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The Importance of Goal Setting

Your employees would love to know what they can do to not only be successful themselves, but to help the company succeed. The top goals are usually around revenue, profitability and customer growth.
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When I started VerticalResponse in 2001, we had 3 employees.  And our goals were as follows: to get as much stuff done every day as we possibly could. It's probably not the right way to do things but we were so small and nimble it had to be the way to do it.

Slow-forward to 2010, with close to 100 employees. That's not the way you can do things now. Everyone's job has gotten a bit 'nichier' and focused and we are looking at what things that need to get done at all levels to attain our overall goals.  And I'm not talking about just your senior-level managers, I'm talking setting quantitative goals at all levels of your business.

So now we've got a lot of hardworking doers that would love to know from us what they can do to not only be successful themselves, but to help the company succeed. And unlike in 2001, they don't necessarily know where to begin.

That's your job. And your goals need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely).

The first thing you have to do is to define your company goals. The top goals are usually around revenue, profitability and customer growth. You might also have goals about improved employee retention.

How can Sally help? Since Sally might be talking to customers the most, you might utilize her to do some marketing.

  • Ask Sally to establish how much traffic you got last month and increase it by 10 percent—whether it be traffic to your location or your website.
  • Find out how many times your business sent out a newsletter last month. Tell her you'd like a better customer response this month shown by an open rate increase of 10 percent, or you'd like her to add one more email campaign to the mix. This might also help drive that 10 percent traffic she needs.
  • Finally if you don't already have them, ask Sally to set up a Facebook & Twitter account to get more traffic and drive 100 new followers each month for each account. Also tell her you'd like her to post every day about something interesting.

How can Jason help?

  • Since Jason is a bit more operational and is familiar with your books, you might ask him to find 3 places where he thinks he can cut costs this month.
  • If you've got goals around improved employee retention, you might also ask him to look at better benefits if your business offers them, and ask him to do an employee survey this month to find how employees are feeling about the company.

If you measure your goals quarterly, halfway through the quarter sit down with staff and find out where they are and what you can do to help. If it's monthly do a quick check in halfway through the month. If you've got a great relationship with them, they'll have probably already told you of any issues that came up to prevent them from getting to these goals. Remember, if the goals are measureable and actionable and support the overall goals of the company, you'll know pretty quickly if they're on their way to attaining the goals you set. And more importantly, they'll feel like they've contributed a big part towards the success of the business.

Last updated: Aug 5, 2010

JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000.
@janinepopick




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