Can you believe it is already 2022? We all know that there is no actual difference between the minutes directly before and after midnight, but something is still refreshing about a new year.
A new year is the beginning of a new chapter in our families, personal lives, and especially our organizations. It is an opportunity for us to purposely reflect on the previous year and set fresh goals for the new one.
Let’s talk about something real quick: 2020 and 2021 were rough. We have experienced loss, heartache, and a whole lot of fear. Yet, in the midst of it all, there has been a glimmer of hope.
There has been a radical change in our world as we have learned to prioritize “what matters most.” Although challenging, these past two years have reshaped our entire society.
We must pause and reflect on these past two years because we won’t move forward effectively if we don’t. We must name the highs and lows of our past to move forward, grow, and bring about change in the world.
And that is exactly what we want to help you do!
We want to help facilitate a conversation on setting better business goals and objectives for the New Year. We want to see YOU thrive. We want to help those who do good do more.
That “doing good” requires a bit of grit, though. It requires setting our eyes on the prize and doing the necessary things to strive toward that goal and obtain it. So let’s talk about it!
Why it’s important to set goals
Every company has a specific mission and vision statement (and they absolutely should if they don’t!) Proverbs 29:18 puts it this way: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Having a clear mission in mind is the standard for a healthy organization to reach its goals.
This vision or mission statement should encompass the overall aim of the company. This statement may include what problem they want to solve/address, who they are serving, and where they are heading as an organization. Here are some great examples of mission statements from various nonprofits, organizations, and churches.
- Releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name is a mission about love. We love God, and we demonstrate our love and live out our faith by extending care to others and living out the meaning of compassion. (Compassion International)
- Commonplace was born out of a desire to love coffee and love people. We fell in love with coffee as much as we loved serving it to people. We see coffee as a way to build community; as such, we see Commonplace as a community builder – a way to care for people through making beautiful coffees in neighborhood spaces. (Commonplace Coffee)
- Life.Church wants to make a lasting difference in your life, in our community, and the world. Our mission is to lead people to become fully devoted followers of Christ. That's how we can make a difference, and it's the driving force behind everything we do. (Life.Church)
Mission statements are the thing that all goals should be filtered through. These statements serve as a guide that directs all goals set in the company. If a goal goes against this statement, you should rethink it. Before any goals are set, crafting a solid mission statement is the starting point.
But why is it important to set goals as a company anyway? Does it matter in the long run? Our good friend Apostle Paul has written extensively about this very topic. We think he has a few good things to say.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Other parts of the Bible, especially Hebrews 12, use this language of “running the race.” The theme in both instances is the same: the way to effectively run is to set your eyes on the prize.
Setting your eye on the prize is of the utmost importance when setting goals, but what about the race itself? Imagine you were going to run a marathon. You wouldn’t just wake up one day and say, “hey, I’m gonna run that marathon today.” That decision would yield some pretty poor results (and maybe even a hospital visit!).
Before ever putting “sneaker to pavement,” you would follow a series of steps to adequately prepare. You would purchase a suitable pair of running shoes and apparel, modify your nutrition and diet, and follow a strict running curriculum. You may even run shorter races in preparation, learn to rest and recover, and build up your cardiovascular through other types of exercise like weight training or swimming.
You cannot just reach a goal without proper technique and, what Paul would call, “strict training.”
Aiming to win the prize requires both a prize to fix your eyes upon and the necessary preparations to run the race well. If you neglect to train or run well, the result will be weariness and even disqualification.
This biblical language translates so well to what it means for us to set better goals for our organizations and utilize the right tools to reach those goals.
How to Set SMART Goals
Setting goals for your business requires training, an eye for the prize, and much wisdom. It also requires insight, reflection, and being smart throughout the process. And by smart, we mean SMART. Behind this simple word is a handy little acronym we can remember when setting our business goals:
We need to be intentional about our goals if we want to be effective as organizations! Let’s walk through this helpful guide together as we approach setting better business goals and objectives for the New Year.
When setting goals, we can’t just go into it blind, throw a bunch of ideas at the wall, and see what sticks. We have to get very specific with the goals we are setting or else we may get distracted and even overwhelmed.
To get specific, ask yourself these five simple questions
These 5 questions are the outline for others questions to ask. Within each of these starting questions follow a series of other questions to ask to shape specific goals:
- Who is involved? Who are we reaching? Who do we want to impact?
- What do I want to accomplish? What resources, tools, and people do we need to gather?
- When do we want to reach these goals? When do we want to do this specific thing?
- Where (digitally and physically) do we want to do this thing?
- Why does this goal matter? Why are we doing this?
The answers to these questions can be a lot more in-depth and stir up extremely specific discussions within each one. For example, the question “why?” may begin a deeper conversation on the heart behind your mission and why you even do what you do. However, it is good to start pretty generally with these questions. There will be ample time to dive deeper into these questions throughout the rest of the SMART method.
This part of the SMART process is probably the least exciting for dreamers where logical information isn’t necessarily our strong suit. However boring it can be, setting measurable goals is an important part of the process. We can dream all we want, but we must set realistic goals we can measure (to an extent) numerically.
Measuring your goals is helpful for both tracking your progress and also keeping motivated through the process of working toward your goals. To go along with the running metaphor, it would be like doing a time check throughout a marathon. Seeing the actual number that measures your progress can push you to move forward, slow down, and keep pace. Also, numbers don’t lie. You can’t argue with the facts.
When setting measurable goals, questions you may ask can include:
- What date will we reach x?
- How much money, time, resources do we need for x?
- What is our numerical goal for followers, engagement markets, donation dollars, etc.?
These questions will naturally bring along even more questions with them about the specifics of our goals. Each organization will have different goals for different seasons (or quarters) of their organization.
For example, maybe your main goal in 2022 is to increase your overall engagement online through your social media pages. This is the specific goal, but the next step is to make it measurable with statements like:
- Our goal is to increase our followers by 50% by Easter 2022
- Our goal is to have YouTube channel 500 subscribers by the end of August
- Our goal is to increase our online giving by 25% by Christmas
Setting an actual numerical goal can be tricky because it could be discouraging if you don’t reach the number. However, it is a learning process. These numbers can motivate you to either swing higher or aim just a bit lower. You always want to keep in mind your mission, budget, and various other goals when setting these measurable goals.
Let’s come right out and say it: not all of your goals are realistic. Yikes, that’s a bit of a bummer. But this is a good thing to recognize!
We have type A in our world to keep type B in check. We need the dreamers to create the ideas and motivate the realists, but we need realists to keep the dreamers within the appropriate lane and focused!
While dreaming is a great thing, we need to cool our jets, take a step back and evaluate whether our goals are attainable given our time frame, budget, and other resources.
If you’re untrained, it is unrealistic to think you can run a marathon successfully a month from now. That goal is, in a sense, unattainable. However, if you sign up for a marathon a year from now, you are giving yourself adequate time to train and prepare. Your goal is much more attainable in this case.
Questions to ask may include:
- What is our budget for this goal?
- Do we have the people to do this goal?
- Do we have enough time?
It can be tempting to set out to reach a goal without doing the prep work. So let’s shift gears and talk about baking. You can gather some random ingredients for a cake, throw them together, bake them up, and get a result. But the odds of your result being a Great British Baking Show-level masterpiece is slim to absolutely none.
Instead, taking the time to gather the relevant ingredients, measure them accurately, follow the baking instructions, and decorate with intentionality will yield a much better result. We have to set achievable goals and follow the necessary steps if we want to achieve them well!
Sorry dreamers, we’re gonna cramp your style a little bit more. Sometimes, we can go overboard with our goals and do a bit too much. Then, we throw things at the wall and cling to absolutely everything that sticks.
However, doing too much at once can hinder the progress of our goals. We try to master the art of multitasking, but this doesn’t work as well as we would like to think it does.
Multitasking relates to our goal setting because oftentimes, we try to multitask our goals. We try to do too many things at once, and we end up being way less effective in all of our efforts. Neuropsychologist Dr. Cynthia Kubu says this about multitasking:
The more we multitask, the less we actually accomplish because we slowly lose our ability to focus enough to learn. If we’re constantly attempting to multitask, we don’t practice tuning out the rest of the word to engage in deeper processing and learning.
If you want to achieve your goals, you need to take some time to consider what goals are relevant to your overall organizational mission. You need to ask:
- Is it the right time to do this/can it wait?
- Are there other organizations better equipped to do this?
- Will it reach our target audience?
- Is it worth the effort?
- Does it reinforce our mission?
For example, consider social media. While it may feel like you need to be on every single social media channel possible, not all of these platforms are relevant to your mission. They may reach a small percentage of your audience, but you have to truly weigh the cost of splitting your time between too many social media pages at once. Focusing on 2, maybe 3, social media platforms is a realistic goal (that is, if you have a dedicated creative team).
We want to quote Paul again from 1 Corinthians 10:23: “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything"—but not everything is constructive.
Let’s be clear, Paul is talking in a specific context involving sin and idolatry, but we can glean some wisdom from this.
While we have the right and ability to do different things as an organization, not everything is beneficial or constructive. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. It is wise to avoid particular goals if they are irrelevant to our overall company mission.
This aspect goes hand in hand with the “Measurable” part of this acronym, but it is worth continuing the conversation.
Setting goals requires being driven, organized, and especially time conscious. As we go about our activities day in and day out, it is good to set a date for meeting certain goals. This keeps us motivated as we move along in the tasks of our job.
For marathon running, it is the equivalent of signing up for the marathon on a specific date. You know that on October 7th, you will be running a marathon. Having this “deadline” is a great motivator because you know precisely when you need to finish your training.
The questions to answer are simply:
- What date do I want to reach this goal?
- What quarter will we accomplish this goal by?
- When is the deadline for x?
Have you ever seen those giant fundraiser thermometer charts? You fill up the thermometer, line by line, until the whole thing is filled red when the goal is reached. It is so motivating to see that chart fill up donation by donation. This is the same concept we should apply to the deadline. The closer we get to the deadline, the more motivated we become!
The SMART method is a great framework for setting better business goals and objectives for the new year. We can get specific with our “why,” measure our goals and set time-sensitive deadlines.
The best part of chasing these goals is that you’re not doing it alone! You have an entire team of dreamers and achievers alike who can work together to set out your goals and do your best to reach them.
Our team at Pro MediaFire is committed to helping those that do good do more. Our team of designers, web developers, administrators, and others are experts in their field and can help you plan (and realize!) your company's goals.
There is so much good in store for 2022. We believe your organization is going to see growth like never before. And your impact and influence are going to change the community around you.