Setting business goals is vital for any tour or activity operator wanting to grow their company. And yet it’s something that many people in the industry struggle with. In many cases, the goals are vague or unrealistic. Sure, ‘more bookings’ is something most tour and activity operators are striving for, but how and when will you know when you’ve actually achieved your goal?
Using S.M.A.R.T goals
If you want your goals to be more focused and support actual business outcomes, you need to make sure they tick a couple of boxes. In the early 1980s, a US business consultant developed S.M.A.R.T goals to help companies get better at setting themselves targets and achieving them (don’t worry: that’s the end of our lesson in business history). S.M.A.R.T is short for:
Developing S.M.A.R.T goals for your tour and activity business
So what does S.M.A.R.T goal setting look like in practice for a tour or activity business?
Let’s say business has been steady over the last two years. The bookings are coming in all year round, but you just haven’t been able to achieve the profit you’d like to get to. Your S.M.A.R.T goal could be:
‘I want to increase the business’ revenue by 15% by the end of the next financial year.’
This example fulfills all S.M.A.R.T goal criteria. It’s specific because it focuses on only one area of your business: revenue. The target is measurable and attainable since it includes a goal that can be tracked easily through your bookings and is based on your current revenue rather than a pie-in-the-sky number.
It’s also relevant because an increase in revenue will mean better profitability. The goal is time-based since you’re giving yourself until the end of the next of financial year to achieve it rather than thinking of it as a ‘sometime-in-the-future’ goal.
Setting more than one S.M.A.R.T goal
Sometimes it can be useful to set more than one S.M.A.R.T goal to support the same business outcome. For instance, if you want to increase your profitability, you may also want to set a goal that will help you reduce the cost of running your business. Along with an increase in revenue this will give your business a nice boost to the bottom line.
Watch-out: Don’t be tempted to muddle together two separate goals just because they support the same business outcome. It increases the risk of losing focus and watering down results.
A final word
No man is an island (even if you live on one) and the smartest goals are difficult to achieve when you’re the only person who knows about them. Sharing your S.M.A.R.T goals with key members of the team will keep everyone focused on the vision for your business and motivate them to contribute ideas to achieve them.
Want to learn more clever ways to help you grow your business? Download Level up: How to grow your tourism business to get tips from real tour operators, just like you.
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