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How To Set Realistic Business Goals That Will Still Help Employees Grow

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As the leader of a growing business, you might be tempted to set your goals high and hold your employees to meeting them. You and your team likely have a ton of great ideas and are eager to pursue each of them, but aiming too high can actually be detrimental to your business’s growth and success.

Rather than setting unattainable standards for yourself and your employees, take your time when developing your business and each worker’s path to ensure sustainable, measured growth. Below, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council shared ways to set realistic business goals that will still stretch limitations and build your team’s skills.

1. Review Your Historical Numbers

Forecasting is an absolute art. Setting high forecasts that you can’t hit will be demoralizing to your team while setting low forecasts won’t push your team enough. Finding the balance is hard. Historical numbers and growth rates are the best way to get back into reasonable KPIs for your 2022 year. If your revenues have historically grown 30% YoY, but you have recently doubled your sales team, perhaps predicting 60% might be reasonable. No matter what assumptions you use to build your business goals, make sure to let everyone know that KPIs and OKRs must be malleable and should be reviewed quarterly to make sure they’re in line and achievable. – Cooper Harris, Klickly

2. Monitor And Scale Back As Needed

Err toward aggressiveness in the beginning, and communicate that to your team. That way, if they hit the original goal, they’ll know they really knocked it out of the park. Monitor progress on the goal over time and scale it back a bit if necessary. That way, your employees will know that you’re aware of the progress toward the goal and are smart enough to know that it needs to be tempered back a bit. That will improve employee growth and they’ll most assuredly reach the secondary goal. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

3. Start With Your Customers’ Needs

Referring to your customers’ needs is a solid way to set up business goals. Start by looking at your audience’s pain points and what you need to offer to solve them. Then make a rational assessment of your skills, resources and the time you need to meet your audience’s needs. In this way, you can come up with realistic goals that will keep you on your feet. Also, any business that is customer-focused will never run out of ideas or goals that challenge it. There are always ways to improve your product features, onboarding, communication, customer support and more. Just listen to your customers on social media or ask them directly for what they want using feedback forms. Their feedback and pain points will give you fresh goals that will push you to do better. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

4. Road Map Regularly

Regular road mapping is an excellent way to set clear, measurable goals that align your team with your long-term vision and mission. By breaking your road maps down into monthly, quarterly and yearly road maps, you can break lofty goals down into clear steps that can be achieved with the proper resources. In addition, building a road map with key contributors enables you to brainstorm, find and implement the best ideas to reach and exceed your goals. With key contributor buy-in, you’re able to ensure your team is on the same page and ready to work toward lofty goals. If the plan isn’t working or could be improved, the regular interval road map check-in allows for plenty of room to adjust strategy and keep you on track to reach or exceed your goals. – Fehzan Ali, Adscend Media LLC

5. Break Goals Into Smaller Steps

To set realistic business goals that push you in the right direction, it’s important to break them down into smaller steps. This makes them more achievable as looking at the end goal can make you feel exhausted and overwhelmed. When creating your goals, it’s also crucial to make them as specific as you can. Following SMART goals is an easy way to create specific, measurable goals that help you grow a successful business. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

6. Allow Ownership Over Goals

Don’t set goals for the sake of setting goals. Goals help give an organization and its workers an aim and direction. They are a good way to improve employee performance and that’s that. This means goal setting isn’t a completely rigid process. When executing, things change, and goals should account for that. Also, goal setting should involve employees as well. If you hope to develop talent with goal setting, then managers and employees have to be actively involved in setting them. People tend to perform better if they feel ownership of their goals and the means of achieving them. Add to that that individual goals of employees and departments should be aligned to an overarching company goal that helps everyone feel like they and their work matter. It’s all about executing at the end of the day. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

7. Understand The Purpose Behind Each Goal

What is your purpose in coming up with the goal? Ask yourself who will benefit from the goal. If the goal will benefit just you, check your heart for if the goal can be changed to benefit more people. Come up with goals based on the data you have at the moment and not just wishful thinking. The goals should be realistic and guaranteed to happen and ready for a possible crisis in case of an emergency. They should also be rewarding for everyone and have a bit of riskiness to encourage more people to put their hearts and souls into accomplishing them. At the end of the day, it should be a mix of having unselfish goals and encouraging more people to push their limits to aim for having the best of both worlds. – Daisy Jing, Banish

8. Do A SWOT Analysis

Complete a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. This will help you identify your challenges before you start setting goals. When you know your challenges, it’s easier for you to think strategically and come up with realistic goals that can help you solve your problems and overcome your challenges. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite



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