For a business to survive, and ideally be profitable, it needs to achieve results that keep it financially viable. It’s easy to set lofty goals such as being the number one distributor of your product in the region or even more modest ones such as meeting budget. Depending on the current situations of each business, these goals may even be equally achievable or challenging. If you just started a business and are new to all this, then you may be confused on where to start and how to define your initial business objectives. BizOp provides some good advice on starting your own business so it’s a good resource if you are new to all this.
However, to increase the likelihood of achieving those goals, a business needs to be more specific about the milestones needed to get there. When a business plans out the steps and milestones needed to achieve a goal, it is a business objective. It details out the specific measurable milestones or steps needed to achieve a given goal.
So to define your business objectives, first use a brainstorming session focused on your goals and ways to achieve them. This may include research into similar companies and/or crowdsourcing ideas from employees and customers. You want to spark ideas and receive feedback on how important, effective, and feasible they are.
Next, take that data and look for similar patterns to create broad categories like Diversity and Inclusion, Customer Satisfaction, Sales & Marketing, etc.
Using the categories and data, take some time on the wording of your business objectives. Remember that the difference between a goal and an objective is in the details. Be specific about what areas, teams, and methods will be focused on. Determine measurable methods and milestones, using exact numbers where possible. Make sure the numbers are challenging, but also attainable versus idealistic. Specify a specific deadline to hit these points.
Specify time, such as a half-way point, to evaluate your progress and also a reflection time after the deadline to determine how well you achieved your objective and steps moving forward. Business objectives may change and also may affect other ongoing or future objectives.
The most common business objectives focus on the following categories:
- Profits/ Growth
- Customer Service
- Attracting and Retaining Employees
Let’s see this in action with a few examples.
Example Goal 1: Experience Growth
Example Business Objective 1: Increase sales by 10% by the end of the fiscal year by creating new partnerships and offering membership deals for returning customers.
Example Goal 2: Have the Best Specialists in Our Field
Example Business Objective 2: Attract and retain quality employees by offering competitive salaries, benefits, and perks while also increasing team building and leadership opportunities by 10% for the coming year.
Example Goal 3: Be a Greener Company
Example Business Objective 3: Encourage recycling and reuse to reduce paper consumption by 25% each year with the goal of being paperless in 5 years and partner with the Plant-a-Tree Foundation on charity and volunteer initiatives.
Example Goal 4: Be #1 in Customer Service
Example Business Objective 4: Raise our Customer Service Rating from 3 to 4.5 stars by increasing customer service and conflict remediation training by 20%, providing monthly update and feedback opportunities, and offering a new FAQ page on our website.