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Setting Business Goals - Giles & Liew Chartered Accountants

Setting Business Goals – Time to kick off 2020

February 3, 2020

Define Success

If you want to have a successful 2020 then you need to start by defining what success looks like for your business before it really kicks off.  Once things get going it’s easy to get bogged down with working in the business on an everyday basis rather than working on your business.  So, take some time now to really think about what you want to achieve in your business this year, what success would look like and then consider an action plan or initiatives that you need to put in place to make them happen.

Set Goals

The great thing about a plan is that it is not set in stone.  Having goals in place means that at any point in time you have a reference point to see how you’re tracking, what stage you’re at and how far you’ve got to go.  If you are regularly monitoring your results against your plan you can make adjustments so that you can still track towards your goals, or perhaps you might identify goals that need to be changed.  A good plan will allow you to analyse your business, alongside your intuition or gut instinct which many business owners rely on.

Start with the big picture; why are you in business?  Have you defined your values and your purpose?  Where do you want your business to be in 3 – 5 years’ time?  What is your strategy?  Having these clearly defined will make it easier to set business goals that will help you achieve your vision.

Take a moment to look backwards; when you’re setting goals for a new year it’s important to consider how last year went.  Looking at past performance will help to identify which areas you need to improve, or keep the same, and you can assess what worked and what didn’t.

Once you know where you’ve come from and you have the big picture in mind as to where you’re heading you can really get started on setting your goals for the new year and make a plan on how you’ll achieve them.

Craft a Plan

While there’s plenty of online templates for business goal setting and planning, the best way to do this is to focus on what really matters to you and keep it simple.  Set goals that allow you to challenge yourself and your team, but don’t be unrealistic.  Take a holistic view of your business, don’t just target the financial measures; and while considering factors that could impact your business, you will need to focus on what’s in your control.

The SMART acronym is a good guide to help set meaningful goals that will keep you on track, here’s an explanation of what SMART goals are:

  • Specific – be really clear on what the outcome needs to be, not the output of effort required to get there, make sure you are specific enough that you will know when you’ve reached your goal.
  • Measurable – it’s easier to manage what can be measured, we’ll cover KPIs soon which makes it easier to break goals down to measurable targets. It also keeps you accountable to your goals if you can measure progress.
  • Attainable – while your goals should motivate you and challenge you, they need to be achievable. It can help to break them down in shorter timeframes to help see how you can hit the BHAG (big hairy audacious goals).
  • Relevant – set goals that are relevant to your business, to your vision and that are of interest to other stakeholders in your business.
  • Timeline – when do you want to achieve the goal by? Consider setting goals for the mid-term and long-term, this will give you a chance to measure success in the interim.

Once you’ve established what your goals are you will need to prioritise them – be crystal clear on what you want to achieve now, and set aside things that can be done later.  You want to be able to focus your time, energy and resources on the right things in order to get the results you desire the most.

Share your goals with your team.  Goals will help ensure that you can clearly communicate your future plans with everyone in your business, this helps to engage and motivate employees, in turn, improving productivity and business performance.  You can celebrate success with them, they know what you are aiming for and they can get on board for the journey.

Determine KPIs

With your goals in place, you can set what your key performance indicators (KPIs) will be, these will aid you to measure your progress so that you don’t just set and forget your goals – think of these as measures of your success.  Set some KPIs or benchmarks on what success would look like – you could do this on a monthly or quarterly basis.  KPIs are unique to each industry and to each business depending on what you are aiming to achieve.  It might be helpful to google KPIs for your industry to get some examples that you might like to use, or at least get you headed in the right direction.

KPIs need to add to your business success.  You don’t want to measure everything.  Consider if an improvement in the KPI measurement is going to address a problem or improve your performance to help achieve your goals.

Having KPIs in place and measuring your results against them on a regular basis – most often monthly or quarterly, will keep you accountable and ensure that you can make changes along the way to make sure you achieve the goals you put in place.  Ideally you will want real time information that allows you to track your business performance.

Just as it’s important to share business goals with your team, sharing the KPIs with the team also allows them to understand the impact their work is making.

Create Deadlines

Throughout the exercise of setting your goals and identifying your KPIs, you’ve probably thought of some great ideas on things you can do to achieve them.  Identify these initiatives, set deadlines on them that align to the changes required in your KPIs and identify who is responsible for each initiative – now you’ve got yourself an action plan for success for 2020.  We can’t wait to see you smash it!

  • Your first action is to set aside time for planning & goal setting – do it now.
  • Set your business goals, monitor & measure them regularly, take action & stay focussed.
  • Remember to ask for help when you need it.


About Lorren Kilgour

Lorren Kilgour - Director, - Giles & Liew Chartered AccountantsWith over 15 years of experience in the accounting software industry and a background in business process improvement and change management, Lorren is an expert in helping businesses to streamline their processes and consolidate their systems.  She helps business owners to adapt quickly to advancements in technology, identifying the technology they need to adopt to create efficiencies and stay competitive and helps to implement such successfully into their businesses.

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