My last blog post talked about how to create your strategy and how to think about it. The next step is to set your goals and objectives. Most entrepreneurs want to go straight to tactics after their strategy is created. Without the proper goals and objectives you’re really floating through the year and do not have a way to measure your success.
Jim Collins stresses the importance of goal setting and measurement. It is a thought process and a way of thinking that you have to adopt. If your organization has always been #1 it’s not easy to start thinking this way. Successful companies and CEOs know the right balance for their company. They will often ask before a project or idea gets approved—what are the goals and what are our objectives? Marketers, business owners and executives need to be able to formulate and articulate those goals easily. Goal setting is a way of proving your strategies and poking holes in your ideas before you get to execution.
Before you set objectives define what you’re doing. Most companies fit into one or many of these categories:
1. Establishing a new business
2. Bringing a new product or service to market
3. Creating a market
4. Loss of market share
Think about objectives as a slightly more detailed way of conveying your strategy. You should be able to talk about your strategy in 2-3 sentences. If you cannot articulate it in 25 words then go back to the drawing board. Nobody wants a +20 page PowerPoint on your strategy.
Find common themes – Divide your strategies into areas that share common themes. This will help you determine the goals. Sometimes it’s easier to boil your strategies down to a theme or a word—those are your objectives.
I like working backwards and establishing strategy first and then setting goals and objectives. Some people like to start with the objective and then go deeper. There’s no right way to do this, so do what you’re comfortable with.
How to set goals – Ask yourself how you’re going to achieve that strategy. Remember strategy is what you want and goals are how you’re going to achieve what you want. For example, if one of your strategies involves bringing a new product to market, you’re going to want to raise and build awareness around that product. Awareness is most likely going to be an objective.
What does that look like?
|Awareness||-Raise + build awareness of new product
-Increase new product usage and adoption
|Create new product as first-to-market, revolutionary client innovation||-Media mentions, public relations coverage
-Number of customer downloads
-New client inquiries
Like many businesses you’ll have multiple objectives, goals and strategies. The most difficult part of setting strategies and goals is boiling everything down to a few objectives. Remember, keep it simple.
Measurement is the toughest part of defining what success means to you and your company. You can get very detailed and define by time period, use percentages and real numbers. For example, if media mentions and coverage are one of your success measures how often will you measure that? What do you define as a press mention? How many mentions and for what time frame? How many full articles do you expect? What publications do you define as successful media outlets? What influencer mentions matter? How many? You get the idea….
Measurement, setting goals and objectives is just that: a guide, a way to see, if what you’re doing is reaching the bottom line.Will you have to go back and tweak? Of course, you will. In today’s fast moving environment companies of all sizes must continually revisit goals and refine. I’ll talk about establishing a plan in my next post and how you have to be nimble in today’s environment.