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What Are Business Goals? Definitions, Examples, & How to Effectively Set Them

Published October 25, 2022
/ Updated November 2, 2022

Running a business without clear goals is like heading out on a trip without a destination. At the end of the day, you’d have depleted your resources, lost motivation, and still not gotten to your destination.

It’s little wonder that setting business goals is one of the most critical elements of running — no matter the company’s size or location.

But what are business goals? Why are these goals so important? What are the types and examples of goals you can set? And how can you set business goals that work?

Read on to find the answers to these questions.

Business Goals Essentials

Definition Of Business Goals

A business goal is a broad and overarching target or outcome that a business wants to achieve in the short or long term.

Here are some excellent examples of business goals you can set:

  1. Maximize profits
  2. Increase revenue
  3. Launch new products
  4. Improve customer service
  5. Increase management efficiency
  6. Become a thought leader or industry expert
  7. Rank higher on the search engine results page
  8. Increase the company’s social media presence
  9. Create an employee reward or loyalty program

While often muddled, business goals and objectives don’t mean the same thing. Business objectives are usually short-term, measurable actions to achieve a company’s overarching business goals. Business objectives are typically set up to achieve a business goal.

CoSchedule marketing goals flow chart

If your goal is to get to a destination, then the objectives (to achieve said goal) would include filling up your fuel tank, grabbing a map or loading the GPS, and driving within the speed limit.

So, for instance, if you have the goal of improving your website’s performance on the SERP, some of the objectives to achieve such a goal could include the following:

  1. Writing and publishing one new blog post or article per week
  2. Getting ten fresh backlinks from authoritative websites
  3. Optimizing or refreshing existing blog posts to update information, remove dead links, etc.

And so on.

Importance Of Business Goals

Setting business goals gives your organization and team members targets to strive towards. Without goals, your business won’t have a clear sense of direction and could, quite frankly, inhibit your company from attaining the successes it otherwise would have.

Some other reasons why you need clearly-defined goals for your business are:

Measure Progress

Goals help you track and measure the areas in your business where you’re succeeding or making progress. You’ll also be able to identify the areas that need a bit more work.

For instance, if your goal over the last six months was to gain at least 30 new leads monthly, then you should have no less than 180 leads by now. If you have less than 180, it means there’s an issue, and you need to find out how to fix it.

Provide Clarity

Remember that setting a business goal is like having a destination in mind before embarking on a road trip. When you have business goals, what you want to achieve (or your final destination) is evident in your mind and the minds of your team members.

Set Targets To Work Towards

Having goals helps you set the targets you want to meet for your organization. You’ll be motivated to do more and set even bigger targets as you set and meet the current targets you’re working towards.

Inform Decision Making

Another reason why business goals are essential is that they help inform decision-making. When you have a goal, your decisions will be geared toward achieving said goal. That way, you don’t even bother taking specific actions since they don’t align with your business goals.

Keep Everyone Accountable

Original research from CoSchedule shows that marketers who set goals are 376% more likely to report success than those who don’t. Because these marketers set goals (decide to do something), they follow through and take the necessary steps to achieve the said goal —making them more successful than those who don’t set goals.

Types of Business Goals

Now that you know what business goals are and their importance let’s examine 6 broad types of business goals.

Social Media Business Goals

Social media business goals are goals you set to ensure the time and money invested in social media aren’t wasted. With over 4.7 billion social media users today, it’s a no-brainer to set business goals that maximize how you can use social media platforms to win more business or grow your authority.

Some social media goals to set could be to increase website traffic from social, grow your followers count, and generate new leads from social media.

Financial Business Goals

Financial business goals are either short or long-term goals a company sets consistently to increase revenue generated or improve profit margins.

Examples of financial business goals you can set include reducing expenses, making investments, and increasing the prices of products and services.

Employee Business Goals

Employers or employees usually set employee business goals to align with the organization’s goals and objectives. Most times, these employee business goals are tied to performance.

Some goals you can set for your employees include learning new skills, doing things faster and better, and improving communication with team members and customers.

Customer Business Goals

Without customers, you’ll barely be in business. You must set business goals that reflect your customers’ importance.

Customer business goals increase customer conversions, retention, and loyalty. Examples of such goals could be to increase response time, improve customer satisfaction, and create a customer loyalty program.

Process Business Goals

A process business goal involves taking specific actions or processes to achieve a simple, short-term goal. The goals here are usually low-risk and within the control of the individual setting them.

Examples of process business goals could include completing a checklist before publishing a blog post and reaching out to 10 new people daily on LinkedIn.

Time-based Business Goals

Time-based business goals are goals set to be achieved within a specific period. These goals are either short-term (between days and a few months) or long-term ( between months and years).

An example of a short-term time-based business goal could be to improve customer service within 90 days, while a long-term goal could be to generate more revenue at the end of the year.

How To Set Business Goals

The technique you use in setting your business goals is just as—or even more—important than the goals themselves. If your goals aren’t set correctly, you’ll spend time, effort, and resources on unproductive endeavors.

So how can you set business goals the right way? One of the most effective techniques individuals and organizations worldwide use is the SMART goals formula.

SMART goals stand for:

  • Specific: Your goal must focus on one clearly defined metric.
  • Measurable: You must measure your goal against that defined metric.
  • Attainable: You need to be able to achieve the goal within a specific timeframe.
  • Relevant: Your goal aligns with your company values and objectives.
  • Timely: Specify when you can achieve these results.

S.M.A.R.T goals graphic by CoSchedule

Let’s consider a SMART business goal example:

“By the end of Q4, the sales department will convert 200 new leads into customers (a 20% boost from last quarter) to boost revenue.”

Specific: “By the end of Q4, the sales department will convert 200 new leads into customers (a 20% boost from last quarter).”

This specific goal makes clear what the sales team needs to achieve.

Measurable: “200 leads into customers.”

Here, the sales team knows the metric they’ll use to determine whether they achieved their goal or not.

Attainable:  “200 new leads into customers (a 20% boost from last quarter).”

This goal, with reasonable efforts, is attainable considering the sales team converted 160 leads into customers in the previous quarter.

Relevant: “To boost revenue.”

Increasing sales conversion is relevant because it directly ties to how much revenue the organization can generate.

Timely: “By the end of Q4.”

December or the end of Q4 is a clearly defined deadline for this goal to be accomplished. Having this date in mind helps the team avoid procrastination and other forms of time-wasting.

12 Common Examples Of Business Goals

Here are examples of 12 goals you can set today in your business.

1. Increase Profits

It’s not simply enough to generate a ton of revenue, especially when you have small profit margins. That’s why organizations often set the goal of increasing their profit margins. They usually do this by lowering expenses or increasing the prices of their products and services.

2. Expand Market Share

Introducing your products and services is a great goal if you want to attract more prospects or customers. This goal indirectly also helps businesses increase their brand awareness.

3. Drive More Sales

Driving more sales is perhaps one of the most common business goals ever. Everybody wants to make more sales, and how you achieve this specific goal often affects the other goals.

4. Secure Funding

This is a common goal for startups or businesses that need a considerably large sum of money from investors to run their operations more smoothly.

5. Develop Stronger Relationships With Stakeholders

A positive and strong relationship with stakeholders is vital to the realization of any project. You can achieve this goal by having the communication channel between you and your stakeholders open at all times and involving the stakeholders in decision-making.

6. Grow Brand Awareness

You cannot light a lamp, place it under a basket, and expect it to illuminate a dark room. Similarly, you cannot hide your products and services and expect your target audience to find you.

That’s why it’s essential to grow brand awareness. The more people are aware of your business, the higher the chances your potential customers will find you.

7. Increase Website Traffic

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective and cost-friendly ways businesses today generate leads. By increasing your website traffic, you attract more leads, improve your website’s authority on search engines, and build trust with your audience.

8. Reach New Audiences Or Demographics

Reaching new audiences, demographics, or markets helps you improve your brand’s presence and makes you stand out from the competition.

9. Improve Customer Experience

Your customers are your business’s lifeblood. As such, it’s not surprising that many companies aim to improve their customer’s experience with their brand. With improved customer experience comes higher customer retention rates, lower acquisition costs, and, sometimes, brand evangelists.

10. Enter New Markets Or Territories

Entering new markets allows businesses to reach even more people and increase profitability. Before entering new markets, however, you must first conduct thorough market research.

11. Diversify Lead Sources

It’s not practical for businesses to rely on a single lead source. Why? The business will likely suffer when leads from that source dry up. That’s why it’s vital to set the goal of diversifying your lead sources. So, when one source begins to dry up, you can always turn to the other sources.

12. Improve Employee Retention

Your employees are a crucial part of your business, so paying attention to their needs and satisfaction is essential. One goal you can set for your business is to have incentives or programs that increase your employee’s productivity and makes them want to continue working with your company.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Business Goals Examples?

Some common business goals examples include:

  • Increase profits
  • Diversify lead sources
  • Grow brand awareness
  • Expand to new markets
  • Increase website traffic
  • Improve employee retention
  • Drive more sales or generate more revenue
  • Execute marketing strategies efficiently

What Are The 5 Goals Of A Business?

Use the SMART goal-setting formula to develop your five business goals. This means any goal you set should have all these five elements.

Your goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

What Are The Types Of Business Goals?

The different types of categories of business goals are financial business goals, employee business goals, and customer business goals, among others.