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Ensure you reach your annual goals with these five smart tips.

Every business has a strategy and sets goals. End-of-year war-rooms are used to review the past year and plot what the following year looks like. Strategies are developed and tactics outlined.

And then the new year begins, everyone gets busy, and the plans fall by the wayside. You know it well: the tendency to create an annual list and then let it remain stagnant. To effectively reach your short-term goals for business objectives, it’s essential that they not only get divided into manageable tasks over shorter periods, but that they are tracked, reviewed, and where necessary, adjusted.

We’ve just entered a new quarter – and reviewing your goals with an eye to make changes should be at the top of your priority list.

5 ways on how to set short term goals for a business 

We’ve outlined five ways to get your business back on track, but before we look at them, keep this top of mind: By implementing goals in quarterly, monthly, or even weekly increments, you gain enhanced control, clarity, and focus on your activities, and you can align them to your key business objectives, significantly increasing your likelihood of success. So, while you review the previous quarter and plan ahead, break down your tasks into manageable and achievable steps.

 1. Reflect on the previous quarter’s performance: 

Begin by analysing the outcomes of the past quarter to identify successes and areas for improvement. Review key performance indicators (KPIs), financial statements, and any other relevant data to assess whether previous goals were met or exceeded. Determine which strategies were effective and which require adjustments, keeping in mind any changes in the market, competition, or internal operations.

Do this: Conduct a thorough SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to identify areas of improvement, capitalise on strengths, and address any challenges faced in the last quarter.

2. Align with long-term vision and objectives: 

Revisit your company’s mission, vision, and long-term objectives to ensure that your goals for the new quarter remain in alignment with your overall strategy.

Do this: Schedule a strategy session with key stakeholders to revisit and revalidate all long-term objectives, ensuring they are still relevant and adapting them to the current market environment, if necessary.

3. Set SMART goals: 

Establish new quarterly goals using the SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). Define clear targets and milestones for each department, team, or individual, as well as the resources needed to achieve these goals. Ensure that each goal contributes to your overall business strategy and growth plan.

Do this: Don’t forget about resources. Many businesses set goals – and timelines – but do not give their teams the resources they need to achieve them. This could be anything from financial outlays to simply ensuring that people have the time they need to complete key tasks.  

4. Involve your team: 

Engage your employees in the goal-setting process to create a sense of ownership and foster collaboration. Hold team meetings or workshops to gather input and ideas and ensure that everyone understands their role in achieving the new quarter’s objectives. Open communication channels will enable you to identify potential challenges, gather feedback, and facilitate innovative solutions.

Do this: Organise brainstorming sessions or workshops with your employees to gather diverse perspectives and ideas, fostering a sense of shared ownership and commitment to the new quarter's objectives.

5. Monitor progress and adjust as necessary: 

Establish a regular review process to track progress and performance throughout the quarter. Set up periodic check-ins with your team to assess whether goals are being met, and if not, identify the reasons behind any shortfalls. Use this feedback to make data-driven adjustments to your strategies or resources to optimise the likelihood of achieving your objectives. Be prepared to adapt and pivot as needed in response to changes in the business environment or unforeseen challenges.

Do this: Establish a performance dashboard or tracking system that provides real-time updates on goal progress, enabling you to make data-driven decisions and quickly adapt your strategies if needed.

There are many ways to set up and achieve effective quarterly goals. The key is to maintain momentum. Find a system that works for you and your business and stick to it – don’t let your strategy sit on a shelf growing dusty. Strategies should be living, breathing documents that change throughout the year.

Also read: Creating a Vision Board: Why and How

About the Author

Lebohang Kgaye
Senior Manager: Marketing & Communications, Sasfin Business & Commercial Banking

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