Let’s not talk in circles: all businesses have one primary goal. Profit.
Unless you’re a non-profit organization, you’ll probably want those $$$ to multiply at the start of the next fiscal year.
The real question here is: how to set business goals and objectives that will skyrocket your revenue.
Define goals and objectives, and you’re ready to race.
That’s easy, right? Just sit down, talk, and jot it all down, and voila! Yet, I’ve encountered that many organizations don’t have a clear direction when starting a project.
This could be a challenge when they’re building a website. Why? Well, their online presence is much more than just fancy-looking web pages. It’s a valuable extension of their business.
Your business is doomed from the very beginning, especially if it’s a digital business relying on its site for success.
While working with clients worldwide, I decided that Flow Ninja isn’t going to be just a Webflow design & development agency.
We are a Webflow business partner.
That’s why our #1 step in every project is setting up or reviewing the goals and objectives of our clients.
In the following guide, I will go through the process of setting up business goals and objectives. It should help business owners, entrepreneurs, and everyone else running or being part of a business.
Most importantly, I will discuss how having a defined direction can help with website design and, ultimately, with making a profit. Read on.
Goals vs. Objectives
Before proceeding, let’s make a clear distinction between these two terms.
According to a Hubspot blog on goals vs objectives, goals present an “achievable outcome.” Let’s say you want to increase customer satisfaction — that’s a good example of a goal. They’re usually abstract and qualitative.
Objectives are the simple steps you make to achieve your goals. They’re concrete and measurable.
For example, to achieve better customer satisfaction, one needs to: measure satisfaction, identify improvement areas, revamp a customer loyalty program, provide customer training, implement a customer feedback system, and so on.
There are plenty of things you can do. Of course, you have to define what’s relevant and most effective for your business goals.
Why Business Goals and Objectives Matter
Just like in life, goals and objectives keep organizations in place, give them purpose, and help them succeed.
Entire departments and individual employees will be defined based on the goals and objectives. From interns to C-level positions: all need to know what they’re striving towards.
It's like a game of chess: each piece has its own purpose, and the players move them according to a strategy to win the game. Without understanding the purpose of each piece, the game will be lost. The digital age made goals and objectives even more important.
I realized this as soon as I started my professional career.
Poorly defined or undefined goals and objectives can have a butterfly effect online with colossal consequences.
It starts with frustration and confusion from employees and partners and ends up a failure. Except this time, the failure can be witnessed by millions of people surfing the web.
What did I do?
I redefined my approach when starting to work with clients.
I decided I didn’t want to make $50k websites that are basically fancy interactive business cards. I want to help my clients succeed.
It’s not about having a website. It’s about reaching goals.
Steps to Setting Business Goals and Objectives in Your Company
When Flow Ninja starts working with a client, we go through a discovery process. We developed it to help us understand the client’s direction and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Incidentally, many clients found our discovery workshop helpful to define their direction further and ensure everyone is aligned within their organization.
I covered this process in detail in my video on tips for running a smooth project.
It’s the first thing I cover, so feel free to check it out. You’ll also find some valuable docs in the video description that can help you kickstart a discovery workshop.
The steps I will describe below are in line with the discovery workshop at Flow Ninja.
Let’s check them out and see how you can define goals and objectives clearly.
Assess the Current State
Before defining goals and objectives, knowing where you’re at as an organization is important.
There are various ways to determine this, including PESTEL, Porter’s Five Forces, VRIO, and others. I like to stick to the basics by using the SWOT analysis. You might have to combine several of these in some cases, but let’s focus on SWOT for now.
SWOT stands for:
- Strengths — What gives you an advantage? What makes you stand out from the pack? What value does your organization provide to its customers?
- Weaknesses — What limits or impedes your performance as an organization? Does something affect customer satisfaction?
- Opportunities — Are there any external factors for potential improvement or growth?
- Threats — Are there any risks or challenges internally or externally that will put your business in danger? Are there some competitors that can put you in danger?
The questions above are just some of the things you can ask yourself and your team that help you perform a SWOT analysis.
This Semrush blog on SWOT has a helpful analysis template with all relevant questions for all four aspects.
Some items on the list will be self-evident. If you have a strategy that makes you stand out from the competition, write it down in the strengths section.
However, SWOT does require research-backed claims. You need relevant stats that will give you a clear overview of what makes it to the list.
For example, if your bounce rate on the website is 95% and much higher than competitors, you’re doing something wrong with the site. Write that down in the weaknesses section.
Pick Three Priorities from Your SWOT Analysis
Your SWOT analysis is complete. Now what?
Like it or not, some of the listed items will be much more relevant than others. You should pick at least three most relevant ones.
Let’s say your site visitors aren’t generating expected revenue, and you determined that this is affecting your organization. It’s listed under weaknesses and is currently the #1 impediment for you going forward. You want this solved.
List it as the #1 priority, but make it actionable: engage & convert more new website visitors.
Do this for two additional SWOT items that are considered #2 and #3 priorities.
Are these goals?
No. Not yet. But we’re going to turn them into goals soon.
This is where SMART enters the play. I use SMART goals in my discovery workshop, and it’s helped me move mountains.
As you may have guessed, SMART is an acronym, and it stands for:
These all describe your goals and how they should be defined. Improving the visitor conversion rate won’t cut it. What does, though?
Here’s an example:
“Increase the conversion rate of new site visitors from 2% to 4% by the end of the next quarter by implementing A/B testing, optimizing landing pages and creating compelling calls to action that match my target audience's needs and preferences.”
Use Your SMART Goals to Set Your KPIs
Goals are great, but we need a way to track and measure the performance toward achieving them.
Once we establish them, we need to see what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are relevant and how we can implement them to track progress.
Some overall KPIs businesses use in general include total revenue, gross profit margin, customer retention rate, ROI, and more.
But what about specific goals?
For our conversion rate example, some KPIs would be conversion rate (duh!), bounce rate, average time on page, click-through rate, cost per acquisition, and more.
This is where we can start introducing objectives: concrete actions everyone within an organization needs to do to reach goals.
Establishing goals and objectives is half the work.
The second is forming habits within your organization to commit to fulfilling the objectives and reaching goals.
If you’re a business nerd like me, you know that this is where the fun starts. Regular meetings, automation tools, project management platforms, and joint calendars: sunds like heaven!
But I’m not going to meddle in your company’s inner workings.
Every organization should have a method to motivate team members and stay on track regarding goals and objectives.
Track Your Progress and Optimize
Business goals and objectives aren’t carved in stone.
Industries change and evolve faster than ever with ongoing technological innovation. So should your organization! Businesses that failed to revise their goals when the age of the Internet began were left behind.
How does one do that?
Follow the news and trends and adjust your actions accordingly. Ideally, you should revisit your goals occasionally and see whether they’re still the SMARTest possible.
Also, regularly check your KPIs to see if some processes need to be changed or if there’s room for further optimization.
Easier said than done? Definitely. But not doing it means dropping out of the race.
Also, don’t forget that the site needs to change and grow as you’re measuring your progress. After all, it’s an embodiment of your business goals.
Ready to Publish Your Ideas?
Every successful business starts by understanding its direction and devising concrete objectives that help it succeed.
A site that achieves your goals needs to be an inseparable part of your goal strategy.
If you fail to determine goals and objectives, your website won’t deliver either — simple as that. Instead of delivering your values and being a digital extension of your business, it will just be a nice-looking PowerPoint presentation.
But we can help you with that.
Flow Ninja is ready to conduct a discovery workshop with clients before working on your site. Feel free to reach out to learn more.