Almost every business leader has goals for their business, their department, their team, and for themselves.

That”s good since you can”t move forward without knowing where you are headed, but when I ask business leaders to list their goals, most of the time, their goals are about as clear as fog. This is what I hear:

  • Our goal is to increase sales revenue and profit
  • Our goal is to reduce shipping errors
  • Our goal is to increase efficiency in production
  • Our goal is to increase client retention

Yes, those are laudable goals, but they are so lazy and so unclear that they are just meaningless platitudes or even worse — “wishes.”

In order to attain goals, one has to define them in a manner that the goals are clearly understood.

“Goal Clarity” requires understanding, at all levels, of where we are today, where we want to be tomorrow (define tomorrow), and how we are to get there. So, rather than say, “Our goal is to increase sales volume,” the goal could be better stated: “Our goal is to increase monthly sales volume by X% by (insert date).

Now there is a specific measurement achievement and a specific date for achievement. Knowing specifically what we want to accomplish and when we need to accomplish it gives a clear focus to the goal and makes the process to achieve the goal relatively easy to design by determining:

  • What geographic area has greatest potential for increased sales?
  • What market segment to target for promotion?
  • What specific offer(s) have the best chance for seasonal success?
  • What changes in our sales process (scripts / presentations / sales aids / handouts) will be necessary?
  • What investment in time, energy, purchase of media, etc. will be budgeted?
  • Will additional training be necessary?
  • How will we measure whether the marketing changes will achieve our stated goals?

Take a long, hard look at the goals you are working on. Consider whether they are clear. Are the people working on accomplishing them clear on their mission towards accomplishment or are they floundering because they are trying to work through the fog of lazy definitions?

The clearer you are in defining your goals the easier it will be for others to understand and then work to achieve them so look at the business improvement projects you have underway and test whether you have given them enough goal clarity.

Larry Galler specializes in coaching owners of small businesses to grow their business through effective marketing, customer retention programs and systemizing their business practices. Explore how he can help you during a free coaching session by calling (219)464-9463 or email [email protected]. Visit his website at