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The nature of, and the environment in which we work is dramatically changing – workplace culture trends are widespread and optimism post-covid is running high. Going into 2024, it is important to set business goals and be clear about what you’re trying to accomplish.
You may have heard of some of the more popular goal-setting strategies, such as SMART goals and OKRs – both these strategies are put in place to navigate the process of achieving goals.
A SMART goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive – by forming your business goals for 2024 around this structure, you will be able to gain perspective on the steps you must take to achieve it. The SMART goal formula avoids businesses setting unrealistic goals that will scarcely be achieved.
An OKR (Objectives and key results) goal is a framework that helps businesses define their goals and then track the outcome. The OKR structure aids businesses and employees to achieve change in days instead of months – first used in the 1970s, this goal-setting framework has been around for a long time and is proven in its effectiveness.
Types of goals
There are many categories of goals, such as financial, operational, and customer based. These categories are fairly self-explanatory – financial goals relate directly to your business bottom line and improve the overall profitability of the business, whilst operational goals may be associated with a production line or increasing the efficiency of back-end procedures, and customer-based goals can be exercised in the hopes of improving their experience and interactions with your business.
No matter the category that your goals fit into, they should all contribute to the advancement of the overall business.
Short term goals
Short term business goals are ones that can be achieved in a quarter or less. Whilst you may think that creating short term goals is easy, it can be incredibly challenging – often businesses ask too much of themselves when creating their goals for that quarter. The very nature of establishing set goals is to take a measured approach to improve some aspect of your business.Don’t overextend yourself and your business – set goals that you know you can meet and inspire your staff to progress towards those goals.
All that being said, shorter-term goals should be flexible, if something isn’t working you can augment your goals to fit the changing environment. Keep the end result the same, but feel free to change the processes you undertake to get there.
9 Short term business goals for your business
1. Hire your first employee
You may have just started your business, or you could be an established player in your community – regardless, hiring your first employee is a critical milestone in the future success of your endeavour. Hiring an employee represents growth and a step up in the business world to a multi-person business.
2. Improve productivity
Productivity can be measured by the amount of output from the level of input put in – your business is productive if your employees work hard, and their work is subsequently reflected in either more sales or higher profits. Improving business productivity can be done by setting goals to either reduce waste or sell more products. Businesses that are more productive will prosper and spend less time and resources on needless projects to help with growth. Challenge yourself and your employees to set goals to increase their productivity today! Products such as the Square POS system provide improved workflow and efficiency for your employees to ensure they spend most of their time doing the right things to grow your business!
3. Provide awesome customer service
Setting a goal to provide great customer service is one that should be constant throughout all quarters. Businesses that excel at customer interactions are more likely to retain those customers and extract more purchases from them. Leaving a smile on your customers face will help your business grow through word of mouth and organic reach. Steps such as greeting and farewelling customers can have an instrumental impact on their perception of your business and the friendliness of your staff. Try it out with your staff.
4. Acquiring customer feedback
Setting the goal of acquiring customer feedback is super important if you want to improve your business and exceed the expectations of your target audience. Square Customer Feedback is a tool that makes this possible – experience what your customers see and learn how to excel at providing the ultimate browsing experience. Businesses who take on board customer feedback are more likely to succeed as customers feel as if they are valued and heard – making them feel good about shopping with your business!
5. Team building
If you have 1 or more employees other than yourself then your business is a team, a team of people working together to get you more sales! The saying ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ is incredibly accurate in the way that it paints the power of teamwork. People who work together in harmony are likely to be more productive and achieve greater things for your business. Engaging in team-building exercises with your employees will make them feel valued and they will enjoy their job!
6. Increase website traffic
It’s common sense, the more visitors to your website, the more likely you will gain higher sales – as long as your conversion rate stays high then the aforementioned statement will be accurate. Having a fully functioning website is critical for business success as it provides legitimacy and confidence to potential buyers as they seek to browse your products online. Platforms such as Square Online help business owners build strong and fast websites that can facilitate the purchase and payment for products. Create a website with Square Online and see your sales grow as your business reach increases.
7. Increase market share
This goal is based on your target customer. The purpose of increasing your market share is to sell more of your product to your primary customer, and in turn, boost your control over the market. For example, if you own a burger store then your goal should be to sell more burgers or open new locations to increase your market share. The more effort you make, the more perfect customers will flock to your business.
8. Maintain profits
Profit doesn’t last forever, and if your business doesn’t innovate and create new ways to turn a profit then it may negatively impact the future of your operations. Maintaining profits as a goal can look like retargeting campaigns and encouraging past customers to repurchase. Financial goals are often the ones that business owners strive most to meet as it directly affects their hip pocket. To effectively maintain profits, you must balance revenue with investments – not expanding too fast without having the previous sales to justify the expansion. Businesses that have healthy profits and a good cash flow are likely to get better investment deals and succeed overall.
9. Decrease debt
Decreasing your business debt can be both a short-term and a long-term strategy to increase the profitability of your business. Having too much debt can negatively impact an investor’s view of your business – paying down your debt at the earliest convenience will show the lender that you are a good borrower, this will be critical if you plan to take on debt to expand in the future.
Ultimately, business goals are critically important to ensure that your business does not become stagnant, but rather continue to flourish in an ever-changing environment. Owners who understand the importance of goals and setting them are likely to achieve their success milestones faster and with more precision.