Goals and objectives are two important aspects of any business organization. They make the job of creating a visual blueprint for either the short-term or long-term future of a company easier. Having clear definitions of these two terms can help your team plan projects, talk about growth and also achieve success through collaborative efforts.
In this article, we define goals and objectives with some examples, discuss some tips for creating goals and objectives and also provide answers to some frequently asked questions.
What are goals and objectives?
A goal is an idea of the future or a result that a person or group of people envision, plan and commit to achieving. In clear terms, it is the summary of ideas that indicates where you hope to be in future. Either personal or business goals, they must be in line with your vision and mission.
There are certain features that define a goal and also determine an individual’s motivation to achieve that goal. Some of these characteristics include:
- Importance: The importance of a goal can range from high to low, as it depends on the relevance, priority and attractiveness. The two categories of goals according to importance are primary and secondary goals.
- Specificity: A goal is specific when it is qualitative with clear steps to make it achievable and it ranges from being precise to vague. A higher-level goal is vaguer than a lower-level goal, for example, wanting a seven-figure business is vaguer than wanting to increase your customer base from 100 to 500.
- Level of consciousness: This refers to a person’s awareness of a goal. Setting goals is the first step, but it is more important to constantly be aware of the goals and take evident steps towards achieving them.
- Complexity: A goal is complex when there are many subgoals to achieve the principal goal. The complexity of a goal also involves how one subgoal connects to another to achieve the main goal.
Examples of goals in the business industry include:
- Consumer goals: This refers to ensuring the customer/market gets the perfect goods or services. This type of goal involves an extensive form of market research to determine your target audience and how to please them.
- Product goals: Supplying an outstanding value proposition in contrast to other products is the aim of product goals.
- Operational goals: For an organization to run successfully, there must be certain operational structures in place. The future result of operational goals is to run the organization in an effective manner that ensures the best use of management skills, and other resources.
- Secondary goals: There are primary goals that are priorities while secondary goals are not immediate priorities. They can include budget expectations, social programs.
What are objectives?
Objectives are steps that make a goal achievable. They describe the actions that each employee, team, management executive and department take to achieve the goals of the company. If the goal is the destination, then objectives are simply the driving force that will help you reach it. In contrast to goals, objectives are more time-bound and measurable.
Below are some examples of objectives:
- Earn a minimum of 20% return on investment in a fiscal year
- Cut down the transportation costs by 10% within a year
- Encouraging employees to perform better by promoting 5 workers within six months
- Add three new products by the end of December this year
- Improving business operations by eliminating old technologies
Differences between goals and objectives
Some qualities that differentiate goals and objectives are:
- Goals are broad, general statements, while objectives are specific and measurable steps to achieve a goal
- Goals are the results, objectives serve as the means to an end
- Goals are intangible, while objectives are tangible
- A goal is an idea, objectives are results of facts
- Goals are for an entire team or organization, while objectives are for individuals and groups within a team or organization.
Tips for creating effective goals
Having a list of goals and achieving a large percentage of them is a good motivating factor for everyone. The following are steps you can take when creating goals for your business:
- Begin with a dream
The first step in creating realistic goals is dreaming of something you want to accomplish. It also involves thinking of a particular type of future for your business. As a business owner, you should have a clear view of how far you want your business to go and this is the first stage. Other ideas will come in during this stage, so it is important to write down every possibility, idea and dream whether big or small.
Some questions to ask in this stage include:
- What is the current position of your company?
- Where do you want your business to be ten years from now?
- What do you want your business to achieve in five years
- How fast do I want to achieve these goals?
- Goals should reflect the vision and mission of the company
One important factor to consider when setting business goals is the relevance to your business and how they fit your vision. A real-estate firm should set goals that revolve around providing affordable and luxurious housing options for customers. When your goals fit the company’s vision and mission, they become easier to achieve.
- Brainstorm with other members of your team
Once you have a clear and specific picture of both your short and long-term goals, the next step is to perform brainstorming sessions with your team. This is important to ensure all members of the organization are on the same page as you are concerning the future of the business. During these brainstorming sessions, get everyone’s thoughts, regardless of how insignificant an idea may seem.
- Sort your options
After these brainstorming sessions, the next task is for you to consider all the ideas from the team and sort your options. Rank them into different categories according to their level of importance to the growth of the business. You may also consider using the attainability, desirability, financial impact and time commitment factors to sort your options.
Tips for creating effective objectives
To build a successful business organization, a clear and consistent goal-and-objective setting process must be a regular part of your operations. To set the best objectives possible, you need to take these steps:
- Understanding value
To create actionable objectives that drive goals, understanding value and basis are the first points. It is important to note that without goals, it is impossible to set objectives. After understanding your value, you set goals, it is these goals that makes it easier to set better objectives. Here are some questions that help you understand the value of your business:
- What are some of our past success stories?
- What do we do differently from our competitors?
- Why do people pick us over other similar businesses?
- If we didn’t exist, what part of our business would our clients miss the most?
- Build a schedule
Schedules are some of the perfect tools that help you create consistent objectives. They give a sense of urgency that makes it difficult for you to take up tasks that do not contribute to the results. It is also advisable to map out as many actions as possible. Your schedule would constantly remind you of your goals and the steps you need to achieve them.