No matter what industry you are in, it is vital that your small business sets strategic priorities. Any small business consultant will tell you that organizations tend to fall into two extreme categories: Either they set no goals, or they set far too many.
The first group is too scattered to see reliable business growth; they have no direction, no long-term vision, and no real marketing strategy planning. The second group sets too many unrealistic goals and is repeatedly disappointed when they can’t hit their targets. As Verne Harnish points out in his book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, “The organization with too many priorities has no priorities.”
Fortunately, there is a middle path: setting a realistic number of quantifiable goals to be achieved throughout the business year. Use the tips below to set strategic priorities for your small business. Consultant firms can provide additional strategic insights beyond the tips we’ve provided below.
Any small business marketing strategy consultant can confirm that five is the magic number for setting priorities. If you set five priorities for your business, you will likely be able to achieve your goals without feeling overwhelmed or under-challenged. The first step for setting your organization’s top five priorities is to think about your long-term goals and how they flow within your company’s quarterly rhythm.
There are countless approaches for discovering long-term goals; Harnish, for example, recommends creating a one-page strategic plan that includes core beliefs, a main company purpose, 3- to 5-year targets and annual goals needed to meet those targets. Understanding the basic principles, you can play around with the format of your overall vision until it works for your organization.