Setting Goals with the Goal Circle

Setting Goals with the Goal Circle

Business planning and goal setting doesn’t have to be arduous, or a lengthy process. Usually, it is a continuation of an existing plan that is leading your business toward your vision. (And if you need to refresh your vision, or have lost your last one down the back of your filing cabinet, you can start here).

Have done your goal setting for 2018? If not, just follow these steps:

First, look at your long-term vision. What three goals will bring your business closer to fulfilling this vision? They may be obvious. If not, have a look at this Goals Circle which is adapted from Maria Marshall, associate professor at Purdue University. Your goals should fall in one of six business key business areas:


Profit – financial goals

Service – anything related to customer and service (retention, service excellence etc)

Brand – all things reputation and how you are positioned (both with internal and external stakeholders)

Offer – anything to do with your products and services

Giving back – your business’s social, charitable or community goals

Growth – anything relating to business growth or development


We agree with Collins and Porras that goals should be big and audacious, although we stop short of insisting they are hairy. Hirsute or not, your three goals for 2018 should be bold and ambitious. You may also have some smaller goals in the Goals Circle as well.

Secondly, take each goal in turn. List out the key objectives. So, if your goal is to increase client spend by 20%, your objectives might be to introduce a new complimentary product into your range, as well as having a focus on making sure your clients know the full range you offer. But you will need a bit more detail than that to make these objectives useful, For each, explore:

The objectives: what are the measurable objectives for this goal? Which of your customer types does it relate to? What product / service does it relate to?

The strategies: Which ideas or initiatives will best help achieve the objectives? This may involve some creative thinking. For creative sparks on tap to help you think differently about your business, use our Spark Generator tool. Or download the app here (iOs or Android).

The tactics: look at the strategies and ideas you have identified and grab a pile of Post-Its. List out the specific actions or tactics that you need to implement, one per Post-It.

Lastly, once you have noted all your actions on Post-Its, stick them on your wall planner, your diary or your forehead. These Post-Its will create the focus and momentum that will help you achieve your goals. Your actions are on Post-Its for a reason: sometimes, you will not complete a task, or meet an objective when you planned. This is okay. It is part of the process, just be clear about why it didn’t happen and feed that forward. Pick up the Post-it, stick it at a future point in your planning, re-check your big, bold vision and carry on.

Don’t forget to revisit your goals regularly, at least every quarter, looking at the gap between where you are and completion, and adjust those Post-Its accordingly. Good luck!


If you would like help with your vision, goal setting or would like to find out more about our Business Growth Package, where you get two strategy and planning workshops with The Business Allotment owners to shape your business for growth and have ongoing access to them as a ‘virtual board’ for experienced, creative and practical support to keep you on track for growth, we would love to talk. Just click here.