Your ability to finish your goal largely depends on how you start.

5 keys to setting business development goals and objectives

The new year never fails to bring resolutions – set by both everyday individuals and certainly business owners. As recently as 2019, the Australian Institute of Management launched its "This Year I Will" campaign, which was designed to embolden small-business owners to establish goals and objectives for the year and commit to actually achieving those desired ambitions.

Whether you and your company have just begun and are looking to make a name for yourself, or you've been going strong for awhile now and want to become more profitable, there's no time like the present to turn your aspirations into realisations.

Here are a few important reminders for how you can go about doing that:

1. Dive into the numbers

Perhaps the most important element to business development goal setting is settling on the right goal. For instance, you may seek to build a better company by increasing your customer base, which requires creative marketing efforts and brand messaging. However, there may be more immediate issues that require your attention, such as poor cash flow or an insufficient amount of working capital. Based on the most recent statistics available from Xero Small Business Insights, roughly 54.5% of small businesses in Australia are cash flow positive.

The only way to know for sure whether this or some other revenue problem exists is by taking a deep dive into your profit and loss statements to see where potential issues may lie. This also allows you to review past performance. Generally speaking, financial struggles should take precedence to marketing efforts.

Contemplative businessman looking at cityscape. Vision requires proaction and specificity.

2. Be as specific as possible

Specificity is key to business development because it forces you to chart out exactly what you need to do to reach your destination. Think of a road map. The only thing that maps do is tell you where you are. They don't tell you where you need to go. Let's say your objective is to increase efficiency or reduce inventory. Those are fine goal, but they're far too broad in scope. You have to clearly define what will be required to cut down on unsold products, whether that's by reducing prices or having a "buy one, get one" sales event.

3. Be realistic

Goals are supposed to be challenging, but they should still be achievable. For example, if you're just barely breaking even at the end of the year in sales but want to have earnings that are in the six figures, the chances of that happening are pretty slim. The best way to get there is by establishing quantifiable benchmarks – increasing sales by 10%, for example – and then build from there. Having high expectations is great, but it may lead to discouragement and abandoning the goal altogether if you find that you're coming up well short.

4. It's OK to fail

Some of the most successful entrepreneurs, authors, inventors and investors in the world have not succeeded in their efforts. And not just once – but several times. Fear of failure all too often prevents business owners from setting goals. Not coming through on your intentions serves as a lesson and can provide you with the insight you need into knowing what didn't work so you can better narrow down what will.

5. Set a deadline

The genius of AIM's 2019 campaign was the first two words. Instead of "someday I will," it was "this year." If you don't establish a target date, it won't provide the sense of urgency and immediacy required to achieve a challenge.

At Wilson Porter, our business is all about bettering yours. Through strategic planning, analysis of key performance indicators, wealth management services and much more, we can provide you with the solutions you need to grow.