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Turning your growth aspirations into SMART goals

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Does your business have a growth strategy and defined growth goals in place?

Many businesses aspire to growth, but not all of these set growth objectives and monitor their progress against these targets. Without doing so a business can lack purpose and direction – making it even harder to deliver sustainable growth.

So how do you set growth goals for your business? Firstly all goals need to follow a few rules when they are made. There is nothing wrong with having big dreams or wanting things to change but making it happen can be problematic. So let’s start with the time honoured SMART approach to goal setting.

As an example let’s say we want to double our income.

The first step is to be specific. If your goal is to double your income put some figures down and make them stick. You need to ask yourself some questions about this because there are differences between net and gross income and you don’t want your doubled income to float away into taxes or overheads so this specific goal should be related to how much money goes into the business as net profit. So a specific goal might be “make my company more profitable by taking our net income from £60,000 to £120,000 by year end”.

The second step is to be measurable. Make sure that the criteria for success is concrete and that you can stay on track by splitting the year into quarters for example and that reaching your goal is measured along the way as well as at the end. Think about how you will recognise that the goal has been achieved, what you will see as a result and what you will hear. So a measurable goal might be “make £120,000 net income by year end and ensure that £30,000 comes in each quarter.”

The third step is to make the goal achievable. Start to think about what you need in order to get there. To increase your income do you need new clients, better processes, skills, new products etc? Consider the part you play in making things happen and also that of others who may help along the way.

The fourth step is to make the goal realistic and this means thinking about whether or not you can achieve it. If you set your goal as going from a loss to a profit of over a million in one year when you have no new clients and the economy is in a downturn you not likely to succeed.

Lastly make your goals timely. Ensure that they have a time scale and that it is set so that each step takes you towards that accomplishment. Year end is a good one for business and dividing the year into financial quarters is also helpful. Unless there is a timescale you can put things off.

Working with a business mentor can help you to set goals that are achievable and then to underpin them with an implementation plan – because they are successful entrepreneurs who have already been there and done it in their own business so they can act as a sounding board for your ideas and share their experience with you.

 

Find out more

Boost Business Lancashire offers a growth mentoring programme matching business owners with  experienced entrepreneurs. To apply for a place on the programme, complete our online form or call 0800 488 0057.

Author

Jane Houghton-Fenning, Business Development Director, Community & Business Partners.

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