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Business Goal Setting for 2024 – How to use SMART goals to plan your business success.

Written by Eastwood & Co on .

The close of 2023 brings with it a time of reflection for New Zealand’s small to medium-sized business owners. The year has tested resilience, adaptability, and the entrepreneurial spirit. As we stand on the brink of 2024, it’s evident that the path ahead will remain challenging for the foreseeable future. Yet, it is precisely during such times that the discipline of strategic business goal setting becomes a lynchpin for business stability and growth.

Crafting a well-thought-out set of objectives is not merely a proactive measure. It’s an act of steering your business consciously through potential upheavals. Goals rooted in a strategic vision ensure that your business is not just reacting passively to market changes but actively shaping its destiny. They are beacons that keep you focused on progress, even when the economic tides are against you.

The Tangible Benefits of a Goal-Oriented Business Approach

The difference between businesses that set strategic goals and those that don’t is comparable to ships at sea. One charts its course, harnessing the winds to its advantage, while the other is tossed by the waves, directionless. Businesses without strategic goals can find themselves in a cycle of reaction. Meaning they miss opportunities for innovation and growth due to a lack of clear direction. They risk falling into stagnation, an all-the-more dangerous state when economic conditions are volatile.

In contrast, businesses that engage in strategic goal setting can turn even the most challenging conditions into opportunities. Goals act as a rallying point for your team, aligning efforts and fostering a culture of achievement. They also serve as milestones that punctuate your business’s journey, offering moments for celebration and momentum-building. The end-of-year period, often quieter and more reflective, is the ideal time to distil your learnings from the past and convert them into a strategic vision for the future.

Harnessing SMART Goals for Reflection and Proactive Planning

As we usher in the new year, it’s time for New Zealand business owners to reflect on the lessons of the past twelve months and to chart a course for a brighter, more successful future. The SMART goal framework (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) is an invaluable tool in this reflective and planning process. It provides a clear structure for business goal setting and identifying objectives that are not only aspirational but also actionable and achievable.

Here’s a great video ( ) which explains what SMART goals are.

Specific Business Goal Setting:

The Starting Point for Purposeful Action In the context of an annual review and planning cycle, specificity means pinpointing areas of your business that have the most significant potential for growth or improvement. Reflect on the past year: What were your biggest wins? Where did you face the most significant challenges? Use these insights to set specific goals that address your business’s unique needs. For instance, rather than simply aiming to “increase sales,” a specific goal would be to “expand the customer base by 25% through targeted online marketing campaigns.”

As part of The Alternative Board, we guide business owners through ‘The End of Year Sequence,’ a process designed to enable reflective evaluation of the past year and strategic planning for the year ahead. This helps to ensure that each step aligns with our proven coaching methodologies to foster business success and growth.

Make sure your goals are measurable:

Gauging Progress and Success Measurable goals provide a way to track progress throughout the year, offering regular checkpoints to assess how your business is doing against its targets. This could involve financial benchmarks, customer satisfaction scores, or other relevant metrics. By quantifying your goals, you establish a clear means to evaluate what’s working and where you need to adjust your strategies.

When setting business goals, ensure your goals are achievable and attainable:

Balancing Ambition with Realism Reflect on your business’s capabilities and resources as you set achievable goals. Consider what is realistic given your current situation and what might require additional resources or changes in your business model. Achievable goals should stretch your business’s potential without overextending your means, ensuring that you maintain motivation and momentum throughout the year.

Business goals should be relevant to your business objectives:

Aligning Goals with Business Vision Each goal should serve your broader business vision, contributing to long-term success and stability. In setting relevant goals, reflect on your business’s core values and long-term strategy. How do each of your proposed goals serve the bigger picture? This ensures that every objective you set is a step towards the future you envision for your business.

Time-bound goals are best to focus and create action.

Creating Urgency and Focus Finally, assigning a timeframe to each goal creates a sense of urgency and focus. Decide on deadlines that are challenging yet reasonable, and consider breaking larger goals into smaller milestones to maintain a steady pace of progress. As the year unfolds, these timelines will help keep your business on track and adjust your action plan as necessary. If time management is not your strength, this is an area that Eastwood & Co can assist with. Check out our recent article to learn how to develop good time management skills.

Why Eastwood & Co chooses the SMART framework for business goal setting

Deepening the SMART Framework with Eastwood & Co At Eastwood & Co, we understand that business goal setting is more than an annual ritual. It’s a cornerstone of strategic business management. Our role is to help you delve deeper into each aspect of the SMART framework. We ensure that your goals for the new year are not only well-defined but also deeply integrated into your business’s operational fabric.

With our “Guide to Business Goal Setting” worksheet, you’ll have a practical tool to facilitate a thorough and thoughtful planning process. And when you’re ready to take the next step, we’re here to support you with tailored business coaching that aligns with your unique challenges and ambitions.

Download the “Guide to Business Goal Setting” worksheet here, and let’s start the conversation about how Eastwood & Co can partner with you to make 2024 a milestone year for your business. Contact us now and together, we can turn reflections into directions and ambitions into achievements.