How To Set Business Goals As A Government Contractor
It is already 2022, yet the U.S. government remains one of the biggest clients any business can have. Each year, the government spends billions to mobilize government contractors to accelerate the nation’s recovery and development. With a lucrative opportunity just within your reach, it makes sense to prime your business to be a government contractor.
But, you are not the only one who thinks like that.
Aside from you, countless other businesses are also gunning to win contracts from the government. And once you have entered the industry, you will be competing with government contracting giants, corporations, and many more. Scary, right?
But despite having the odds stacked against you, you can still make a name in the government contracting industry. You can secure more government contracts by setting up your business for success—and it starts by learning how to set business goals.
What are business goals?
Business goals are your organization’s guiding beacon to which you direct all of your efforts to achieve them. And that is why skipping on planning your business goals can spell disaster to your business. Without concrete business goals, your organization will not have a clear direction to follow for its growth.
Why are business goals important?
It lets you measure success
Business goals are one of the best metrics of success.
Setting clear goals for your business gives your team a clear picture of what success will look like. If your team sees that their combined efforts bring them a step closer to your goals, they will feel more motivated to give their best. If your team hits a slump and can’t seem to progress forward, then you can evaluate the areas that need improvement.
As you can see, having goals does not only give your business the right direction, it also affects the overall morale of your team.
It enables you to integrate and enhance your current workflow
Setting business goals allows you to evaluate which of your current efforts are crucial to achieving your goals and which still needs improvement.
Integrating your current work process into your game plan will increase your chances of success. Doing this will create a more healthy and confident business environment since your team is already familiar existing workflow. There is no need to transition anything, and your team will feel a renewed sense of purpose if their current workflow is used as means to achieve business success.
On the other hand, you can also rework an existing workflow to achieve your goals. Although the government contracting industry trends are pretty much predictable, there are still times where you have to change your approach to achieve success. And one of the best ways to see whether your current workflow is effective is by checking it against your business goals.
It lets you rally your team under a common goal
Different departments operate differently. But once you have defined a business goal, all departments can realign their business objectives and workflow to achieve their target. Depending on the nature of their team, your department leaders can come up with other strategies to maximize their team’s skills and expertise to bring your business a step closer to achieving the goal.
Let’s say that you want your company to win 10% more government contracts compared to the previous fiscal year. With a business goal as massive as this, each of your business’s departments, using their strategy, will pitch in their efforts to achieve this goal. Your HR department can look into more federal training to educate your employees regarding the latest policies. Your marketing department can devise a new advertising campaign to promote your products and services to your target federal clientele.
As you can see, defining a business goal for your company brings together your employees and lets you maximize their unique capabilities for the greater good.
It promotes accountability across the board
As a business leader, you should master the skill of delegation. By breaking down the business goals into manageable chunks, you can assign a specific task to every team member to achieve the ultimate goal. Once your people have their duties laid out, they can move with purpose.
Regardless of their rank, making your employees accountable for fulfilling their tasks does not only serve as a motivation for them but also helps their managers track their performance to see whether they need further guidance or not.
It helps you make informed decisions
Your business goals are not just targets you have to hit—they can also be your company’s solid foundation to help you withstand the test of time. So as a best practice, ensure that you implement a work process dedicated to monitoring and evaluating your company’s performance and progress in achieving your business goals. That way, you can use the gathered data, assess what works and not, then enhance your company’s approach for your future endeavors based on your findings.
What is the difference between business goals and business objectives?
It is pretty common to get confused with the concepts. A business goal is an overarching target that your company desires to achieve. In contrast, a business objective is a specific and measurable milestone that fulfills the ultimate goal.
For example, your business goal is to increase your overall government contract success rate by 10% compared to the previous year. Then, your business objective might be investing in the latest technologies to fulfill more complex contracts. So to put it simply, the business goal is the stairs to success, and your business objective is the steps.
Short-term business goals vs. Long-term business goals
Similar to the previously discussed comparison, short-term and long-term business goals function pretty much the same. They are not mutually exclusive; instead, they coexist as two parts of a whole. You need to employ both types of goals to achieve business success.
The bottom line is you set short-term goals to tackle specific goals that you can accomplish within a year. This goal is often viewed as “stepping stones” to success. On the other hand, long-term goals are overarching goals that are achievable within a three to five-year timeframe. Usually, long-term business goals are made up of more manageable short-term goals.
Knowing how to plan and execute these types of business goals properly is essential when you have to develop an effective business plan that will guide your company.
How to create effective business goals
Goal setting requires you to dedicate ample time to strategize methods that address your company’s desired goals and ensure that you maximize the expertise of your team members in achieving them.
So to start, here is a guide on setting business goals that cover all fronts.
Identify long-term goals
You should define your long-term business goals before you get into the nitty-gritty of setting business goals. This means that you should visualize where you want to see your business ten years from now.
By identifying your long-term targets, you can now break them down into short-term business goals that will help guide the efforts of your team members.
Set SMART goals
You should not simply put “to increase profits” as your long-term business goal when setting goals. This goal is too vague and thus, rendering it unactionable. So instead, you should aim to create SMART goals.
The SMART formula is a well-known goal-setting method that helps business leaders like you refine their goals to ensure they are aligned with your vision. The SMART approach is, in fact, an acronym that characterizes an effective business goal: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
To elaborate further on how to set SMART goals, let’s talk about these two examples of a business goal:
Goal A: “I want to be a successful government contractor.”
Goal B: “This year, I want to increase my federal client’s satisfaction to 15% compared to last fiscal year.”
Having a specific business goal removes any uncertainties in determining your progress to success. Goal A is too vague—there are countless factors of being a successful government contractor. On the other hand, Goal B clearly states that its metric of success is a 15% increase in federal client satisfaction.
When setting business goals, it is essential to have a specific number in mind that determines whether you are progressing towards your target or not. With Goal B, you can identify whether you have achieved your target 15% increase in client satisfaction by devising a customer feedback form.
Setting ambitious goals won’t hurt. But setting lucrative goals may adversely impact your team’s morale. Goal B’s target 15% increase is a realistic and achievable goal that has factored in the company’s current capabilities and limitations and the future complications that may arise during the specified time frame.
When you set business goals, they must remain aligned with your company values and vision. Although Goal A describes what you want to achieve in the long run, it is not an actionable goal that can take you there. It is more of a motivation.
On the other hand, Goal B is aligned with your desire to succeed in the government contracting industry.
And, of course, you should set a realistic timeframe to achieve your goals. This can maintain accountability across all levels and motivate your team to do their best. Goal B specified a target end date for the current year, whereas Goal A did not.
Work backward from the goal
You might feel overwhelmed and lost from plotting out your business goals with all of that in mind. So to help you keep on track, you can try working backward. Since you are putting yourself at the finish line, you can get a clearer vision of the big picture without losing sight of your ultimate goal. Additionally, this change in mindset might also give you fresh insights that may help you achieve your business goals.
If you still feel lost on what goals fit your company, you can look for business goals examples to get inspiration.
Break long-term goals into small, attainable steps
Long-term goals are motivating and ambitious. But without a solid plan on making it to reality, it is all for naught. Once you have laid out your long-term business goals, you should break them into smaller, more manageable business objectives.
For example, suppose your long-term goal is to have a solid staff adept in managing and executing government contracts. In that case, your business objectives can be to provide necessary federal policy training, increase employee engagement on federal projects, and award incentives to displays of excellence.
How do you ensure that you fulfill your business goals?
Regularly keep track of your progress
How would you know if your efforts are bearing fruit if you don’t monitor it regularly, right? So as a business leader, it is essential always to keep track of your company’s progress. That way, you can properly evaluate whether your business is heading in the right direction or not.
How can you monitor your progress?
You can do different methods to see your company’s current standing. Here are some of the best business practices you should take note of:
- Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and see whether your employee, their manager, their department, or your company as a whole is meeting their set KPIs.
- Ask your clients for satisfaction feedback regularly to see which area are you operating best and which needs improvement.
- Make use of Pictoral History. Take photos of your establishment, your team, your products and services, and all your milestones to see how far you have come.
- Regularly review your financial statements and assess your business’s cash flow.
- See how your competitors are faring. Too much comparison can impede the growth and development of your business, but staying in touch with the current market state can play to your advantage.
Adjust goals as priorities change
Although it is relatively easy to predict the federal government’s demands, you should not be lax in staying updated about the trends and factors that may cause a change in the federal marketplace. So to keep your business flexible in adapting to change, you should encourage a mindset that your business goals are not set in stone.
No one was prepared when the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc globally last 2019. Even if it is implausible to experience an industry disruption as massive as that, you should be prepared to revisit your business goals as your priorities change. Don’t be afraid of change. Instead, embrace it. Who knows, maybe you will find an exciting opportunity in the face of the unknown.
Allocate some of your resources in marketing
Small businesses usually don’t have the resources to execute a wide-scale advertising campaign to promote their goods and services. And if you can relate to that, don’t worry! This doesn’t mean that this will be the end of the line for you.
Although you can’t mount a massive advertising campaign yet, you can still promote your business effectively by using fewer resources—networking. There are paid and free events that you can try out where your target federal agencies and key industry players usually attend.
With this new marketing strategy, you expose yourself to the opportunity of creating business connections that may lead you to quality referrals. Participating in networking events is also an excellent way to meet your fellow industry players in the field whom you can partner with for future government projects.
Additionally, don’t forget to perform social media marketing efforts whenever you attend an event. It may be as simple as posting a photo of you in the event of publishing a thought piece about your experience. With social media, you can increase traffic to your web page and garner the attention of your target market.
Modernize your workflow
Ever since society has shifted to a remote work setup, there has been a noticeable rise in digital tools that can streamline a business’s workflow to improve overall productivity. These digital tools automate repetitive administrative tasks and help business leaders manage and monitor tasks.
Here are some of the productivity tools you can try out for your business:
Managing and monitoring different tasks simultaneously can get overwhelming and confusing. So to avoid overlooking anything, you can try out this online collaboration tool that features everything you will need to manage your business successfully. In just a glance, Basecamp can let you see the progress of your projects and deadlines. It enables you to share files with your team swiftly and even communicate with your staff in real-time.
Google has developed a collection of cloud-based productivity tools that you will need to manage your business. From drafting a contract proposal via Google Docs to brainstorming with your team via Jamboard, Google has it all. You can use its services for free, but they offer premium plans for businesses if you want more storage capacity and improved workflow.
If your team is still working remotely, Time Doctor is perfect for you! It is an application that lets you monitor your employees’ activity and productivity levels regularly.
Who wouldn’t miss out on this online conferencing tool, right? Zoom lets you host video calls with an employee, team, department, or your entire company! Your group can maximize its free version or upgrade to a paid plan to enjoy uninterrupted calls.
Invest in your employees
It is more expensive to hire established industry professionals than invest in your workforce. So to ensure that your employees remain loyal to you, don’t forget to recognize their hard work and offer an excellent work-life balance.
Instead of working them to the bone for more than 80 hours every week, give them a well-deserved break so they can take care of their wellbeing and attend to their other personal duties. Hold regular meetings with each of your employees to check upon them. Ask if the company is helping them achieve their financial goals and personal goals.
If you notice that your company is struggling if you cut down work hours, maybe it is time to reevaluate your goals, workload, and your workflow to see where you can improve.
Keeping your employees in the best shape keeps their minds focused and renews their drive for excellence. And this will result in a more productive team that will contribute significantly to your company’s success.
Setting the right business goals is just the tip of the iceberg. To achieve your desired success, you have to be dedicated, creative, flexible, and above all, compassionate to your people.