Developing a business strategy includes setting particular goals and objectives for the long, medium, and short term and defining – at a high level – how they are to be achieved. It is good to differentiate goals and objectives – despite common misconceptions, they are not the same thing. Broadly speaking, goals are the high level things you want to achieve, whereas objectives are the things that you are going to do to achieve them.
Sample goals might be:
- Provide faster and more accessible information for members in 2015.
- Grow the membership or client base by at least 30% by the end of the second quarter.
Sample objectives might include:
- Ensure all members have received system training by 12 November 2014.
- Establish a social media strategy, engaging and connecting with users by next month.
It is also a good idea to identify both qualitative and quantitative goals. Qualitative goals include, for example, the type of audience you want to reach and what products or services you want to provide to them. Quantitative goals are numerical targets to be reached in a specific amount of time. Examples would be membership or customer numbers achieved, and volume of products or services provided. Goals and objectives should be detailed enough to form the basis of your delivery strategy and they should be SMART:
Specific – Well-defined to avoid misunderstandings (e.g. what's expected, and when?)
Measureable – Allows you to be motivated toward the achievement and track your progress
Attainable – Realistic in terms of your capabilities, market/organisation type, and time frames
Relevant – Will actually assist your small business or organisation
Time-Bound – Agreed time frames to meet each short, medium and long-term goals
Case Study: Education Sector – Leonie Smith, 'The Cyber Safety Lady'
In this video excerpt, Leonie Smith talks about setting goals so that she would "know where [she] was going". She set some challenging goals for the first two or three years of her business and "hit some of those goals within months of setting them, which was really quite scary."
Not Everyone has a Well-Developed Strategy
If your organisation has developed organically, there is no need to stop what you are doing. If it has worked well for you, that's great. You may wish however to take stock – reflect, evaluate and review – and then, based on your learning in this course, decide what are the next steps for your organisation to take advantage of online technology.
As an example of an organisation that developed their technology strategy in response to business growth, we interviewed Helen Perris who runs her own singing, song writing and tutoring business.
Case Study: Arts Sector – Helen Perris: singer, song writer and tutor
Helen Perris started off in a small way performing gigs, then released two EPs and started to work on an album; this changed her profile significantly. As Helen describes in this video, "My success is down to preparation meets opportunity". Later she adds, "Lots of people were interested in my music, so I thought I should probably start really taking this seriously. So I set up some social media accounts and started promoting my work".