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Setting business goals: The first step to a successful business

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Business goals are a predetermined target that a business or individual plans to achieve in a set period of time. This article discusses the importance of business goals and reasons why you should set them for your team.

These are just a few benefits the goal setting process provides. Whether you're looking at the big picture or looking for small stepping stones, we'll explain everything you need to know to set goals for your business.

What are business goals?

Business goals are a predetermined target that a business or individual plans to achieve in a set period of time. These goals are often split into short-term goals and long-term goals . Business goals can be general and high level, or they can focus on specific measurable actions. 

A good example of a general business goal is a mission statement. Missions statements are a general goal because they don't have one metric that defines their success. They’re more often used as a guiding North Star—something your team can strive for as opposed to hitting hard numbers.

Alternatively, you can set specific goals—measurable goals that are easy to track as your team progresses towards them. When someone talks about "setting goals" or the "goal setting process," they're talking about specific goals. A common goal setting process to use is the SMART goals process .

Short-term goals

Short-term goals are often bound by a set period of time, usually ranging from a few hours to a full year. Long-term goals can also be time-bound, but if they are, they’re typically set further into the future. 

Short-term goals are often used as building blocks towards larger goals. A common strategy in business is to set multiple short-term goals to make the long-term goals more achievable.

Examples of short-term business goals:

Increase net promoter score by 10 points this quarter.

Hire 12 new support representatives by the end of the year.

Increase employee satisfaction by 20%.

Long-term goals

Long-term goals are bigger visions—goals you want to achieve further into the future. A common long-term goal is a 10-year goal. Think about where you want your business to be 10 years from now. What business objectives do you want to have achieved by then? What new businesses do you want to break into, if any? 

Long-term goals are often used as vision or mission statements —these goals serve as a compass for your business to help you move in the right direction. Think of your goals as a map to get you where you want to go. Long-term goals may not tell you how to get there exactly, but they point you in the right direction. Short-term goals are like a GPS. They provide step-by-step directions on how to get where you want to go. 

Examples of long-term business goals:

Nike : To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.

Patagonia : We're in business to save our home planet.

Google : To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Why are business goals important?

Setting business goals is a best practice for a reason—goals help drive businesses in the right direction. Here are a few more reasons why companies take the time to establish strong goals. 

Confidently define success

One of the easiest ways to know if your team is successful is by clearly outlining what success looks like. When you set your goals, take into consideration what you know your team is capable of, and push them slightly farther than expected.

There are a few common frameworks used to define goals. One of the most common ones used to create measurable and actionable goals is the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) framework.

Connect work to goals

A good business strategy to get into the habit of doing is connecting your business goals to the work your team is already doing. When you connect daily work to short- and long-term goals, individual team members have a clear sense of what they need to do, when they need to complete it, and the strategies they're doing to achieve those goals. 

Not only are team members more confident in what they need to do, but it gives them a sense of pride and ownership over their work. Team members are confident in how the work they’re doing impacts your business and how they’ve contributed to that success.

Keep teams aligned

A key benefit of using business goals is to align teams towards a common goal. Establishing clear business objectives allows team leaders to define which tactics their individual teams should use to achieve these goals. 

For example, imagine your company's overall business goal is to increase profitability by 10%. This is an overarching goal, but there are many different ways your company can achieve this. By establishing smaller, more tailored goals, business leaders can define the specific strategy you plan to take to achieve this goal. Your sales team may increase their sales quota, and your marketing team may implement a new outreach strategy. These are two different tactics that can be implemented to ultimately reach the same goal.

Maintain accountability

Once you set business goals, you can then break them down to the individual level. Using a technique like this can help maintain accountability from the leadership level all the way down to individual team members. When individual team members are responsible for their individual goals, it's easy for managers to gauge how they're performing and when they might need more support. 

Inform decision-making

If your company regularly tracks its business goals, you can use past goals as a way to inform your decision making process. For example, if your team sets up a new marketing strategy to track your goals and progress, you can use that information to set your business strategy for the next year based on performance.

Tips for setting clear business goals

Now that you know the reasons why business goals are important, here are a few tips on how to establish them.

Use a framework to set goals

If you're on the path to setting your first business goal, it can be challenging to figure out where to start. You want to make sure that your goal is achievable, but not so easy to achieve that it's not a challenge.  Goal setting frameworks like SMART goals or OKRs are a good way to establish your first set of business goals.

Co-create with other business leaders

Your team doesn't work in a bubble. The work that your team does can affect other teams in your company and your business strategy as a whole. This is why co-creating with stakeholders is important. By working together, your team can utilize their unique knowledge and experience to set goals and create a sound business plan.

Start with the big picture

When you're establishing your goals, choosing numbers and tactics can feel overwhelming. To prevent that, start with the big picture first. Focus on answering the questions:

What do you want your company to stand for? 

Why was your company created? 

Where do you want to be in 10 years? What about 25 years? 

Once you’ve defined a big picture mission, break it down into smaller, more actionable goals. What steps can you take to get there? What new products can you introduce to help achieve that overall, big picture mission? 

With goal setting, there is no right or wrong answer. It's all about finding the strategies and methodologies that work best for your team.

Manage goals using software

There's no use in setting goals if you set them and forget them in a document somewhere, only to be opened again at the end of a quarter. Using software to regularly track goal progress is important, and what better way to do that than to use software that connects your goals to the work that needs to be done? 

Connecting the work you’re doing to goals is easy. Guru aligns their company OKRs to their projects with Asana. The Guru team uses Asana as a source of truth for clarity and accountability company-wide.

Start setting—and achieving—business goals today

All businesses start small, and setting goals is how they grow into successful companies. If you're interested in learning more about different goal strategies, how to measure them, or where to start with planning, visit the Asana goals resource page for more information.

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Set Goals and Objectives in Your Business Plan

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Well-chosen goals and objectives point a new business in the right direction and keep an established company on the right track. Just think about what football would be without end zones or what the Indianapolis 500 would be without a finish line.

When establishing goals and objectives, try to involve everyone who will have the responsibility of achieving those goals and objectives after you lay them out.

To help you better understand how you can set goals and objectives, you first need a good foundation for what the two are.

Goals establish where you intend to go and tell you when you get there. They help improve your overall effectiveness as a company — whether you want to increase your share of the market, for example, or improve your customer service. The more carefully you define your goals, the more likely you are to do the right things and achieve what you wanted to accomplish in the first place.

Objectives are the specific steps you and your company need to take in order to reach each of your goals. They specify what you must do — and when.

Think of goals and objectives this way:

Goals tell you where you want to go; objectives tell you exactly how to get there.

Goals can increase your effectiveness; objectives back your goals and make you more efficient.

Goals are typically described in words; objectives often come with numbers and specific dates.

Suppose that your goal is to double the number of people using your web-conferencing service. Your objectives may be as follows:

Gain awareness by placing print ads in four regional markets and by airing radio ads in two major markets (by June 10)

Attract first-time customers by offering an online giveaway of $1,000 (by June 1)

Cultivate prospects by implementing a permission-based weekly e-mail to 2,500 targeted contacts (by July 10)

Convert 10 percent of prospects to clients, using e-mail reminders (beginning July 25)

Together, goals and objectives form the road map for your company’s future. Without them, you risk making wrong turns and wasting precious energy.

Approach #1: Tie goals to your mission

The first approach to specifying goals and objectives begins with a review of your company’s mission statement. Using key phrases from your mission statement to define your major goals leads into a series of specific business objectives.

The connections between goals and your mission are easy to visualize if you use a flowchart. Key phrases in the mission statement lead to major goals, which lead to specific business objectives.


If your mission statement doesn’t suggest a list of goals, you may want to reevaluate it to see whether it really captures what your business is all about.

Make sure your goals are always measurable. By establishing metrics goals, you can gauge your progress and recognize immediately when your efforts are going off track.

Approach #2: Use goal-setting ACES

Most goals define positive outcomes that you want your business to achieve, but sometimes you also want to set goals to avoid pitfalls and to eliminate a few weaknesses. To help develop goals that cover all the bases, use the acronym ACES as you tick through the following key questions:

A chieve: What do you want to attain in the future?

C onserve: What do you want to hang on to?

E liminate: What do you want to get rid of?

S teer clear: What do you want to avoid?


Approach #3: Cover all the bases

One more way to think about business goals is to consider each of the four categories into which most goals fall:

Day-to-day work goals are directed at increasing your company’s everyday effectiveness. They may involve things like order tracking, office management, or customer follow-up. As a start, name at least one change that you can make in your day-to-day operations that will make a difference in your overall effectiveness. Write it down in the form of a business goal.

Problem-solving goals address specific challenges that confront your business, such as low employee morale or quality of service issues. List the two biggest problems that face your company, and then write goals that can solve them.

Development goals encourage the acquisition of new skills and expertise, whether for your employees or for yourself, and whether you run a large company or operate as a freelancer or an independent contractor. So, how about formulating at least one development goal for yourself or your company?

Innovation goals help you find new ways to improve the following: the products or services that your company offers, how you market your company, and how you distribute and deliver what your company sells. Can you identify any innovative approaches that could make your business more effective in the future? If so, formulate an appropriate goal.

Profitability goals set your sights on where you want your bottom line to be. When all is said and done, profit is the No. 1 goal for profit-making companies. For nonprofit companies, this goal may take the form of how many dollars in contributions you plan to raise or a goal for increasing the company’s endowment.


Make final choices

The three goal-setting approaches lead to a respectable list of goals — maybe more goals than is practical for one business plan. Select the five goals that you think are absolutely, positively essential to your business success.

After you decide on your list, fine-tune each goal, using these guidelines:

Keep each goal clear and simple.

Be specific.

Be realistic.

Don’t be afraid to push yourself and think big.

Make sure that your goals are in sync with your mission.

About This Article

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How to Set Clear and Actionable Goals for Your Business

setting clear goals for your business

As you look back over this year, how happy are you with your business’s performance? Are you patting yourself on the back, having nailed every goal? Smiling as you look over your long list of milestones achieved ? Resting on your laurels?

If the answer is no, then you’re like many business owners who have trouble hitting their business targets. You know exactly what you want—a bigger business, larger per-customer sales, more leads, higher profits—but you struggle to meet your goals.

At Phorest Salon Software , we provide advice to salon businesses on our blog, from setting targets, to financing, managing staff, marketing strategies, and more.

In this article, we’ll show you how to set clear, actionable goals for your business, and how to make the changes you need to power your way through them. Let’s make this the year you hit every business target you set.

get clear on your goals

1. Get clear on the goals you want to prioritize

One of the biggest challenges in any business is that everything needs to be done at the same time. You need to find new clients, keep your existing clients happy, manage your finances, streamline your processes, and motivate your employees—all at the same time.

When it comes to setting your big, overarching company goals for the year, you must know what your top priorities are.

A SWOT analysis is a fantastic way to be crystal clear about what needs to be addressed first. It analyzes your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Let’s take the example of a beauty salon. You sit down to do a SWOT analysis and identify the following:

example SWOT analysis

Now we can see how to use this SWOT analysis to set priorities. Don’t choose too many goals or you risk spreading yourself too thin.

Based on the SWOT analysis, pick three priorities to create goals for:

Please note: These aren’t actually goals yet! They are your key areas to focus on. After you’ve discussed them with your team—which we’ll cover next—you’ll be turning them into SMART goals (specific, measurable goals) to make sure that you’ll take action on them.

Check out our video on goal setting to see how to go about turning your dreams into reality!

YouTube video

2. Review these goals with your team

Every successful business owner knows that the people who work for you are your most valuable asset. This is never truer than when you are defining your business goals.

Your team is out there every day, working on your products or talking to clients. They are the people who can tell you what’s working and what’s not, what’s holding your business back, and where you should be focusing your efforts and setting your business goals for the year ahead.

So, once you’ve completed your SWOT analysis and selected what you think should be the top goals for your business, sit down with your employees and get their feedback.  They may agree, or they may have useful insights that you haven’t thought of.

reviewing goals

Even more importantly, involving your staff in the creation of your business strategy will motivate and inspire them to reach those goals.

As Dale Carnegie put it,

“People support a world they help create.”

By involving your employees in the goal-setting process, you make them feel valued and engaged, while at the same time making sure your goals are realistic and achievable.

3. Make your goals SMART

O.K., so you’ve decided on your three to five business goals. Now it’s time to develop them from the idea stage to the action stage, and create SMART goals :

setting smart business goals

Let’s take one of the salon business goals we decided on, and turn it into a SMART goal—say, for instance, our plan to increase our client base and revenue by creating targeted marketing for workers in the new office buildings.

4. Set your KPIs

Now that you’ve built your goals with your team and converted them into SMART goals, you need to think about implementing two aspects: measuring your goals and setting timelines.

Remember, as Bill Hewlett put it:

“You cannot manage what you cannot measure…and what gets measured gets done.”

The most common way of measuring whether or not you’re on track to achieve a business goal is to set KPIs .

KPIs (or “key performance indicators”) are numbers you can track that show if you are making progress with your goals or not. They are also great motivators. You’ll already have established the KPIs you need to measure when you’ve ensured your goals are SMART.

To take our example above, a KPI would be the number of new clients won from the office building (which means we’d need to make sure we have a way of keeping track of where our clients were coming from). We might also want to consider setting KPIs for how many flyers we hand out, how many calls we received as a result of the flyers, how much each new customer spent, and whether or not they came back to the salon.

You will also have different KPIs for the business as a whole, such as overall monthly sales targets, as well as setting individual KPIs for every staff member. We have encouraged our clients to set staff targets on the Phorest blog as an important way to motivate your staff to meet company goals.

Research suggests that companies that align individual goals to company objectives have a much higher rate of success.

In our salon example, our company goal is to increase our client base and revenue from a specific target market.

However, this goal might translate into different KPIs for an individual hairstylist, for instance:

Get the insights you need to make the right decisions. Track your business's financial performance with one simple tool. Get LivePlan

5. Build good business habits to help reach your goals

For a business owner, as in life, if you want to make something happen, you need to create a schedule and build good habits around it.

If you want to lose weight, you know you need to include exercise on your schedule, plan time to cook healthy meals, and so on. If you want to achieve your business goals, you need to think about them in the same way. The actions that will achieve those KPIs need to be scheduled.

Automate as much as possible. Use a calendar for both you and your staff, and add reminders. Use online to-do list software like ToodleDo to organize tasks, set deadlines, and prompt you for repeat actions. Put key goals on your office wall or in the staff meeting room to keep them visible.

And, crucially, regularly review and analyze your progress, and resolve any issues; review if you have the right KPIs in place, and constantly optimize your processes to improve them, if applicable.

It’s a great idea to put regular (possibly quarterly) business plan review meetings on your company calendar now, so you can prioritize time to review your goals and milestones regularly, not just once a year. This will help you set specific goals and objectives, both short-term and long-term, and revisit them regularly to make sure your KPIs are on the right track.

This might all sound a little overwhelming, but it’s much less overwhelming than the feeling that you’re drowning in work and are nowhere near to achieving your goals.

By identifying and reviewing your key focus areas, setting SMART goals, defining KPIs to track your company and individual progress, and putting systems in place to make sure you are sticking to the schedule, you’ll put yourself in the best position to make 2019 the year your business really starts to shine.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2017. It was revised in 2018.

AvatarJennifer Quinn

Jennifer Quinn

Jennifer is an online content executive for Phorest Salon Software . She manages content across several regions, and provides helpful advice and tips for small businesses trying to build their company and become more productive and efficient to grow in a competitive industry.

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41 Business Goals Examples to Set in 2023 and Beyond

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Business Goals with Target and leaders

Organizations invest time and resources in determining where to target their collective efforts. Whether your business goals and objectives center on strategic planning, expansion, or sustainability, they are a pivotal point in the expansion of any organization. They assist in several ways, from enhancing customer service to boosting revenues. In the end, they contribute to establishing the company’s main goal.

You may have come across many long-term and short-term goal-setting methodologies or frameworks in the business sector, such as Objectives and Key Results (OKR) , Balance Score Card (BSC), SMART goals, and so on. 

It’s time to advance with a proactive, strategic strategy that prioritizes pressing problems and helps us avoid making snap judgments in the future. Let’s go through the ultimate strategies for setting great business goals for 2023 and beyond.

More Business Goals Examples

Manage business goals in weekdone, what are business goals.

Business goals are the aims that a company expects to achieve within a specific time frame. You may define business goals for your entire organization as well as specific departments, staff, management, and/or clientele.

Goals often indicate the wider purpose of a firm and seek to set an ultimate goal for staff to strive toward. The time period you set your goal for will determine whether it’s considered short-term or long term.

Short term goals are usually those which can be achieved in one or two working quarters (3-6 months) sometimes maybe a year, depending on how committed the organization is.

Further, when thinking of a long term goal – it’s typically one set with a date to accomplish within one year or more.

📚 What’s the difference between goals and objectives ?

4 Goal Frameworks with Examples

A goal framework is a systematic way of defining goals. Although these frameworks vary in terms of precise rules and methods, they are all intended to simplify the goal management process to maximize the probability of achievement. This generally entails breaking down larger and more complicated goals into smaller steps and activities that should be completed within a specific period.

The 4 goal-setting frameworks listed below are among the most widely used and successful frameworks available today.

4 goal setting frameworks - OKR, MBO, SMART, and BHAG

Objectives and Key Results (OKR)

OKR stands for “Objective and Key Results.” This popular goal management framework focuses on development and progress by setting proper quarterly goals – leveraging the ability of your teams to achieve results.

Using OKRs is critical for attaining collaborative success and fulfilling the organization’s bigger vision. This framework helps businesses to keep alignment and engagement on the quantifiable metrics that actually matter!

OKR methodology entails defining objectives, involving individuals in the goal-setting exercise, and fostering an open and transparent culture. Maintaining this culture requires persistent and regular OKR check-ins to keep you on track and ensure you never lose sight of your priorities. OKRs have been embraced by many big corporations and charitable groups, including Netflix and Code for America.

Learn more about the best practices for tracking OKRs , why it is important, and how to use OKRs effectively throughout the company.

14-day full-feature trial for unlimited users. Invite your teams and set better business goals with OKRs

How to Write Good OKRs

Writing OKRs at the Company or Team level lets you clearly view your core challenges and improvement possibilities and separate them from day-to-day activities. Good objectives bring teams together, foster long-term growth habits, and propel you to success.

To create OKRs, you must first understand how to do them correctly. OKRs are composed of one main goal at the top and 3-5 accompanying key results. They may be expressed in the form of a statement.

Questions to help guide you in writing good OKRs - Weekdone Blog

Crafting Company Objectives

To begin, you need to create a corporate objective. The corporate goal should be wide enough to allow all teams to develop the most successful team goals. On the other hand, it should be detailed, so everyone understands the company’s direction.

Ultimately, the company objective helps to establish a quarterly focus for the entire organization. Team objectives are then developed based on this high-level focus.

Developing Team Objectives

Once the company’s Objective(s) is established, individual teams should work together to discuss their relative objectives. These motivating goals should be consistent with the general direction of the firm. They should create focus, a sense of urgency, and a sense of collective purpose. Furthermore, they are intended to represent challenges to be solved or possibilities for progress to be pursued during the quarter.

Pro Tip: In Weekdone , we recommend linking your team objectives to the company objective – creating the company OKR. This goal alignment tactic ensures that everything is moving as one cohesive organism.

Creating Key Results for Your Objectives

Objectives on all levels are subdivided into quantifiable key results used to track your success and progress toward the “O”. As a result, key results they must be time-bound, detailed, attainable, and quantifiable. While the goal is to fix or enhance the problem, crucial findings indicate whether the problem was successfully solved.

Keep in mind: Efficient Key results are lofty but attainable metrics -they are not KPIs or projects. KR’s are always tied to both the quarter and the objectives.

OKR Examples

By identifying some OKR examples to model and practice with, it will be much simpler to adopt the framework in your business effectively. Here are some example Objectives and their Key Results for different business departments:

Sales & Marketing Departmental OKR Examples

Example okr #1:.

Objective: Improve our overall sales performance. Key Result 1: Maintain a sales pipeline of quality leads worth at least $400K each quarter. Key Result 2: Increase the closure rate from 20% to 23%. Key Result 3: Increase the number of planned calls per sales rep from three to six per week. Key Result 4: Increase the average contract size from $12,000 to $124,000.

Example OKR #2:

Objective: Build a netbook of business recurring revenue to stabilize the firm. Key Result 1: Achieve $300,000 in monthly recurring revenue ($MRR) before the end of Q1. Key Result 2: Increase the proportion of subscription services sold against one-time contracts to 60%. Key Result 3: Increase the average paid subscription value to at least $400. Key Result 4: Increase the percentage of yearly renewals to 70%.

Example OKR #3:

Objective: Bring in as many high-quality leads to assist the sales team. Key Result 1: Develop three new case studies aimed at new consumer categories. Key Result 2:  Update the normal sales deck and discussion track with new products/offers. Key Result 3:  Try to double the number of online form leads. Key Result 4:  Organize two sales training sessions.

Example OKR #4:

Objective: Improve the quality of our outbound sales strategy. Key Result 1: Ensure that at least 75% of prospective parties are contacted directly within three working days. Key Result 2:   Consult with productive team members to determine what works in the sales process and develop a sales cheat sheet. Key Result 3: Publish a best practices sales process document with the lowest permitted service levels

Example OKR #5:

Objective: Generate sales leads of greater quality. Key Result 1: Create a set of lead metrics and prepare queries for CRM collection. Key Result 2:   Ensure that at least 75% of leads performed mandatory questions/answers. Key Result 3: Streamline the gathering of data from our database to CRM. Key Result 4: Redesign the user interaction form by adding three additional mandatory structured questionnaires.

Example OKR #6:

Objective : Extend our reach and brand recognition beyond our present geographic boundaries. Key Result 1:  Improve signups from transformational change leadership articles by 3% Key Result 2:  Boost publication subscriptions by 300 Key Result 3: Enhance web traffic from additional target areas by 12%.

Example OKR #7

Objective : Improve our SEO. Key Result 1: Get 20 fresh backlinks from relevant sites each quarter if your domain score exceeds 50. Key Result 2: Optimize our on-page optimization and improve ten pages every quarter. Key Result 3:  Increase the speed of our website to improve our speed score. Key Result 4:   Write one new blog article weekly optimized for our list of targeted search terms.

Example OKR #8

Objective : Foster a sense of community among our clients. Key Result 1:  Develop a best-practices-based customer community approach. Key Result 2:  During the first half of the year, produce 20 articles showing client satisfaction. Key Result 3:  We get 25% of our clients to engage in the community using discount opportunities. Key Result 4:  Earn five favorable PR mentions for our consumers this quarter.

Example OKR #9

Objective : Increase brand exposure and reputation. Key Result 1:  Roll out a new weekly magazine with valuable material and thought leadership. Key Result 2: Deliver five new value-added posts with over 250 words of content every month. Key Result 3: This quarter, obtain two favorable media exposure PR spots in our community. Key Result 4: Amass 10 reviews with five stars on Google and Yelp this quarter.

Example OKR #10

Objective : Deliberately and consistently enhance the competencies of our staff. Key Result 1:   Every member of the team has a personal growth plan. Key Result 2:  All workers have received 360-degree feedback. Key Result 3: Every manager has a one-on-one at least every other week. Key Result 4: Create a strategy for effective intervention opportunities to address capacity shortfalls.

SMART Goals for Business

SMART goals for business

SMART business goals give you the blueprint to make your overarching business aspirations a reality.

James Cunningham, Arthur Miller, and George Doran initially presented this method for defining goals in 1981. Setting SMART goals allows you to articulate your thoughts, organize your efforts, use your time and resources better, and enhance the odds of reaching your goal. Questions to ask when setting SMART goals:

SMART goals do not have a certain cadence or use case; they are suggestions and a descriptive set of criteria to use while considering what you want to accomplish. You may establish them for certain periods, departments, individuals, or tasks.

How to Write SMART Goals

Consider using the SMART steps to help you reach your goals:

SMART goals can be implemented in any section of a business. If you’re unsure whether it’s worthwhile to plan it out for your organization, consider using free online goal-setting tools.

SMART Business Goals Examples

1. i want to boost my revenue.

2. Set Up a Virtual Sales Communication Link

3. I Want To Improve My Business Operations Efficiency

4. I Want To Expand My Business Operations

5. My goal is to increase employee retention

OKR Goals vs. SMART Goals

OKRs and SMART goals may appear to be very comparable on the surface. However, they have entirely different use cases. OKR is regarded as a more advanced method for creating corporate-wide goals.

OKRs are intended to propel firms to growth and long-term progress. They operate best with a quarterly goal-setting cycle and regular weekly check-ins to keep track of progress and stay on target. SMART goals are one-time objectives created for smaller initiatives without a direct or established link to higher-level objectives.

Management by Objectives (MBO)

Document review in performance management MBO

Management by Objectives, abbreviated “MBO,” is a management concept created by Peter Drucker in the late 1960s as he began to propose better methods for managing skilled workers over agricultural and industrial employees who came before them.

Staff objectives are set using the main business goals, with this framework. MBO enables everyone in the firm to evaluate what they have done concerning the company’s key objectives and priorities while completing duties. This demonstrates how action and outcome are linked and how they may significantly boost productivity.

MBO Examples

MBO can be used and possibly benefit a variety of sectors. Here are some real-world applications for MBO:

Human Resources: MBO may improve employee happiness, hold workplace events, and increase staff participation.

Company Performance: Using MBO to boost gross margins, minimize carbon footprints, enhance sales, and so on.

Marketing: MBO may help you reach goals like boosting email subscriptions, expanding social media followers, and tripling online traffic.

Customer Service: Minimizing incident rates, boosting associate accessibility to assist in customer disagreements, and speeding up a dispute resolution.

Sales: Reduce the sales cycle from six to three months, boost average revenues to $10,000, and acquire 15 new clients over a certain period.

In reality, a clear objective setting in areas where the organization may now fall short may assist all facets of a company, from human resources to marketing to sales to information technology and everything in between.

OKR vs. MBO 

The most notable difference between these two frameworks is that OKR is about outcomes, rather than outputs. OKR has been known to foster more important cross-departmental and team discussions to get to the greater problem or big picture ideas. Management by Objectives has been linked to performance management and is driven by outputs – both of which are very different from the Objectives and Key Results goal management framework.

Read more on the difference between OKR and MBO . 

Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG)

Business goal type - Big Hairy Audacious Goul

BHAG stands for ‘big, hairy, audacious goals’ and refers to lofty ambitions that may appear impossible in the short term but give a crucial feeling of aspiration and emotional energy to propel the business to the top.

The concept, coined by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, often defines long-term strategies tied to your company’s fundamental beliefs and ideals. BHAGs are long-term in nature, with a time frame of 10 to 25 years optimal. They should be based on the goal and guiding principles of your company.

Tips for Developing Your BHAG

Here are some helpful hints for developing a BHAG for your company:

BHAG Examples

Without rhyme or reason, implementing a new framework or not – you can always begin with some statement areas for improvement. We’ve created a list of example goals you can work with immediately in your organization. 

1. Increase Market Share

This goal is customer driven. The idea is to sell more of your product to your target consumers, thus, increasing overall market share for your product for investors. For example, if you operate a B2B company, your goal should be to reach out to more company heads or HR departments. If you operate a small business that focuses on building computers, you’ll want more of the local population to come to you for your services.

2. Increase Community Outreach

Becoming part of the community is a fantastic way to connect from the B2C side. Whether you are a large company contributing to community efforts through sponsorship or a small company that volunteers to help for Little League Baseball, community outreach is an excellent goal for new and established organizations alike. Increasing community outreach is especially important if your company or organization doesn’t have a good reputation with a particular group (I.E.: environmentalists).

Likewise, community outreach is essential if you are providing human necessities. For example, if you run a small scale grocery store, community outreach is what’s gonna keep you above water when competing with larger corporations. 

3. Maintain Profits

Financial goals are one of the most useful top-level objectives you can have. By nature, they are both aspirational and measurable, which equally makes financial-driven objectives essential for getting the goal setting process started for young businesses.

Maintaining profits (as opposed to increasing revenue) calls for a balance between profitability and investments. Investments are necessary to test out changes in the market and expand the business, so by establishing a balanced goal, you can reason how much money can go into growth and new projects/tools/campaigns while still reaching a paired profit goal. 

4. Reduce Energy or Decrease Unnecessary Use of Resources

This is a double-sided issue. If you are providing a service or product that requires being PHYSICALLY, cutting back on using that energy to save money means you can put that money to things that are more useful and productive (such as expanding or improving the product). This can be as minimal as cutting down on electricity. 

If your product isn’t physical, this goal equally applies to cutting out company tools by trying to find software or systems that maximize your company’s alignment and productivity. Aiming for 1-2 communication tools, for example, cuts out company miscommunication by having conversations spread out over several apps, messaging programs, and document sharing platforms. 

5. Grow Shareholder Value

Increasing shareholder value is an extension of increasing profit for consumers. Increasing the overall value of your organization can refer to reputation, profit, or any other classification of “value.” The most important aspect of this goal is to specify what that value is and structure your Key Results, projects, KPIs, etc. around this. 

6. Increase Percentage of Sales Made with New Product Features

When developing new products or features, promoting them so sales can close more deals/sell more of the new product should be one of your main priorities for increasing profit. This justifies the expenses from investing in the new product or feature in the first place and aims to ensure that the investment was worth it and will turn a profit. 

7. Invest in Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) is all about continuing to reduce manufacturing error and streamlining a supply chain with physical products. It equally applies to both when dealing with improving customer experience and training staff. Improving quality across a wide variety of areas is a great company level goal that’s easy to align since each team or department can be held accountable for their own work. 

8. Focus on Leadership Skills for Team Members

Training employees is one thing, making them comfortable so they can speak for themselves and encouraging creative, out-of-the box behavior is another. If your company wants more input from lower levels, then this is important.

9. Maintain or Decrease Debt

Easily measurable, this category falls under finances as well. Maintaining a certain amount of financial debt is important… especially for businesses that are just getting started and may not have the profits to cover debt costs.

10. Balance Budget for X Period

Balancing a budget is a great top level goal for non-profits. Likewise, this goal is a great for teams who may get a set amount to invest in campaigns or projects quarterly or annually. 

11. Calculate and Create the Best Value of Product for Cost

This is on marketing and sales, so is a better team goal example than a company goal. The idea is to focus on selling customers that they are getting the best deal. Whether you’re selling something top of the line for high cost or a cheap, low-cost alternative that doesn’t have the polish of a different brand, you need to highlight to your customers why your product balances value and cost.

12. Make Product More Reliable/Create a Reliable Product

Making your product more reliable is a great way to gain customers while maintaining pre existing ones. This short term goal can be worked on quarter after quarter – split up the tasks by first reviewing existing value points, competitors and current positioning – then continue forward as you learn and explore more to prepare for development.

13. Cross-Sell to Long Term Customers

So, you have people buying a product of yours. A good goal for sales is to sell them on more products. This builds brand loyalty.

14. Best Customer Service

Dealing with the external face of your company, offering the best customer service means that consumers are happier with the overall experience of buying or using your product.

15. Team Building/Diversity Training Goals

A classic in HR teams, team building and diversity training focuses on employee satisfaction to prevent turnover and allow environments where everyone is comfortable enough to share their ideas.

The first step is to set up a goal for your firm or team. Each goal you establish has an impact on the next. As a result, ensure that your business goals and objectives are adaptable. Whether you are a small firm or an expert in your profession, consistently analyzing your work, raising your work standards, and expanding your goal list is the way to progress.

Efficient goal alignment promotes a greater sense of participation and direction among employees in a firm. The OKR process is at the forefront of assisting companies in aligning their aims through important results and activities.

Weekdone is your leading OKR software for status reporting, aligning team OKRs with business goals, and visualizing weekly and quarterly achievements. The fundamental concepts of appropriate alignment, structure, and connectivity are important to us. From the ground up, we can make your organization feel more connected by achieving business goals together!

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What are Business Goals? Full Guide + 22 Business Goal Examples

Published: 06 November, 2022

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Stefan F.Dieffenbacher

Table of Contents

On the surface, Business Goals are simple: make enough money to run the business, expand as necessary, and provide for the people who own and operate the organization. Like a living organism, a business’s main goal is to survive and thrive.

But how do we achieve that? The broader goal of surviving is built upon smaller and more specific Business Goals that direct your strategy over a period of time as part of the strategic planning process.

In this article, we discuss the variety of Business Goals you might choose to target to help secure your business’s survival and growth as part of the strategic planning process . You should be able to identify some goals that are specifically helpful for your business and begin the process of developing strategies to reach them as part of the strategic planning process

What are Business Goals?

A Business Goal is a target an organization wants to hit either in the short term or in the long term. You can think of a Business Goal as an endpoint or accomplishment the organization sets for itself in a given timeframe.

As we’ll see throughout this article, most Business Goals focus on advances like revenue, market penetration, growth, or shareholder value creation. But every business will have its own specific business goals.

Business Goals are written to be aspirational, without any indication of the specific strategies that the company will enact. Those plans are called Business Strategies and are developed after the company chooses its larger goals.

Business Strategy —the actual activities that an organization undertakes in order to meet its goals—is the topic of another Digital Leadership article that you might find helpful.

How to Develop your Business Strategy - Business Strategy Development

Business Goals vs. Business Objectives

Understanding how experts differentiate Business Goals from Business Objectives will be helpful as you define your business strategy.

A Business Goal is a long-range outcome that your teams use to help define strategies. A Business Objective is a short-term action you’ll take to help reach an overall goal.

Goals and Objectives combine to form your overall Business Strategy, or in other words, the map of what your company will do in the future in the hopes of achieving success in the priorities you’ve identified.

Many times, Business Goals and Business Objectives are terms used simultaneously and interchangeably. Understanding the distinction makes it easier to visualize the entirety of your business strategy.

Why Setting Business Goals is Important to Every Company?

Strong Business Goals are an important element of the overall package of documents that direct a company’s activities and priorities. Other pieces of that package include a Business Strategy , a Mission Statement and Vision, and the company’s Massively Transformational Purpose .

Business Goals give your organization a target. They articulate priorities and motivate employees. Business Goals make your company’s purpose clear.

Let’s look a little more closely at the power of Business Goals in motion.

(1) Goals Give your Business a Direction

Getting Business Goals onto the page or screen gives your organization a sense of direction. It facilitates the entire operation pulling for the same goals.

Coupled with a clear Business Strategy , Business Goals let every member of your organization know their role in the business’s overall purpose.

(2) Goals Give you a Way to Track and Measure Progress

Business Goals give defined metrics that you can track so you can measure your success and progress. They allow you to recognize failure so you can fail fast; a major element of innovation is making many iterations quickly so you increase the odds of success.

Related:  How to measure Innovation? Innovation Metrics for Companies

Because your Business Goals give clear, measurable touchstones, the entire organization, at every level, know how their efforts are contributing to the business’s purpose.

(3) Goals Help you Stay Motivated

Who runs a race without a finish line? Business Goals are that finish line. It’s much easier to stay motivated when you know what you’re working toward. Since a business works as one unified organism, the goals work the same way for the combined organization.

Incidentally, this is why a series of smaller goals can be more effective than one larger goal. The energy we feel in reaching a goal powers us onto the next.

(4) Goals Help you Achieve Quicker Growth

Business Goals help you achieve quicker growth because they focus your efforts. Our experience indicates that commitment is an indicator of success. Since articulating Business Goals encourages deeper commitment, it follows that businesses making use of them would experience more positive outcomes.

Goals keep your team accountable. They force consideration of priorities and practices, which in turn help achieve quicker growth.

Types of Business Goals

Depending on where your business is currently, and where you want it to be heading, you will choose your Business Goals from a set of four types.

Each type of Business Goals has its own advantages, and some of each of their characteristics overlap. Each of these types of goals can also vary in scope quite a lot—how you choose to articulate them will, again, depend on the specifics of your business’s current situation.

Business Goals Types

(1) Time-Based Goals

Every goal needs an endpoint. Deadlines focus the work your organization is doing and make reaching the goal much more likely. We believe that every Business Goal needs a target date, articulated within the context of the goal itself.

For a Time-Based Goal, the deadline takes center stage. Often, the accomplishment set forth in your goal has a deadline impressed upon it by outside forces: some presentation, governmental requirement, or new product roll-out, for example. The length of time you’re giving to complete the goal determines what sort of specific Time-Based goal you’ve built.

Short-Term Business Goals

Short-Term goals are often used in conjunction with longer-term goals. They give the opportunity to celebrate reaching the endpoint more frequently, which makes short-term goals an excellent tool for motivation.

Long-Term Business Goals

Long-Term goals let you tackle large projects. These goals can last months, or even years, which is why short-term goals remain useful. Don’t lose sight of the finish line with these long-term goals. Find opportunity to celebrate success incrementally.

(2) Goals Based on Performance

Goals based on performance are short-term targets identified as important for ongoing success.

Key to Performance-Based goals are reachable targets within appropriate timeframes. The metrics being used must also be clearly defined and easy to evaluate.

(3) Quantitative & Qualitative Goals

The difference between a Qualitative and a Quantitative goal is the type of data you’re collecting when you measure your success.

Quantitative Goals require collecting factual data. Typically, we think of quantitative data as originating in numbers or statistics, but all data can be used in statistics eventually. You can think of quantitative data as provable measurements, often very tangible.

On the other hand, Qualitative Goals are built around impressions and degrees, usually how someone feels about something or how they might describe an experience. Because these measurements can be harder to collect and the goals harder to define, managers must be careful with using them to determine employee evaluation results.

We recommend focusing on quantitative goals with a small dash of qualitative to help gauge consumer response and team member attitudes.

(4) Outcome & Process Oriented Goals

The success of Outcome-Oriented Goals is determined by how and when and if your team reached a certain goal. Outcome Goals are a pass/fail situation. Either you reach the desired outcome, or you don’t.

The success of a Process-Oriented Outcome is less specific. Instead of a desired targeted endpoint, a Process-Oriented goal requires the completion of a set of steps regardless of outcome.

One way to think about the differences here is classic line “It’s the journey, not the destination that matters.” A Process-Oriented goal favors the journey. For an Outcome-Oriented goal, the destination is everything.

Business Goals Examples

As we said previously, Business Goals will always be specific to the organization’s priorities, situation, and business model. There are some examples of common Business Goals that we can review, however, because it’s productive to review what successful businesses have done in the past.

Below, we provide a short description of each Business Goal example, as well as some thoughts on how it would look in practice for your business.

In each description, we mention how the goal is most likely to be positioned within your organization.

(1) Improve Your Company and Brand Reputation

Typically a long-term goal, improving your standing in the marketplace requires a qualitative approach to collecting responses from your customers and potential customers to understand their feelings toward your organization.

(2) Develop a Business Plan

This a short-term Business Goal that should be addressed early in your business’s lifespan.

We have several articles about Business Model Canvas that you may find helpful, and our book, How to Create Innovation , has guidance on developing your business plan to drive exponential growth. You can register for your own free copy.

(3) Improve Product or Service Quality

This is most likely a goal that will have short- and long-term steps on the way toward an overall improvement.

There is an aspect of qualitative data in this Business Goal, obviously, but you should try to quantify improvement in quality as much as possible by comparing customer responses over time to track growth and highlight where there’s work still to be done.

(4) Achieve Higher On-Time Delivery

For this goal, you’ll need to decide a time frame based on your specific needs. Perhaps, for example, you want to improve delivery during the holiday season. That would be a short-term Business Goal.

If you’re looking to improve delivery over time, your goal might be focused on Outcomes, hitting certain percentage benchmarks.

(5) Increase Customer Satisfaction

Another example of a Business Goal that requires collection of qualitative data, you can choose to make this a short- or long-term goal depending on your business’s needs.

We tend to think that customer satisfaction should always have a role in what your measure to track business success.

(6) Improve Customer Retention

A mid to long-term Business Goal, this is usually measured through Outcomes, hitting certain metrics of returning customers or converting them into long-term contracts.

(7) Increase Sales Volumes

Another mid- to long-term Business Goal, increasing sales values uses quantitative measurements to determine if the business hit target Outcomes goals.

Instead of overall Sales Volumes, some businesses measure overall profit or average profit margins of goods and services sold.

(8) Optimize Product and Service Pricing

This long-term goal requires consistent monitoring of your profit margins and your customers’ perception of the value you’re providing, along with review of competitive pricing.

(9) Increase Market Share

This is clearly a mid to long-term quantitative goal.

Our experience tells us that the more targeted you can be here, the more productive improvements can be. Select a specific segment or product type and focus your efforts there.

(10) Improve Profit Margins

Another finance-based Business Goal, increasing profit margins is long-term, with several targeted earlier deadlines used to measure and promote success.

Improving margins may be a long-term goal that uses several of the other goals listed in this article to help achieve success.

(11) Increase Profits

Increase sales, increase margins, reach into new markets—ultimately, many of these goals are driving a move toward increased profits.

Many businesses make sustainably increasing profits a long-term goal. The exact metrics used to measure this, as well as the target benchmarks they need to reach to be successful, vary greatly from one organization to the next.

(12) Develop New Customers

Measure how many new customers you acquire over a given time. This is likely a mid to long-term goal that requires close measurement of who is buying your product or service.

(13) Expand Into a New Geographic Market

Expansion is a long-term Process-based Business Goal. This goal is clearly very specific to your business because it’s dependent upon so many different factors, including current location, desired expansion, and Business Model.

(14) Market Through a New Channel

Like all Business Goals focused on expansion, finding new channels is a Process-Oriented goal.

The wording of this goal is easily changed to move from Process to Outcome once you advance from merely wanting to market through a new channel to actually quantitatively measuring your sales.

(15) Develop A New Product or Service

A mid to long-term goal of developing a new product or service is Outcome-Oriented, but there will be a number of smaller Process-Oriented goals along the way, most likely.

You’re also likely to transition to other quantitative goals that measure the success of your new products and services. They need to exist first, of course!

(16) Implement an Employee Development Program

A simple development program might be implemented fairly quickly, but a rigorous program that tracks how your employees progress is a long-term goal that requires a lot of effort. We believe a development program pays dividends in the long run by making it easier to retain quality employees and grow a pipeline to senior management

(17) Increase Employee Satisfaction

This is a goal that can span any timeframe, depending on the business’s needs, but is more likely to focus on mid- to long-term qualitative measuring. This goal’s metrics can slide into the quantitative when you collect data about employee longevity and retention.

(18) Decrease Expenses

An Outcome-Oriented goal, decreasing expenses can occur over any amount of time you choose. You may consider being more targeted and aim to decrease certain expenses by a given date.

(19) Implement Productivity Improvements

For this goal, you’ll need to select quantitative metrics for productivity. Since every business is different, you’ll decide what measurements work for you.

For example, you may be holding your productivity to a very high-quality standard. LEGO , for instance, has famously rigorous quality standards.

Productivity improvements are usually long-term goals, with several medium- and short-term goals used to motivate and track changes.

(20) Migrate To a New Technology Platform

The adoption of new technology can be a challenging, frustrating goal because so many departments with different priorities are involved. In order to successfully reach this goal, you’ll rely on a combination of qualitative and quantitative metrics.

A deadline will be important, along with the functionality of the new technology. In some instances, the aesthetics of the technology will play an important role in the measuring of success.

Is a partial roll-out all right? A soft opening? Do you need complete functionality on day one? How compatible must the new technology be with the previous tech?

These are all important elements that should be articulated as part of your overall Business Goal.

(21) Make Investments for the Future

How big will your investments be? What will they look like? How far into the future are you aiming for?

We see investment as a mid-to-long-term goal. Consider if you’re collecting cash to have on hand, acquiring the latest equipment, or performing routine maintenance on your building. These activities, and far more, would count as sensible investments for the future.

(22) Increase Shareholder Value

Publicly traded companies are required to grow their shareholder value. Privately held companies may still have stockholders in other capacities, and so improving their standing is always a long-term goal.

Outcome-Oriented, the goal of increasing shareholder value should have a benchmark target with a clearly articulated deadline. How much increase, and by when?,

Let’s organize these Business Goal examples a little differently:

Short-Term Business Goals Examples

Long-Term Business Goals Examples

Performance-Based Goals Examples

Qualitative Goals Examples

Quantitative Goals Examples

How do you Choose your Business Goals?

Every business is different, but there are some common approaches to use when choosing your Business Goals.

First, make sure you’re choosing a measurable goal. Even if your goal is qualitative, there must be a way to collect data that proves success or failure.

Second, make sure you’re choosing attainable goals. Selecting goals that can never be reached is counterproductive. This is especially true for companies whose organizational strategy makes certain goals difficult to reach. Ensure all the elements of your business are working together.

One way to make sure your goals are attainable and aligned with your overall business strategy is to use the Business Model Canvas . The canvas helps you visualize your business model and identify potential roadblocks to success. By using this tool, you can ensure that all elements of your organization are working together towards a common goal and that your goals align with your overall business strategy.

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Additionally, the business model canvas can be used to determine which elements of your business may need to be adjusted in order to achieve your goals. So, if you’re looking to set and achieve business goals that are both attainable and aligned with your vision, using the Business Model Canvas is a great place to start.

Third, choose goals that complement your overall business model and business purpose . Don’t abandon your vision for the sake of writing down a list of targets.

Fourth, set SMART Goals. We aren’t the first to adopt the SMART acronym for goal-setting:

SMART Business goals

The SMART Goals Framework prevents the selection of goals that are counter-productive, wasteful, or impossible to achieve. Choosing the wrong goals is worse than having no goals at all: improper goals suck time, motivation, and resources from the areas of the business where they could be better utilized.

How do you Reach your Business Goals?

There’s no one-size-fits-all guaranteed plan for reaching your business goals, but our experts agree the following strategies give you the best odds for success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are business goals examples.

Some common business goals include Develop a Business Plan, Improve Product or Service Quality, Market Through a New Channel, Achieve Higher On-Time Delivery, and Increase Shareholder Value.

What is the most important goal of a company?

The most important goal of a business is to sustainably provide value to its customers in a way that secures the business’s long-term future.

What are SMART business goals?

SMART is an acronym for choosing quality business goals. It means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound

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How to Set Strategic Planning Goals

Team setting strategic planning goals

In an ever-changing business world, it’s imperative to have strategic goals and a plan to guide organizational efforts. Yet, crafting strategic goals can be a daunting task. How do you decide which goals are vital to your company? Which ones are actionable and measurable? Which goals to prioritize?

To help you answer these questions, here’s a breakdown of what strategic planning is, what characterizes strategic goals, and how to select organizational goals to pursue.

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What Is Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning is the ongoing organizational process of using available knowledge to document a business's intended direction. This process is used to prioritize efforts, effectively allocate resources, align shareholders and employees, and ensure organizational goals are backed by data and sound reasoning.

Research in the Harvard Business Review cautions against getting locked into your strategic plan and forgetting that strategy involves inherent risk and discomfort. A good strategic plan evolves and shifts as opportunities and threats arise.

“Most people think of strategy as an event, but that’s not the way the world works,” says Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen in the online course Disruptive Strategy . “When we run into unanticipated opportunities and threats, we have to respond. Sometimes we respond successfully; sometimes we don’t. But most strategies develop through this process. More often than not, the strategy that leads to success emerges through a process that’s at work 24/7 in almost every industry."

Related: 5 Tips for Formulating a Successful Strategy

Characteristics of Strategic Goals

To craft a strategic plan for your organization, you first need to determine the goals you’re trying to reach. Strategic goals are an organization’s measurable objectives that are indicative of its long-term vision. Here are four characteristics of strategic goals to keep in mind when setting them for your organization.

1. Purpose-Driven

The starting point for crafting strategic goals is asking yourself what your company’s purpose and values are . What are you striving for, and why is it important to set these objectives? Let the answers to these questions guide the development of your organization’s strategic goals.

“You don’t have to leave your values at the door when you come to work,” says HBS Professor Rebecca Henderson in the online course Sustainable Business Strategy .

Henderson, whose work focuses on reimagining capitalism for a just and sustainable world, also explains that leading with purpose can drive business performance.

“Adopting a purpose will not hurt your performance if you do it authentically and well,” Henderson says in a lecture streamed via Facebook Live . “If you’re able to link your purpose to the strategic vision of the company in a way that really gets people aligned and facing in the right direction, then you have the possibility of outperforming your competitors.”

Related: 5 Examples of Successful Sustainability Initiatives

2. Long-Term and Forward-Focused

While strategic goals are the long-term objectives of your organization, operational goals are the daily milestones that need to be reached to achieve them. When setting strategic goals, think of your company’s values and long-term vision, and ensure you’re not confusing strategic and operational goals.

For instance, your organization’s goal could be to create a new marketing strategy; however, this is an operational goal in service of a long-term vision. The strategic goal, in this case, could be breaking into a new market segment, to which the creation of a new marketing strategy would contribute.

Keep a forward-focused vision to ensure you’re setting challenging objectives that can have a lasting impact on your organization.

3. Actionable

Strong strategic goals are not only long-term and forward-focused—they’re actionable. If there aren’t operational goals that your team can complete to reach the strategic goal, your organization is better off spending time and resources elsewhere.

When formulating strategic goals, think about the operational goals that fall under them. Are they actionable steps your team can take to achieve your organization’s objective? If so, the goal could be a worthwhile endeavor for your business.

4. Measurable

When crafting strategic goals, it’s important to define how progress and success will be measured. For instance, the goal “become a household name” is valid but vague. Consider the intended timeframe to reach this goal and how you’ll operationally define “a household name.” The method of obtaining data must also be taken into account.

An appropriate revision to the original goal could be: “Increase brand recognition by 80 percent among surveyed Americans by 2030.” By setting a more specific goal, you can better equip your organization to reach it and ensure that employees and shareholders have a clear definition of success and how it will be measured.

Related: A Manager’s Guide to Successful Strategy Implementation

Prioritizing Strategic Goals

Once you’ve identified several strategic goals, determine which are worth pursuing. This can be a lengthy process, especially if other decision-makers have differing priorities and opinions.

To set the stage, ensure everyone is aware of the purpose behind each strategic goal. This calls back to Henderson’s point that employees’ alignment on purpose can set your organization up to outperform its competitors.

Calculate Anticipated ROI

Next, calculate the estimated return on investment (ROI) of the operational goals tied to each strategic objective. For example, if the strategic goal is “reach carbon-neutral status by 2030,” you need to break that down into actionable sub-tasks—such as “determine how much CO2 our company produces each year” and “craft a marketing and public relations strategy”—and calculate the expected cost and return for each.

The ROI formula is typically written as:

ROI = (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) x 100

In project management, the formula uses slightly different terms:

ROI = [(Financial Value - Project Cost) / Project Cost] x 100

An estimate can be a valuable piece of information when deciding which goals to pursue. Although not all strategic goals need to yield a high return on investment, it’s in your best interest to calculate each objective's anticipated ROI so you can compare them.

Consider Current Events

Finally, when deciding which strategic goal to prioritize, the importance of the present moment can’t be overlooked. What’s happening in the world that could impact the timeliness of each goal?

For example, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the ever-intensifying climate change crisis have impacted many organizations’ strategic goals in 2020. Often, the goals that are timely and pressing are those that earn priority.

Which HBS Online Strategy Course is Right for You? Download Your Free Flowchart

Crafting Goals for the Future

As you set and prioritize strategic goals, remember that your strategy should always be evolving. As circumstances and challenges shift, so must your organizational strategy.

If you lead with purpose, a measurable and actionable vision, and an awareness of current events, you can set strategic goals worth striving for.

Do you want to learn more about strategic planning? Explore our online strategy courses and download our free flowchart to determine which is right for you and your goals.

business planning goals

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28 Examples Of Business Goals to Set Right Now

Setting good business goals with examples.

When it’s time to move your company forward, you may need some good examples of business goals.

Thus, I have compiled this comprehensive business goals examples list. So you can choose from some of the best options.

Whether your objectives include strategic planning, growth, or profitability. We have these areas covered. And much more.

So, let’s dive into some top business goals examples to set now…

Examples Of Business Goals

Here are the business goals we are covering today:

examples of business goals

Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

A little later, we will review each of these examples of business goals in more detail.

But first, let’s cover some important background information…

What Are Business Goals?

First of all, a goal is an end or an outcome you desire to achieve. Thus, goals require a vision of a future state, a plan, and a commitment to make that vision a reality.

Furthermore, goals can apply to every aspect of our lives. However, today we are focusing on your business, your company, or where you work.

Finally, business goals serve to support a company’s overall business objectives. And they are achieved through detailed steps or actions that must be accomplished in support of each goal.

The Importance Of Business Goals

Every business has limited resources. So, it’s important to focus those resources on the most critical activities.

That’s where goal setting comes into play.

Because by successfully setting and achieving goals. You focus your employee’s work on the right activities . That supports the company’s overall objectives.

In other words, goals help to align resources up, down, and across the organization.

Types Of Business Goals

There are three types of business goals . And they are differentiated by the time frame necessary to complete them.

First, we have short-term business goals . They are to be accomplished in no more than 1 year.

Second, there are medium-term business goals . From start to finish, they should be completed in more than one year. But, less than 5.

Finally, consider long-term business goals . For the big things that need to be accomplished more than 5 years out.

How To Set Business Goals

I suggest the SMART goal-setting system. It’s just a phrase that stands for the following attributes that each of your business goals should possess.

Specific. Make your goals as specific as possible. To do so, outline in writing exactly what you expect to achieve.

Measurable. Determine how you will measure success. This will help in monitoring progress. Also, define when a goal has been accomplished.

Achievable. Don’t waste time setting goals you have no chance of achieving.

Realistic. Ensure your goals are realistic.

For example, becoming a billion-dollar company may be achievable. After all, other companies have done it. But, it may not be realistic if your target market isn’t that big.

Time-bound. Every goal you set should have a firm date for when it is to be accomplished. This builds commitment and a sense of urgency.

Next, let’s review each of the 28 business goals examples I highlighted at the beginning of the article one by one…

list of business goals

28 Examples Of Business Goals Explained And Discussed

We will start with higher-level strategic business goals. Then move to more tactical business goals as we progress.

Keep in mind that these are appropriate goals for a small business . And larger businesses too.

Define Your Value Proposition

Your value proposition is what you want to deliver to your customer. It may be a product or service.

And it should target a specific quality level. For example, good quality, better quality, or best quality.

With the product or service, and quality defined. You are positioned to target the right customers. And tell them exactly what you are going to deliver for them.

Improve Your Company And Brand Reputation

Whether you sell branded products, or not. Every company has a brand reputation. It is also called a brand image.

And your reputation makes a big impression. With customers, suppliers, employees, and other stakeholders.

So, set out to protect and improve your company’s brand reputation. It’s critical for achieving future business objectives.

Develop A Business Plan

The best businesses have a plan. Since planning requires business owners to detail how they are going to build a successful business.

At a minimum, a business plan outlines:

The plan details where the business is at today. And what it will be in the future. Then make sure all of your business goals support the plan.

Finally, developing a business plan is one of the best short-term business goals a company can set. And achieve.

The next objective in our list of business goals focuses on existing customers.

Improve Product Or Service Quality

Nothing will harm a business more quickly than poor-quality products and services. So, set a business goal to ensure your products and services meet your customer’s expectations.

Because if your value proposition states you are delivering the “best quality” product. Then it must meet that standard.

Achieve Higher On-Time Delivery

The second thing that will kill a business is this. Not delivering on time.

Your business should solve your customer’s problems. And fill a need that they have.

So, say what you are going to deliver and when. Then do it on time!

Increase Customer Satisfaction

business goals examples list

Your business has nothing. If it doesn’t have satisfied customers.

And delivering the appropriate quality. At the agreed-upon time. Will go a long way to achieving high customer satisfaction.

But there may be more you can do. So, ask your customers about their satisfaction level. And see how you can improve upon what they have to say.

Improve Customer Retention

Meet your quality standards. Deliver on time. Ensure your customers are satisfied.

What will this lead to? A high customer retention rate.

And retaining customers is critical to success. Because it is much easier to sell more to existing customers. Versus finding new ones.

Higher customer retention is one of the best non-financial business goals you can set for your company. And I think these types of business goals are very important.

With current customers well taken care of. The next business objective is growth.

And that’s what the following grouping in this list of business goals covers…

Increase Sales Volumes

Whatever it is you sell. Set a business goal to sell more of it.

Just make sure of this one thing. That what you are selling is profitable.

If it is not. Then here’s another one of our top business goals you should consider…

Optimize Product And Service Pricing

Assess your prices against the competition. And make sure of two things.

First, set your pricing per your quality standards. Second, increase prices to what your market will allow.

Because there is little sense in underpricing your product. Unless you have high fixed costs for excess capacity. That you need to fill.

Increase Market Share

Another one of the top medium-term business goals is to penetrate your target markets more deeply.

Regardless of how you define your market. The market indicates the revenue opportunity for your business. Given all of the markets you serve.

Proper pricing, besting competitors, and advertising are several ways to increase market share.

Develop New Customers

Another example of a good business goal is new customer development. Since it is inevitable you will lose some of your existing customers. Hopefully, at no fault of your own.

Thus, it is always a good idea to target new customers. And bring them into the fold.

So, tie new customer prospecting. Directly into the goals of the people responsible for sales at your company.

Expand Into A New Geographic Market

strategic planning

Another excellent way to grow is by targeting a new geographic market.

It can be as simple as expanding to a nearby town. Or, a neighboring state.

But, make sure you give this some thought. Because it’s a lot more difficult to manage your operation when it is physically farther away.

Market Through A New Channel

Make a list of all the possible channels through which you can market your product. This will be different for every business.

From online channels, distributors, retail stores, wholesalers, and more. Then consider expanding into one or more of the channels that you do not utilize.

Penetrate A New Demographic

Take a hard look at your marketing plan. And your current customer base.

Who are your customers? And why do they like your product?

Is it possible you could have success with a different demographic? Or, customer profile?

I don’t know. You have to decide.

Develop A New Product Or Service

top business goals

Innovation is critical in today’s business world. Because by staying the same, your business will fall behind.

Look at your current products. Can they be improved? Or, modified to serve a different purpose?

Are there related products that you do not have today? That could make for a more robust and complementary product and service offering. Across your entire company.

Okay. That covers a possible list of business growth goals. Next in our list of business goals, let’s turn our attention to your operation.

Implement An Employee Development Program

Whether you are a one-person show. Or, have hundreds of employees.

Training and career development for staff is a critical goal every business should have.

After all, everything starts with people. And the people who work for your business are one of your most important resources.

So, make a business goal to set up an employee and management development program .

Increase Employee Satisfaction

Satisfied employees are good employees. Good employees are productive employees.

And they are the engine that drives your business forward. So, look for ways to increase employee satisfaction.

Striving to have better and happier employees. Is one of the best ideas for business goals.

Decrease Expenses

Have your finance department do this : run a list of business expenses for the last several months. And go through them with a fine-tooth comb.

First of all, look for expenses that can be eliminated. Then, identify expenses that can be reduced.

Implement Productivity Improvements

A productive business is a good business. Thus, identify the best business goals where you can be better at what you do. And faster at what you do. Or, both.

I think of productivity like this…

Being better means doing more with fewer resources. In other words, doing more with less.

On the other hand, being faster means getting the most out of the resources that are already in place. To put it a different way, do more with the resources that are in place.

Finally, don’t forget about outsourcing non-core processes to increase productivity. And accounting and financial management is a great place to start.

These are all great ways to become more cost competitive .

Migrate To A New Technology Platform

These days, the use of technology is like oil in a car engine. Because you won’t get far without it.

If you are running your business without an information system. Or, your current information system is outdated.

Then it’s one of the best ideas for business goals. To upgrade your technology platform. Sometimes it is referred to as an enterprise system.

Improve Profit Margins

company planning process

For every dollar, your business sells, the profit margin is what is left over after paying all expenses. Including income taxes.

By increasing prices, absorbing excess capacity with higher volumes, reducing costs, or paying less in taxes. Your business’s profit margin will increase.

And higher profit margins are almost always better than the alternative.

Increase Profits

And while higher profit margins may lead to higher profit dollars. They may not. Especially if the business is contracting.

So, combine better margins with stable sales volumes. Or, better yet. Higher sales volumes. And watch the absolute profits of your business increase.

Make Investments For The Future

Next, look to identify business goals associated with making smart investments. Those investments can make your business bigger and better. Because oftentimes it takes money to make money.

Making good business investments can include land, buildings, equipment, vehicles, hardware, and software just to name a few ideas.

Just make sure your investments will bring a good return on the money spent.

Acquire A Business

Sometimes the quickest path to business success is through an acquisition. Be it a competitor. Or, a non-competitive company that has offerings your business does not.

It’s the classic buy it, or build it dilemma. Buying businesses can achieve faster results. But, it is not without its pitfalls.

So, carefully think about it. You have to decide which route is best for your company to achieve its goals.

Our next group of business objectives falls on the topic of company financial goals . And it is the last grouping in today’s list of business goals examples.

Forecast Cash Flows

Every company should forecast cash flows. Since, along with employees, cash may be the most important resource for most companies.

Thus, you have to be certain your business has enough cash resources today. And will have enough in the future.

Furthermore, knowing how to forecast cash is fairly easy. So, start this important business process right away.

Develop A Cash Plan

And if your business is fortunate to generate excess cash. Your business bank account and cash flow forecast will tell you that.

So make a plan for any excess cash. Being able to do so is one of the many benefits of cash forecasting .

Then you can use this important resource productively. And not let cash sit idly in the bank.

Some ideas for using excess cash include paying off debt, making business investments, or rewarding owners with dividends.

Put Financing Sources In Place

On the other hand, your business may not be generating enough cash to support itself. Once again your cash flow forecast will give you an early warning if this is the case.

Then it’s critical to make arrangements for external financing. In advance of when your business needs the money.

Increase Shareholder Value

Finally, I’ve saved one of the best examples of good business goals for last.  Because in one way or another every business activity should strive to make your business more valuable.

As a small business owner, it may be the largest asset you possess. So, make one of your long-term company goals to increase the value of your business.

Okay. Those are all of the examples of business goals that I can come up with for now. Let’s close with a summary…

Examples Of Business Goals – Summary

Start planning your business goals today.

Make SMART business goals . And stay focused. So, choose 3-5 goals from today’s list.

Achieve those goals. Then come back and select a few more.

Here’s a summary of the company goals examples we covered today:

More Reading About Personal And Business Finance

conclusions about business goals examples

Author Bio, Disclosure, & Disclaimer: Please join me (Tom) as I try to achieve my goals, find my next place to live, and make the most of my money. However, I am not a licensed investment adviser, financial counselor, real estate agent, or tax professional. Instead, I’m a 50-something-year-old, early retired CPA, finance professional, and business school teacher with 40+ years of DIY dividend investing experience. I’m here only to share my thoughts about essential topics for success. As a result, nothing published on this site should be considered individual investment, financial, tax, or real estate advice. This site’s only purpose is general information & entertainment. Thus, neither I nor Dividends Diversify can be held liable for losses suffered by any party because of the information published on this website. Finally, all written content is the property of Dividends Diversify LLC. Unauthorized publication elsewhere is strictly prohibited.

Examples Of Business Goals For Your Company Explained

Examples of Business Goals & Objectives

Copying VMDK to VDI in VirtualBox

Strategic objectives for manufacturing, company goal examples to reduce cost.

Successful businesses are based on both goals and objectives, as they clarify the purpose of the business and help identify necessary actions Goals are general statements of desired achievement, while objectives are the specific steps or actions you take to reach your goal. Both goals and objectives should be specific and measurable. Goals can involve areas such as profitability, growth and customer service, with a range of objectives that can be used to meet those goals.

Business Profitability Objectives

A common business goal is to run a profitable operation, which typically means increasing revenue while limiting expenses. To reach this goal, objectives could consist of increasing annual sales by 10 percent or landing three new accounts each month. Expense objectives could involve finding a new operating facility that decreases your rent by $200 a month or cutting monthly utility bills by 15 percent.

Customer Service Objectives

Customer service goals could include reducing complaints by 50 percent over one year or to improve resolution times to customer complaints to a minimum of one business day. To meet customer service goals, objectives could include increasing your customer service staff from one to three workers by the end of the year or implementing a policy where customers are guaranteed to receive a return phone call before the end of the business day.

Retention of Employees

If you've experienced a problem with employee turnover, your overall goal could be to improve retention. To make this goal specific, you could measure the current turnover rate, like one employee in five leaves after three months, and decide to double this figure to six months. Objectives to meet this goal could include implementing a training program that details new-hire activities for the first 90 days on the job. You also could implement one-on-one bi-weekly meetings with your employees in an effort to build rapport and find out what's on their mind.

Efficiency of Operations

Another goal could be to become more efficient in your business operation as a way to increase productivity. To improve efficiency, you could set a goal of increasing shipping times from three days to two days. Objectives to meet this goal could include finding a new shipper, or improving production times to have units ready to ship before 10 a.m. each morning.

Growth of the Business

Perhaps your goal is to grow your business operation. If you own a franchise unit, for example, your goal might be to open three more units within a five-year period. If this was the case, your objectives could include scouting a new city once each quarter, or reducing your franchise fees by 25 percent for the next six months.

Chris Joseph writes for websites and online publications, covering business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from York College of Pennsylvania.

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7 tips for setting goals for your business plan

3-minute read

It's never a bad time to sit down with your team to set goals. A strategic plan with ambitious targets will help you grow, confront challenges and make adjustments to changing conditions.

“By setting goals, you mobilize your team and generate action,” says BDC Business Consultant Jean Joncas. “This is how you achieve your vision for the business.”

He offered some tips on how to plan and set goals for the year ahead.

1. Set measurable objectives

Setting financial and operational targets allows you to monitor your business’s progress through the year. They encourage you to hold yourself and your team accountable for your performance and push to reach your goals as the months unfold.

2. Plan your investments

Map out when, where and how you will invest to achieve your growth and efficiency goals. One important area to consider is boosting your commitment to technology. That’s an area where many Canadian businesses aren’t investing enough.

3. Target financing

Companies with ambitious goals often run into a roadblock when it comes to obtaining the money they need to grow, Joncas says. Plan now for how you’re going to  finance projects such as adding technology, machinery or real estate so as not to exhaust your working capital. It’s never too early to meet with your banker to discuss your plans.

4. Look at your HR needs

Growing companies also often have trouble finding skilled labour. This is a good time to plan your staffing needs so you can get a head start on finding the best people . Also, take a hard look at whether you currently have the right people in the right positions. It’s not easy, but the beginning of the year is a good time to make necessary personnel changes.

5. Check your radar

Gather as much information as you can about the external environment: The outlook for the economy, changes in customer needs and tastes and your competitors’ strategic direction. “You want to both protect your market position and be in a position to seize opportunities as they present themselves,” says Joncas, who advises businesses in eastern Quebec, including the Quebec City area.

6. Look to improve

What projects can you plan for the coming year that will improve your performance and efficiency in such areas as financial management, operations, sales and marketing, HR and customer service? “You have to challenge yourself to examine how you are doing things,” Joncas says. “As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

7. Work with your partners

One way to improve your products, processes and management practices is to seek the help of your partners—business associates, customers and suppliers.

“Growing companies often want to do everything by themselves,” Joncas says. “But you can often get further by partnering and collaborating with others.”

While rigorous annual planning is essential for building a healthy business, Joncas cautions that entrepreneurs should guard against becoming too rigid.

“You have to maintain the flexibility to adjust to changing conditions and seize business opportunities as they arise during the year.”

Set goals for your business

Last Updated: 6 July 2022

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Why goal setting is important, setting smart goals, example of a smart goal, achieving your goals.

Goals are an important part of running a successful business. They can give you a clear focus, motivate employees and set targets for your business to work towards.

Goal setting can also provide you with a set of criteria to see if your business is succeeding. Having clear, well-defined goals can help you take control of your business’s direction and increase the chances of achieving your larger business targets.

Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound goals can help you focus your efforts and increase the chance of successfully completing them. These aspects are important to consider when creating your goals.

Your goal should stretch you to be challenged, but be defined enough to be attainable. Check that your goal is something you have the time, money and resources to do. Ask yourself:

It's important that you can measure your progress. By assessing your progress, you can keep on track and measure whether you have been successful. Measurement methods can be data based, such as money saved and number of customers served, or they can be based on things like customer feedback and surveys. Ask yourself:

Ensure your goal is relevant to the direction you want your business to go in. For example, increasing profit, employing more staff, increasing brand awareness. Ask yourself:

When setting a goal, you should be specific about what you want to accomplish. Specific goals have a much greater chance of being achieved. Ask yourself:

A target date gives your business a timeframe in which to work towards the goal. A goal without a timeframe can easily be forgotten or pushed to the side. It's also important to set timeframes for the small goals along the way. Ask yourself:

Overall goal: I want to grow my gardening business.

Specific: I will gain four new clients for my business.

Measurable: I will measure my progress by keeping track of how many new clients I gain while maintaining my current client base.

Achievable: I will gain four new clients as I currently have four available spaces in my fortnightly client scheduling diary.

Relevant: Adding clients to my customer base will allow me to grow my business and increase my income.

Timely: I will have four new clients within three months.

SMART Goal : I will gain four new clients for my gardening business within a three month period filling my current available diary places. This will allow me to grow my business and increase my revenue.

Once you’ve got your list of business goals, you’ll need to get to work achieving them. Here are some things to consider when planning your strategy to achieve your business goals:

Set goals for your business using our business plan template

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Related Sites

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