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Strategic Goal Planning for Savvy Businesses

By: Lisa Patrick

 

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A strategic goal is a statement of what you want to achieve over a specific period, i.e the next year or the next two quarters. It involves careful analysis and lots of brainstorming, because after all, your goal(s) will set the course for the strategies you formulate, actions you take, and dollars you expend.

Analyze your business, environment, customers and competitors

Conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and examine your core competencies (unique selling points, skills and capabilities) to understand what you may be able to achieve realistically. Brian Tracy explains why SWOT is important. ‘If you can make an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, your threats and vulnerabilities, your areas of potential opportunity and the areas that might be holding you back, you’re in a perfect position to begin looking forward to the future, to decide where you want to go and what you want to achieve,’ says Brian.

Look at the current business landscape. Where is your industry headed? Are there opportunities you can seize? How can the present environment affect your goals in the near future? Keep in mind that external factors are beyond your control. Your operations should align with as opposed to challenging or working against your industry environment.

Talk to your customers; ask them what they want from you in the coming year or next six months. Customer feedback is extremely valuable in setting goals as well as informing product/service development and determining revenue forecasts.

Check out the competition. Gain a better understanding of competitors’ products and competencies. Don’t just focus on existing competitors; analyze how easy or tough it is for new players to enter the market. Also identify if there are any alternatives to your product/service that may interest customers.

Establish specific goals based on your analysis and conclusions

The analysis described below will provide a foundation for shaping business goals. You may need to work on a current challenge before setting a meaningful goal. You may conclude that your business needs to revamp itself to adapt to the rapidly changing industry environment. These discoveries define your goals.

  • For a challenge confronting your business, your immediate goal should be focused on solving the problem. Anything from poor customer service to high attrition rate can affect your company’s image or bottom line. Your priority should be fixing service issues and boosting employee morale.
  • Your product faces the risk of stagnating as newer competitors enter the market. It makes good business sense to make product improvement or innovation a critical goal.
  • You’ve identified opportunities for business growth. By acquiring new skills and expertise, you can enhance your top line. Develop an appropriate goal focusing on acquisition and expansion.
  • For all companies, profitability is the primary goal. But you can become a trend-setting brand without actually turning a profit. If you’re in this situation, develop a longer-term goal focusing on becoming profitable.
Some goals will be harder to achieve than others. Don’t let challenges get in the way of setting the right goals.

This article was originally published by Convention Business Travel

Published: July 31, 2014
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Lisa Patrick

Lisa Patrick is the Chairman and CEO of Convention Business Travel. She is a savvy, innovative, business-focused executive with a strong network and proven track record with corporate and strategy. Lisa started her career in law enforcement and is now the founder of several successful startups. Lisa prides herself on building relationships first and conducting business next. Today, she successfully balances business, marriage and motherhood.

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