Every successful business starts with a plan. Although there are companies that specialize in writing business plans, it’s important for an entrepreneur to be involved in creating their own. A business plan is more than a document used to get funding. It lays out the business’s strategy and goals to ensure it stays on track, especially in the early years. The more specific the goals are, the more value they will have to the company over the long run. Concrete goals are vital for a few reasons.

Establish Metrics

It’s difficult to measure anything without a goal. While goals can be adjusted as the business grows, taking the time to create initial goals gives the company a way to measure progress. These goals can help the business grow. They can also give the company a way to measure productivity and efficiency. By monitoring these metrics, a company can make adjustments as necessary to reach the goals.

Business owners can use enterprise software to monitor their progress on their own or hire financial analysts to watch the data and report changes. The benefit of having a financial professional on staff is that they can alert the company leaders about issues in real-time so they can make adjustments immediately. Sometimes these changes make a significant difference in whether or not the company reaches its goals.

Make Better Decisions

As a leader, the business owner needs data to make important decisions. The goals created and monitored in the early days, months and years of the company’s life help the owner make decisions that will lead to success. Goals help the company understand which data it needs to collect and analyze. Owners use the data to determine which products to keep and which ones to retire. It may also use data to decide when to hire more staff. Without goals and the data used to measure progress, business owners have to rely on instinct and educated guesses to make business decisions.

Boost Morale

Achieving a goal can be a great morale boost for a new company. Of course, reaching a goal means setting a new one but before doing that, it’s important to celebrate. Marketing, sales and front line workers need to know the company’s leaders recognize the impact they have on the company’s overall performance. Many companies offer their staff a bonus when they reach key goals. When goals are clearly defined, the leaders know when they are approaching them. By showing appreciation to everyone who played a role in reaching the goal, the company can show that it recognizes everyone’s hard work and dedication.

Once the company achieves a goal, company leaders need to set a new one. Goals should be realistic but should also stretch the company slightly beyond its comfort zone. It’s important to differentiate goals from wishes. Goals are specific and measurable whereas wishes are things the company’s leaders think would be nice to have. Although there’s nothing wrong with wishing to gain market share or make a lot of money, those wishes can’t be measured.