managers and employees who will be responsible for implementing the action plans created is vital to the success of the objectives and the motivation of your employees. Employees will be more likely to stay involved during implementation if they are involved during brainstorming.
Develop Action Plans
You’ll want to work with all the employees involved to pinpoint the specific objectives that apply to their position and develop action plans on how they will meet those objectives. An action plan can lay out the day-to-day tasks of each employee or department that bring the company closer to meeting their objectives, and then their goals.
Your goals may be for the entire company at large, but your objectives and action plans can be narrower. There should a separate set of objectives for each area of business just as there are specific action plans for the managers and employees. No area is too small to be included. Financial, management, production, they all need to know what’s supposed to be happening, and how they’re supposed to make it happen.
Keep It Dynamic
After you’ve chosen your objectives, and have written your action plans, you need to remember to keep an open mind on changing them. As the needs of your company develop with age, you may find that the original goals are no longer accurate. When the goals change, so do the objectives and action plans. Allowing your company to revisit goals and objectives when necessary enables more employee engagement and keeps the business on the right track.