22 types of business objectives to measure success
Whether you work at a small business, a start-up, or as a team lead at a larger enterprise, as a key business owner, you’re responsible for identifying the business objectives that will help your organization hit its long-term goals. Setting goals and strategic objectives is the best way to know where you’re going and how to get there. Don't forget about SMART attitude, to fulfill all the plans successfully.
Treat each resolution as a separate project. Make it SMART, the way that is perfect in, e.g. management. SMART is an acronym of:
S (specific) — precise, not general!
M (measurable) — expressed in numbers, dates, etc.
A (achievable) — planned within reason
R (relevant) — substantial, crucial for you
T (time-bound) — with a specific deadline.
In this article, learn about 22 different types of business objectives and how to make them achievable. Then, take a look at the 15 different types of goals you can set, depending on why you’re setting those goals.
What is a business objective?
Business objectives are the results you are aiming to achieve in order to accomplish your longer-term company vision. Think of business objectives as metrics to measure your overall business success.
Hitting your business objectives means you’re on the path toward achieving larger company goals. As such, business objectives should focus on large-scale organizational impact. Good business objectives are measurable, specific, and time-bound.
22 types of business objectives
Set business objectives based on factors that measure and impact your organization’s success. For example, you might set the following business objectives:
Financial business objectives
1. Profitability: A profitability-focused business objective is important if your company is relying on outside investors. Achieving—and maintaining—profitability ensures your long-term success so you can make progress towards your overall company mission.
2. Revenue: Revenue-focused business objectives help you balance your income with your costs in order to stay in business. You might set business objectives to achieve a certain annual revenue goal or to increase revenue by a certain percentage over a period of time.
3. Costs: Costs refer to how much money you’re spending on your business. Reducing costs can help you increase revenue and achieve profitability. Business objectives related to cost can help you control production or operations costs to improve your business’s financial performance.
4. Cash flow: Cash flow refers to the money moving into and out of your business. Cash flow can be positive—when you’re making more than you’re spending—or negative—when you’re spending more than you’re making. Similar to profitability, a cash flow-oriented business objective can help set you up for long term financial success.
5. Sustainable growth: In order to grow as a business, you need to grow sustainably. Setting business objectives around sustainable growth can help you plan your financial projections, employee costs, and other financial considerations.
Customer-centric business objectives
6. Competitive positioning: A big element of your business strategy is thinking about how your product or service compares to others in the same market. By setting a business objective focused on competitive positioning, you can ensure your product or service reaches parity with what’s expected in the market, or use competitive positioning to outdo your competitors in a key area.
7. Market share: This business objective refers to how much market share your company’s product or service takes up. The larger the market share, the more reach your business has. Setting this type of business objective is helpful if you’re trying to grow your presence in the market. You can do this through social media initiatives, concerted advertising campaigns, or brand tracking and performance.
8. Customer satisfaction: In order to succeed as a business, you need happy customers. Focusing on a customer satisfaction-based business objective can help you better serve your customers. Depending on the business objective, this might focus on a customer advocacy program, a better help desk, or something similarly customer-facing.
9. Brand awareness: Your brand is what makes your organization stand out from the crowd. Brand awareness is an important way to understand how your customers think of your brand, and how aware they are of your distinct brand vs. your competitors. Understanding—and increasing—brand awareness is a key part of your long-term marketing strategy.
10. Sales: You’ll often find business objectives related to improving or refining the sales cycle. This could include anything from reducing customer acquisition cost (CAC), developing better lead tracking, increasing cross-selling, or something else.
11. Churn: In business, your churn rate refers to how many customers you lose over a set period of time. Reducing churn is a great way to increase your revenue and ensure your customers are satisfied with the product or service you provide.
Internal business objectives
12. Employee satisfaction and engagement: Part of your business is how your employees feel about working there, too. Increasing employee satisfaction and engagement leads to happier employees, reduced burnout, and more effective teams.
13. Employee retention: A key internal business objective is how long your employees spend at your company. Increasing tenure and reducing turnover can help you achieve more complex projects with knowledgeable employees.
14. Company growth: In order to grow your business, you also need to grow the number of people you employ. Growing your company sustainably can be difficult—which is why businesses often set company growth as a key business objective.
15. Organizational culture: Organizational culture is the ideals, values, and group norms that shape how team members interact within your company. Good culture drives employee engagement and increases retention, which is one of the key reasons so many companies set organizational culture-focused business objectives.
16. Change management: Smoothly implement large-scale organizational change with change management. Though you typically won’t see organizations set this type of business objective year after year, it can be a helpful objective to set if you have large changes on the horizon.
17. Productivity: At Asana, we don’t think of productivity as “doing the most you can,” but rather as a way to optimize your time and get your best work done. Increasing employee productivity can help your teams achieve their high-impact work more efficiently.
18. Employee effectiveness: Teams don’t just need to be efficient—they also need to know the right things to work on. The best companies aim for efficiency and effectiveness—which is where an effectiveness-based business objective comes into play. To learn more, read our article about the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.
19. Diversity and inclusion: A big part of welcoming company culture is making sure your employees feel like they belong. Investing in diversity and inclusion programs can help your business be more welcoming to your current and potential employees.
Regulation-related business objectives
20. Quality control: Implementing quality control measures as a business objective can help you ensure your product or services are at the level you want them to be. This in turn leads to better customer relationships and the overall increase in revenue.
21. Compliance: If your business has any compliance needs to meet in the near future, setting those compliance requirements as a business objective will ensure you hit your targets on time.
22. Sustainability or waste reduction: Some businesses set business objectives to reduce waste or increase sustainability. While this may not directly impact your business, proving that you’re environmentally minded can help you reach specific audiences you’re targeting.
Which goal framework is right for you?
Figuring out exactly what type of goal you need to set can be tricky. Each goal framework is slightly different—and implementing the right one can help you achieve success.
The type of goal you set will depend on the business activities you’re running and the specific goals you have. If your goals have a set time frame, you may want to go with short-term objectives, whereas larger goals have their own unique frameworks.
If you’re not sure where to start, check out these 15 goal frameworks for different situations:
1. Business objectives: Set goals based on operating factors that impact your company’s long-term success.
2. Business plan: Also called a business strategy plan. Document your business’ goals and plan out how you’ll get there.
3. Vision statement: Set an organization-wide North Star.
4. Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs): Set organization-sized stretch goals.
5. Company values: Align your team around core principles.
6. Strategic plan: Clarify your three to five-year company goals during the strategic planning process.
7. Strategic goal: Set the goals you want to achieve by the end of your strategic plan.
8. Critical success factors: Clarify the high-level goals you need to achieve in order to achieve your strategic goals.
9. Strategic management: Execute against your strategic plan in order to achieve your company goals.
10. Business goals: Set predetermined targets to achieve in a set period of time.
11. Objectives and key results (OKRs): Set and communicate annual company goals.
12. Key performance indicators (KPIs): Set quantitative goals.
13. Project objectives: Share what you want to achieve by the end of a project.
14. Project deliverables: Identify a project’s output.
15. Project milestones: Mark specific checkpoints along a project’s timeline.
More goal-setting resources
Clear goals are critical to keep your organization functioning. In addition to business objectives, check out our goal-setting resource hub for tips on setting goals and achieving high-impact results. Then when you’re ready, get started with goal tracking. You can connect your company goals to the work that supports them — all helpful links you can find here: Go to Asana.