"No company can afford not to move forward. It may be at the top of the heap today but at the bottom of the heap tomorrow, if it doesn’t." — James Cash Penney, founder of JC Penney
Are you constantly striving for growth and success, and do you know what it takes to get there?
Companies — whether they’re big or small — have goals for growth and success. These goals give businesses a benchmark to reach or exceed.
These goals can be profit related, customer-related or brand-related. Some companies need more sales, some need more traffic and others need a wider brand awareness.
For instance, 82 percent of small businesses fail because of cash flow problems. This is due in part to a lack of profits, but also due to poor allocation of funds. If money is something that your business worries about, it’s important to set up a plan to get yourself out of the red.
But whatever the goal, it’s vital that one exists. If not, how can you know if you’re making progress or moving forward? Everything might look all peachy keen on the surface, but it could all fall apart in the blink of an eye.
You can always start small, but you need to be strategic about your plans and your objectives. There needs to be a set goal within a set time period. You need to have a way of tracking your progress as well and documenting it for further analysis.
And you need to be realistic.
Businesses need to grow to succeed. But this doesn't just happen overnight. Businesses need to plan, strategize and follow through with their plans.
Sometimes, these goals and initiatives can get lost along the way if they aren't planned and delegated in the right way.
If you’re looking to take a more ambitious, realistic and strategic approach to your business growth goals, it’s important you follow these seven steps to set up the perfect goals for your business.
"Companies that grow for the sake of growth or that expand into areas outside their core business strategy often stumble. On the other hand, companies that build scale for the benefit of their customers and shareholders more often succeed over time." — Jamie Dimon, President, and CEO of JPMorgan Chase
When it comes to running a business that succeeds, you need goals. And you need a way to keep yourself accountable for these goals.
A great way to do that, and the first thing to do, is to write it all down. By writing it down, you're making it real. You're committing to following through on your plans and taking a stand.
It's easy to say you'll do something and then never get it done. In meetings, on phone calls and even in emails -- we all say we can do something without putting in the effort and commitment to truly see it through.
When it comes to setting up your own strategic plan, you need to sit down and work on a strategy in writing. And you need to include more than just the goal that you want to achieve.
You have to comprehensively outline the problem and how you think this path will lead to a solution. You need to understand the steps involved and the resources you'll need. You need to put effort into creating a plan otherwise it'll never get done.
Just like it's important to write it down, it's important to understand why you're doing it. If you don't know why you're trying to increase brand awareness or drive more website traffic, you won't have any idea on where to begin in the first place.
Businesses should always grow and adapt. Change is inevitable and change is healthy. But growth and change for the sake of itself aren't doing anybody any favors.
If you're changing up your website design without any data or numbers backing up the reasoning behind it, or the steps that will lead to the solution, you could be doing more harm than good.
Now, giving your website a facelift can be a good thing for driving traffic and increasing conversions. But before you set out on this task, it's important that you understand why this task can lead to success.
Is the content on your website unclear? Are the CTAs easily missed? Is your loading time lagging? Is your overall design outdated and unorganized?
What will changing your design do to get you to your results? If you're not sure, this is the point in time where you need to find out.
Get data, perform analytics and dig deeper into the problem at hand. That way you can decide on a solution that works.
We win some, and we lose some. That's just the name of the game -- but you can learn from your past experiences to create a business plan going forward that succeeds.
What avenues or paths have led to successes in your past? What plans fell through?
Taking a hard look at where you've come from and what you've tried can help set you up for success in the future. It helps you see what you've done wrong, what you've done right and where that sweet spot of success really is.
Taking this strategic look is also good because it can help you unearth the heart of the problem. Are you having trouble keeping your employees? It could be because of problems with management, or it could be a greater problem with the company culture as a whole.
Pinpointing these problems in greater detail, and taking a closer look at what you've tried in the past can help you come up with a solution that's right for you.
Deciding on specific goals is imperative for driving business success. In fact, many studies -- including one from the American Psychological Association -- have found that setting specific, concrete goals and objectives and consistently monitoring them throughout the execution timeline will breed better results in the end.
So, although you might understand, to some extent, the problem and how to solve it, you may not be looking deep enough to understand when and why your goals are not being met.
Conversely, you could also run into a problem if the goals you set are too broad or generic. If you're just looking to increase profits, but not looking at specific avenues or areas where you can make changes, you won't be able to truly plan it all out.
What's more, you won't be able to track your results as clearly or effectively. Specific, detailed and comprehensive goals are a great way to drive success and growth.
Hence, it's important you take the time to truly unearth the problems and outline the paths towards growth that will help get you there.
Getting from A to B isn't just a hop, skip and a jump away.
To meet your business growth goals you need to establish the steps that need to be completed in great detail. You need to know where you're starting, what platforms or software you may have to use, and at what step of the way certain tasks need to be completed.
At each step of the way, you need to be checking in and understanding what needs to have been accomplished by this point. It will take time and dedication to increase sales, so make sure you're outlining the steps it'll take your business to get there.
It's not just running sales and hoping for the best. It might require a series of initiatives -- like marketing campaigns, email blasts, e-commerce website redesigns and more in order to hit the marks you're aiming to hit.
It's at this time that you should also get an understanding of the costs of this goal and what it'll cost at each step of the way. Driving growth isn't free, so you need to know what you're willing to spend and what it will cost to meet the results you want to meet.
Your business isn't a one-man show, even if at times it feels like it is.
You have a whole team of professionals that can help you reach these goals, and you should be utilizing them. You should make it known what your goals are and what their priorities need to be.
You need to break down the tasks and responsibilities that are going into reaching this goal and delegate responsibilities accordingly. Growth is a team effort, so it's vital you get yours involved.
This also makes it easier to check in with your team and see what the progress is. If a small group or individual is involved in one aspect of this process and is actively communicating and engaging with the team as a whole, then you're more likely to see success -- and fast.
This will make the review process a breeze as well and open up a time to start analyzing results and pushing for your next benchmark.
If you're not tracking your progress, you'll never succeed. I mean, you might, but you'll never have concrete proof of it.
If you're trying to increase web traffic, use analytics tools to see where people are coming from, where on the webpage they're landing and what content they are engaging with the most. This can help you see what areas of your website are lacking, and what you can improve on.
Listen to your customers. Ask for their advice and feedback. If there's an aspect of your product that needs adjusting or an area of customer service that's lacking, use this information to your advantage and document it.
If you're trying to keep employees from leaving, ask them what aspects of the company they like and don't like. Start implementing new measures or initiatives and constantly check in to see if they're working or not.
And don't just track your progress at the end. You should be constantly checking in, crunching numbers looking at analytics.
This is a process that ebbs and flows. What worked at the beginning might not continue to work, and you may need to adjust. If you're keeping track of your progress, you'll be better prepared to adapt going forward.
Depending on your history and past successes, you might have different goals for growth in the future. You might want to increase cash flow, create a bigger online presence or drive traffic.
All of these goals can benefit your business and give you the push you need to achieve success. But if you’re not sure where to start, these examples should help put you on the right path.
Increasing revenue is one of the biggest tasks that businesses undertake as a major growth goal. This makes sense, of course, as driving revenue and increasing profits will keep companies in business.
Companies should always be looking to increase their revenue and profits. Even if you're in a good place financially, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be trying to do better.
But this is a great overarching goal to have that allows you to make a variety of changes and improvements in a variety of different areas -- from design to marketing and more.
Increasing your profit is necessary, but still not enough for the true financial health of your business. What’s also essential is having enough cash at your disposal at any given point so that you can cover your upcoming liabilities.
In other words, you have to ensure that your business is liquid. As it was already mentioned, more than 80 percent of failed small businesses reported that they had collapsed due to some sort of cash flow problem.
And having enough money in your hands at all times is important for more reasons than just being able to pay your dues. It gives you the strategic freedom to invest when the time is right. It’s crucial that you avoid missing out on convenient investment opportunities, and it’s even better if you can do that without taking any loans.
Hence you need to outline how to maximize cash flow and minimize the liabilities of your company. One of the ways to make this easier is to adopt cash accounting.
This accounting method takes into consideration only cash transactions. No accounts receivable, no future income, nor any other, less liquid asset are included. This way you can make sure your incoming liabilities never exceed your current financial capabilities.
Employee retention is a big one for a lot of organizations. If you can't keep your own employees with you and your brand, how can you expect to keep customers?
We're entering a world where company culture is vital. Inclusivity and diversity are two hot-button issues in the working world, and it's important that companies are constantly making sure they're creating an environment that is open an welcoming.
This can drive growth for your business because having invested employees means better products and better innovation. If your employees want to work for you and love the work they're doing, they'll do a better job.
If an employee feels like their company is investing in them, then they'll be more likely to stick with them and do the best work that they can possibly do.
In an age of social media, brand awareness and brand identity are everything. First impressions are important -- on social media, in person and online. Forty-eight percent of consumers say that they're more likely to be loyal to a brand after their first, positive interaction.
This means that your brand needs to be on top of its game at all times. You need to create a unified experience across all channels in order to spread that positive brand identity.
Consumers these days want companies that care. They want to see the human piece of a brand or organization. And increasing this awareness can work to get you that visibility and spread the positivity.
Eighty-four percent of consumers complete a purchase and choose a product due to a referral. Therefore, the more you can get your brand name out there, the more people you can reach and the more products you can sell.
Good customer service is a great way to establish trust between you and your audience, as well as give them an avenue to contact you and voice frustrations.
If you have poor customer service, you will likely lose current consumers and drive away prospective ones.
People want to engage with a brand that cares about them. This means that brands have to ready, willing and attentive to consumer needs and desires.
A great way that brands have improved their customer service has been through 24-hour chatbots or customer service teams that are available any time a customer has a problem.
Consumers will be more loyal to your brand if you show dedication to improving your customer service. They want to know that you're a real person, not just a corporate entity.
This improved customer service is a great goal to work towards because it will help establish authority and trust, and will provide your audience with a positive experience they can share with friends.
Website traffic can make or break a company. If people aren't checking out your website and your content, what's the point of creating it in the first place?
Your website can help do a lot. It can help increase awareness, it can help inform and it can sell. All of these things are great for business growth, so the more traffic you get the better chance you'll have.
Web traffic can lead to conversions and leads. This means that you can have more customers to reach out to, and more purchases being made.
Besides your website, there’s another aspect of your online presence that you need to take care of – your social media.
In this day and age, not having business profiles and accounts on some of the most popular social networks is almost as if your company doesn’t exist. To illustrate this fact, let's just mention that there are 70 million business pages on Facebook alone.
In general, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn are often first places where people will look to check who you are and get their first impressions about the credibility of your business.
So in order to make people interested in your company and your product, you need a plan on how to make your accounts look appealing and professional.
This may not be as easy as it seems since social media management is equal parts arts and science. You need someone who can be creative on one hand, but can also track and analyze the most important metrics on the other. A haphazard and erratic approach won’t do the trick and it can only hurt your business in the long run.
Since 1990, small businesses have grown and shaped the job market in drastic ways, adding eight million jobs to the overall economy. It’s through strategic planning and outlining that these businesses have been able to grow and expand.
It’s important to have a business plan and set goals. But it’s also important to understand everything that they entail. It’s not just about deciding on a goal or objective and hoping you reach it eventually.
You have to plan it out, outline steps and be specific.
You have to understand the costs that go into it and the resources that you’ll need. You need to delegate responsibilities and assign actionable tasks that need to be completed. And you need a way to track it all at the end of the day.
Being realistic about your goals and dedicated to reaching them can make the difference between a business that flourishes, and a business that falls flat. So you need to take the time and energy that is required in order to make sure you reach your specific objectives.
Understand the problem, outline a solution and take actionable measures to complete them. You can repeat this process as many times as necessary and for a variety of different goals.
Whether you’re looking to increase your profits or you’re looking to elevate your customer service, these steps are the tools that will help get you the outcome you’re looking for.
Plus, find even more business growth tips and top consulting firms who can develop a strong strategy on DesignRush.