Goals are a good thing. Without a goal in front of us, we tend to be far less directed in our actions. Without goals, it would be more difficult to measure our progress or the efficacy of our plans. Without goals, we would lack the strong motivation to succeed that is so important to our personal and business lives. Let’s take a look at how we might set goals into the next business plan we draft.
In the context of a marketing plan, the term “goal” refers to an achievable, positive action consistent with the company’s mission statement. The goal describes a desired outcome. Thus, a goal for ABC Travel might be to “increase the number of clients with which the company works.” Another goal may be to “achieve the highest level of client satisfaction.” Typically, the company will have no more than a few high-level goals. Note that one can easily validate the goals against the company mission statement. Certainly, increasing the number of clients will assist the company in allowing the company stakeholders to grow and prosper. Likewise, achieving a high level of client satisfaction is in line with the company’s mission of assisting clients to realize and achieve their travel ambitions.
Be sure to develop your goals in the context of the SWOT analysis you are working up as a part of your overall business plan. What opportunities should be translated into goals? Do you have a goal of overcoming any of your weaknesses or protecting yourself against some identified threats?
By themselves, however, goals are not measurable and most often do not have a time period associated with them. For that, we turn to the SMART Formula and objectives, which brings a quantitative reality to a goal. Thus, an objective which corresponds to the first goal may be “to acquire 50 new clients during first quarter of 2015.” Note that through the objective ABC Travel has quantified the goal and placed it on a timeline. The lofty goal of achieving the highest client satisfaction may appear to be more difficult to measure. However, client satisfaction can be measured in repeat business, client testimonials, referrals or surveys and feedback provided after travel.
It is often helpful to further refine the time period allotted for goals and objectives. In our above example, ABC Travel might determine to set an objective of 25 new clients in the first quarter and 15/10 in quarters 2 and 3 respectively. This allows the company to “front-load” their early efforts in anticipation of the need to develop bookings early on as well as the fact that acquiring new clients might be more difficult in the busy holiday season of the fourth quarter. Just as easily, the objective could be broken down into monthly time periods. The more fine the breakdown, and the more effort expended early on in the plan, the better the travel agent will be able to adjust and modify for actual results.
You will typically have more objectives than goals. For example, one goal might be to increase the number of clients you work with in 2023- a worthy goal giving mind to more than one objective. One way would be to set the objective of retaining 100% of your new clients with the simultaneous objective to acquire 25 new clients during 2023. As you work through your list of goals, develop objectives that give reality to the goal in as many ways possible. Remember, you can always, and in fact should, return to your initial thoughts to re-work and refine your thinking later.
It is a good practice even at this early stage of planning to ensure that the goals and objectives are in alignment with the company’s mission statement. As we progress from mission statement to goals to objectives, strategies, tactics and efforts, a disjuncture at any point in the company’s core values can throw the entire marketing plan off center.
Download our Goals and Objectives Worksheet and set out goals for your travel practice. Make the objectives that you derive from your goals difficult, but achievable.